By Chris Block
A few updates on some injured IceHogs ahead of Friday night’s game as Rockford hosts the Chicago Wolves.
Erik Gustafsson (left arm)
Hasn’t played since taking a hard, clean check from, now Minnesota Wild forward Joel Eriksson Ek on November 24th when Ek was with the Iowa Wild.
Gustafsson returned to the ice this week, practicing in a non-contact sweater for a few days.
On Friday, Gustafsson did not wear a no-contact sweater. He will not play on Friday and his status for Saturday’s game against Grand Rapids is unknown. Unless he’s desperately needed for some reason, I would expect Gustafsson’s return to be held off until after the Christmas break.
Luc Snuggerud (upper)
Was a favored target of Griffins’ forward Evgeny Svechnikov during the third period of Snuggerud’s last appearance on December 8th. Svechnikov checked Snuggerud hard five times during that third period. Snuggerud finished that game but sat out Rockford’s game the next night and hasn’t appeared in a game since.
Snuggerud returned to practice this week as well, but has not done so without a yellow non-contact sweater as of yet. Snuggerud’s return is expected in another week or so.
J-F Berube (left leg)
Berube left Rockford’s win over Grand Rapids on December 9th midway through that contest with an apparent left leg injury. He was unable to put any weight on the leg as he left the ice. He got some good news days later when it was determined that he’d only miss 4-6 weeks of game action.
Berube is expected to begin skating again soon and his return is still pegged for the second week of January, according to a source.
Jordin Tootoo (arm)
Jeremy Colliton told Scott Powers of The Athletic last week that Tootoo had re-aggravated the injury that has supposedly kept him on the sidelines all season. Colliton also shared that there’s “no timetable now when we’ll see him.”
According to multiple sources, Tootoo reaggravated his injury during the first week while skating in Rockcord early this month and hasn’t skated with the IceHogs since.
Radovan Bondra (unknown)
Multiple sources now have relayed that Bondra is likely to miss the rest of the season.
Bondra suffered what appeared to be an upper body injury during the last game he played with the Indy Fuel back on November 18th. The next day he was put on the 21-day injured reserve list and returned to the Rockford IceHogs, who own his contract.
I happened to see that game in Indy. The funny thing about it was Bondra was injured midway through the second period on an innocent looking play with Tulsa Oilers defenseman Chris Joyaux, who is a Chicago area product and former teammate of Anthony Louis at Miami of Ohio.
Bondra was skating hard on a forecheck when he came together with Joyaux, just inside Tulsa’s zone. Joyaux cleared the puck up ice and, in doing so, his stick came entangled with Bondra’s left arm. Bondra appeared to be in immediate pain and skated off the ice.
Thing is, Bondra never left the bench – and he even returned to the bench for the 3rd period. However, he never skated another shift.
The team has been tight-lipped on the particulars of Bondra’s injury and subsequent care, but after some consultation with IceHogs and Blackhawks medical staff, the decision has been that Bondra is likely to be shut down for the season.
Prior to the injury, there had been some talk of returning Bondra to Prince George of the WHL, where he played last season. Bondra signed with Rockford when it looked like Prince George might not be able to fit him on their roster. But an import slot opened up in November and there was at least some consideration to that move.
In 11 games with Indy, Bondra posted one goal and was a minus-3. Watching him play, he seemed much more comfortable forechecking, and skating without the puck than handling it – which is never a good sign.