Sometimes referred to as the Invisible Man, Niklas Sundstrom will be just that, invisible, for the team’s next four games. Sundstrom, who missed Monday’s triumphant win in New Jersey, was originally thought to be battling the flu, but later reports suggest that the smooth skating Swede, with 20 points on the year and a +5 rating, is now battling the effects of a concussion.
The 6’0, 191 pound winger, who we often commend for his stellar defensive work, but frown upon for his unwillingness to give the extra effort, was replaced during his absence by the energetic Steve Begin. Steve Begin will likely continue to hold down Sundstrom’s spot on the third line alongside Joe Juneau and Andreas Dackell.
The injury means that Sundstrom will be unable to face his former team in the Sharks, who the Habs tackle tomorrow night in San Jose at 10:00 ET. As you know, Sundstrom was the key to the deal which saw Jeff Hackett leave Montreal en route for Boston. The 28-year-old enjoyed his best years in San Jose, where he was able to post impressive offensive numbers (including a 49-point season) on what used to be one of the league’s best checking lines, a trio that included not only himself, but Scott Thornton and Mike Ricci, too.
After San Jose, the Habs will continue their trip out on the West coast, as they make quick stops in Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Anaheim. If worst came to worst and a player was needed, it is possible Sundstrom could make his way out to join the team. For now, however, it’s safe to say that he will be joining Sheldon Souray and Jan Bulis on the sidelines.