Frank Gunn / The Canadian Press via AP
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018 | 12:04 p.m.
It appears the Golden Knights are preparing for the worst when it comes to the health of center Erik Haula.
Haula was placed on injured reserve Tuesday night, according to the team’s website, and coach Gerard Gallant confirmed today that Haula will be out “month-to-month.”
Gallant also said center Paul Stastny, who played in three games this year before going on IR, is “not close” to returning.
“Injuries are part of the game. Every team goes through them, so we can’t use them as an excuse,” Gallant said. “If we’re going to win, everybody has to step up. That’s the way it is. When guys go down, people have to step up and take a bigger role.”
Gallant said he wasn’t sure if either player would require surgery.
Missing Haula and Stastny for an extended period will test the team’s depth up the middle.
First-line stalwart William Karlsson figures to remain in his spot, and the Golden Knights (7-10-1) lined up Cody Eakin, Ryan Carpenter and Pierre Edouard-Bellemare in the other center spots in Sunday’s 4-1 loss in Boston.
“There’s opportunities now for guys to step up and jump into holes,” winger Max Pacioretty said. “This adversity, you definitely want to have it early in the year if you have it at all. This will definitely test our group in here.”
Gallant said he does not plan to move any wing players to center. Top-line winger Jonathan Marchessault, who has center experience, will remain where he is.
Haula has not played since suffering an apparent knee injury on Nov. 6 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Stastny has not played since Oct. 8. Haula had two goals and five assists in 15 games, and Stastny did not record a point.
“You want to stay as positive as possible, and we are positive that we’re going to turn this ship around,” Pacioretty said. “But it is hard, and that’s just the reality of it.”