Injuries, Roster Decisions Cause Rumor Mill To Churn in St. Louis

The general manager tries to fend off accusations of tanking as star forward sits out.
by Sean Gallagher | November 27, 2014, 4:27 PM ET

The SICHL seems to have a league-wide trend every season, whether it be the Penalty Fest of a few years ago, the Scoring Binge of just two years ago or the Injured Starting Goalies In The Playoffs of a decade past. This year, it seems, is the Year of the Injury, with most teams having to deal with major injuries to important players.

The Spartans of St. Louis are not immune to this trend.

Star winger Phil Kessel recently went on the injured list, and has subsequently been joined by the team's top scorer, Chris Kunitz. The depleted Spartans roster has been no match for their opponents this week due to the hodge-podge lines. Rumors around town, however, insinuate that Kessel has been available to return for two days now and has been held out in some attempt to "tank" the team in the standings. The Spartans GM, Sean Gallagher, insists this isn't true.

"Depending on which brand of tin foil you used to make your hat, I'm either willfully holding Kessel out to ruin my team's chances at the playoffs or I'm holding Phil out because of ongoing trade discussions. Neither statement is true. Phil remains on the sidelines because team doctors recommended that he sit out for a couple additional days to lessen the chance of re-injury. If this was the playoffs, sure, he'd be in. But since it's still early in the regular season, we don't want to risk him aggavating it, or even worse, just lingering along all year, in one game and out the next and never playing a game while fully healthy.

"Trust me, he'll be back in the lineup shortly and at as close to 100% as any player gets during the regular season."

When asked if Kessel was indeed the subject the target of trade inquiries, Gallagher hesitated before answering.

"I'm not saying he isn't or I'm not saying he is. And when I say he is or isn't, I really mean that I don't want to discuss whether there is or isn't a discussion. It's just isn't something I want to talk about, it is.

"Dammit. Can I do that again?"

The Spartans' next game is on the road in Chicago. Whether Phil The Thrill is in the lineup remains to be seen.

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