Patrik Elias has been on injured reserve in recent weeks due to a knee injury. That injury turned out to be significant enough to require going under the knife. Tom Gulitti reported at Fire & Ice earlier today that he has underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in Cleveland today. The surgery was a success. However, there is no current expectation of Elias returning to play for the New Jersey Devils this season. He is out indefinitely until further notice.
As Gulitti noted, this knee injury is different from the one that kept Elias out of training camp, preseason, and the entire season up until the last game before Thanksgiving. Elias has played in thirteen games with increasing ineffectiveness as he was relegated to the bottom six prior to his previous appearance (December 19 vs. Anaheim) before this injury. Knowing that makes this news bittersweet. While the Devils are hoping he will return, it is entirely possible that we saw the last game out of Patrik Elias. In addition to the length of his injury, this is the final year of his contract. Given all that he's done for the organization and that he's 39, I wouldn't be surprised if he called it a career. After this surgery, he just might have another reason to do that.
It would be sad. Truth be told, the Elias we saw for those thirteen games was not the same Elias that I and many other fans loved and appreciated for all of those years. That player that drove the play consistently, matched up well with nearly any tough assignment a coach could give him, carried lines, contributed in all situations, and scored a lot of points for this franchise was not present. That player was an all star and arguably someone who should have their number retired. Instead, what we got in these thirteen games was a continuation of his decline from last season. Not that Elias himself did anything wrong. He just got old. Father Time was winning this battle - as he always does. With the knee injuries of this season and (if I recall correctly) the back spasms of last season, it's clear he's breaking down as well. It's a combination that will render even the greats to be less than great.
That all said, I would very much like to see Elias play at least one more time this season. Just for selfish, personal reasons, I want to see one of my favorite Devils give it at least one more go on the ice before the 2015-16 season ends. Even if it's only for a little bit. Just to provide a better ending image than just the word that he underwent knee surgery. Hopefully, we'll get some word on a timetable or an estimate on when he could be back in this season. My fingers are crossed.
In the meantime, what's your take on today's news? Do you expect Elias to be back this season? Should he come back if the opportunity presents itself? If not, do you think this will be it for his stellar career with the Devils, if not his entire career? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about Elias and this news in the comments. Thank you for reading.