The news was bad for Cornell men’s hockey sophomore defenseman Cody Haiskanen following his second procedure in a span of six days last week, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
After sustaining a laceration to the arm from a skate blade in a Feb. 8 win over Clarkson, the breakout defenseman will miss the remainder of the 2018-19 season, Cornell head coach Mike Schafer ’86 confirmed Tuesday.
But at the very least, Haiskanen will, in an estimated timetable of 3-4 months, retain full use of his right hand and recover to be 100 percent — a bit of a worry at the get-go, Schafer said.
“I think he’s really grateful that he’s got use of his hand,” Schafer said. “The fact that he didn’t lose his career, didn’t lose function of his hand, I think he’s really, really grateful … He seems to be handling it really, really well, and just the gratitude of what could have happened, he’s feeling very fortunate that he is where he’s at.”
Haiskanen suffered the injury while racing to the faceoff dots with Clarkson forward Chris Klack and earning the Red an icing call in the second period of the win over the Golden Knights.
What Schafer called a late whistle from the referees resulted in Haiskanen and Klack wildly crashing into the boards at a high speed, and either Haiskanen’s or Clack’s skate cut into the right arm of the Cornell defenseman.
Here’s a look at the play in the second period during which sophomore Cody Haiskanen was injured: pic.twitter.com/64jUOBZhAn
— Raphy Gendler (@raphy_gendler) February 9, 2019
“I’ve never liked the icing rule — when two guys are racing for the puck, there’s supposed to be zero contact on both sides,” Schafer said at the time. “To me, the whistle should be blown way before that, if it’s either no icing or icing … They blew it really late — that’s what you get when you get those high-speed races for pucks.”
Leaving a trail of blood in his wake, Haiskanen beelined for the Cornell bench and was immediately rushed to a hospital in Sayre, Pennsylvania for surgery and had a follow-up procedure back down in Sayre last week.
Haiskanen’s injury highlights the most severe of several long-term ailments Cornell has had to endure this year. It also throws into a flux a Cornell defensive corps that was just starting to return to full health a year removed from being tops in the nation.
Especially given senior defenseman Brendan Smith recently battling an injury, eyes now turn to freshman blueliner Joe Leahy and sophomore Matt Cairns to fill Haiskanen’s minutes — a responsibility they already have taken due to injuries to other skaters — as first-place Cornell makes its final push toward postseason action.
“It was a freak thing, and he was really playing well before that,” Leahy said Tuesday. “Another guy needs to step up and we all need to pick up the slack that he’s left behind … If it’s me, I’ll step up, but I think it’s everyone, right? It’s guys who haven’t played as much — maybe I’m in that group — but we have to pick up those minutes and contribute just the way Cody was.”
Haiskanen, who also missed the first two games of the season with an injury, finishes his sophomore season with one goal, five assists and a plus-four rating in 20 games played.
Cornell now has just one spare defenseman this season in freshman Misha Song, who has dealt with his own share of injuries and has dressed for two games without ever seeing the ice.
News around the injury mill
As for the other injured Cornellians, all but freshman forward Max Andreev remain day-to-day. Most notably, sophomore forward Cam Donaldson, who injured his left arm/shoulder the day after Haiskanen’s injury, and the aforementioned Smith, who is dealing with a hand ailment, continue to manage pain and will be re-evaluated later in the week for their availability against RPI and Union. Donaldson’s participation in practices has been sporadic, the team added.
As for Andreev, Schafer said last week that he hopes the breakout freshman is able to return from his broken collarbone, which he sustained in a Jan. 18 win over Harvard, by either the first or second week of the conference playoffs.
Galajda still the guy
Despite being pulled — and subsequently returned to the net — in the 5-2 loss to Yale this past Saturday, sophomore goalie Matt Galajda is still the starting goalie going forward, Schafer said.
Galajda was pulled in favor of classmate Austin McGrath after allowing the third Bulldog goal — a shot through traffic from the left hash marks by the boards that trickled through his pads and made it a 3-0 game early in the second period.
McGrath’s first appearance in six games lasted under 10 minutes, however, when a wraparound goal — one “he’s got to have,” Schafer said — after Cornell temporarily made it 3-2 saw Galajda re-enter the net.
“I think right now it’s evident that both of them are really good, but Matty — I mean, look, we’ve lost two games since Dartmouth [on Nov. 30],” Schafer said. “We’re rolling, and it doesn’t seem like that in the game against Yale but things have gone pretty good for us. … Guys have confidence in both guys, but Matt’s been playing well.”
Here’s the goal that got McGrath pulled. Got caught too far in the net and Yale’s Ted Hart just slid it past him, albeit he didn’t get much help from his D. pic.twitter.com/jEWpo3SUJC
— Zachary Silver (@zachsilver) February 17, 2019