<
>

Wings' Rafalski suffers hip injury; Devils lose three key players

As the preseason rolled on Wednesday, some teams were hit with more injuries just days before the Sept. 29 season opener:

Rafalski on the mend

Rafalski Rafalski

Veteran defenseman Brian Rafalski, a big offseason free-agent acquisition for the Detroit Red Wings, suffered a hip flexor injury during a team practice Wednesday.

According to multiple reports, he will be re-evaluated Thursday, potentially putting his preseason debut on hold. Rafalski signed a five-year, $30-million deal with the Wings this offseason after spending the first seven years of his career with the New Jersey Devils.

He is expected to be paired with reigning Norris Trophy-winner Nicklas Lidstrom.

White injured; Langenbrunner, Janssen out indefinitely

White White

While the Devils try to turn the page from losing more key players via free agency this offseason (Rafalski, Scott Gomez), the team received some bad news Wednesday.

Defenseman Colin White was hit with a puck just above his right eye during practice while defending 2-on-1s.

"His right eye is still closed because of a severe laceration over the eyelid," Devils GM Lou Lamoriello told reporters. "There is concern for safety anytime you get a puck near the eye. Right now we don't know if there is any damage to the eye because of the swelling."

Meanwhile, the team also found out Jamie Langenbrunner (sports hernia) and Cam Janssen (right shoulder) both need surgery for injuries suffered last season and will be out indefinitely.

Tough outing for Lightning

Gratton Gratton

Lightning center Chris Gratton left in the first period of Wednesday's preseason game against the Dallas Stars with an abrasion on his cornea. Winger Michel Ouellet later departed during the second due to a left hamstring injury. He did not return as a "preventative" measure, according to the team.

Gratton, who also had a black right eye with swelling, said he was struck by an accidental high stick. Gratton added that he was scheduled to have the eye examined and expected to know more about his playing status on Thursday.

Neither player was expected to miss significant time.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.