Anaheim Ducks to start playoffs without injured D Cam Fowler

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler will miss at least the start of the postseason after a knee-on-knee hit from Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano.

Ducks general manager Bob Murray said Thursday that his All-Star defenseman could be sidelined between two and six weeks. The Ducks expect to know more after further tests, but Fowler definitely will miss the start of the Ducks' playoff run.

Fowler was hurt in the third period of the Ducks' win over Calgary on Tuesday. Giordano skated over and hit Fowler in the knee well after Fowler had released a shot.

''When I saw the hit, I just - your heart goes in your mouth, and you're thinking, `That's it for the year,''' Murray said. ''I think we may have gotten a little bit of a break, but we'll know more in a week. In a week and a half, I'll know exactly where Cam is, and he'll know where he's at.''

Anaheim opens the postseason next weekend. The Ducks began Thursday with a four-point lead atop the Pacific Division.

Murray is baffled by the NHL's quick decision not to apply additional discipline for the hit. Giordano wasn't penalized on the play, and the league has decided not to investigate the hit further.

''It was dismissed very quickly by the people in charge,'' Murray said. ''That's their job, so I guess that's the standard. If that's the standard, that's the standard.

''I have no use ... I mean, the big thing in hockey today is concussions, but I still, as an old player, have no use for knee-on-knee hits, and especially if I think they are somewhat intentional. I hear how Gio is a good guy, and he's this and he's that. The media in Toronto is saying, `Well, he's a good guy.' Well, he's done this before. I have no respect for people who go after knees. I'm sorry, but knees, they wreck your careers real quick. I don't like it.''

Fowler is the Ducks' top-scoring defenseman with 11 goals and 28 assists this season. The U.S. Olympian also leads Anaheim in ice time, playing nearly 25 minutes per game.

Murray said Fowler didn't tear any ligaments in the injury, but has ''something like'' a sprain. Fowler has dealt with knee problems earlier in his career, but he stopped wearing braces on both knees this season with his GM's permission.

The Ducks also faced Chicago on Thursday night without Hampus Lindholm, their other young cornerstone defenseman. The Swede has missed three games with an upper-body injury, but Murray said there's a chance Lindholm could play Sunday in the regular-season finale against Los Angeles.

Puck-moving defenseman Sami Vatanen returned to Anaheim's lineup on Thursday after missing two games, but defenseman Korbinian Holzer was absent after returning home to Germany to deal with an unspecified personal matter. Defenseman Clayton Stoner also hasn't played for Anaheim since Nov. 6 due to an abdominal injury, but he has skated for the Ducks' AHL affiliate recently.

Defenseman Jaycob Megna made his NHL debut against the Blackhawks on Thursday.

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