Dec. 30, 2018 was a day that Anders Bjork would like to forget.
Set to suit up in his 13th game with the Providence Bruins, Bjork’s chances of returning to Notre Dame for the 2019 Winter Classic was all but out the window — based on Bruce Cassidy’s comments earlier that day from South Bend.
“We need to feel he’s one of the best 20 guys we can put on the ice, then we’ll make that decision,” Cassidy said. “It’s not looking that way right now. He’s doing well in Providence down there. But we’ve kind of settled on our lineup here with what we have. That’s kind of where I’m at.”
A disappointment, for sure, but given his steady production down at the AHL ranks (10 points in 12 games), Bjork’s return to Boston seemed to be a given at some point in the 2018-19 campaign.
That is, until another promising season come to a disappointing end just 11 minutes into Providence’s matchup against the Hershey Bears later that night. While racing for a skittering puck along the boards, Bjork was knocked to the ice by Bears forward Nathan Walker, with the winger’s left shoulder taking the brunt of the impact with the sheet.
Bjork did not return for the remainder of the game — nor will he get back on the ice for the remainder of 2018-19 season — as the 22-year-old forward is set to sit out the next five to six months after undergoing surgery on his shoulder at Massachusetts General Hospital, per a team release.
With today's news of #NHLBruins prospect and #AHLBruins forward Anders Bjork recovery time from shoulder surgery, Here's the hit from @TheHersheyBears forward Nathan Walker back on December 30th, 2018 that put him on the shelf for the remainder of the season and months to follow. pic.twitter.com/X8vNAtR7lc
— Mark Allred (@BlackAndGold277) January 18, 2019
This stands as the second year in a row in which Bjork’s season has ended prematurely due to shoulder issues, as the speedy skater underwent an arthroscopy and labral repair procedure on the same shoulder back on Feb. 20, 2018 that capped off his rookie season.