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Injured Reserve is a special sports reserve list for professional teams to use if a player is injured and unable to play for a period of time. It is used so that that player does not take up a roster spot.
Injured Reserve List (NHL rules):
In the event that a player is injured and a Club wishes to place him on the Injured Reserve List the Club must follow these procedures:
1) A club may place a player on the Injured Reserve List if such player is injured, disabled or ill and unable to perform his duties as a hockey player after having passed the Club's initial physical examination in that season.
2) A player who has an injury that renders him physically unable to play for a minimum of seven days after that date of the injury can be placed on the Club's Injured Reserve List. Once a player is placed on the list, the Club may replace said player on its NHL roster with another player. All determinations that a player has suffered an injury warranting injured reserve status must be made by the Club's medical staff and in accordance with the Club's medical standards.
3) A player placed on Injured Reserve is ineligible to compete in NHL games for a period of not less than seven days. Players on Injured Reserve may attend Club meetings and meals, travel with the Club and participate in practice sessions.</blockquote>