New York Islanders
Here’s the Islanders’ season in a nutshell: Traded Dwayne Roloson, who had been playing very well for them, then Nathan Lawson suffers an MCL sprain and is still out. Then Rick DiPietro gets in a fight (and I use the term loosely) with Brent Johnson and could be out for the season with facial lacerations. That left Kevin Poulin to start Tuesday’s game, except he injured his left knee in practice and will have an MRI on Wednesday. That forced Mikko Koskinen to start and make his NHL debut against the Maple Leafs, allowing five goals on 26 shots. Poulin is now out for the season with a dislocated knee cap that will need surgery. The Isles have signed Joel Martin from the Central Hockey League as Koskinen’s backup. Lawson could still return at some point this season, but right now the Isles are counting on two goalies with a combined single game of NHL experience while there are still ten games left in February. Somewhere, Evgeni Nabokov is laughing.
On Tuesday, Jonas Hiller was put on the IR, but he is only going to miss Wednesday night’s game against the Canucks for sure. He could miss more time, and probably will, but that hasn’t been determined yet. Hiller has suffered fatigue and hasn’t played in a week. He allowed three goals in 11 minutes before being yanked in his last start on February 2 against San Jose. Curtis McElhinney, who shut out the Avalanche on Sunday, will start Wednesday and will be backed up by Timo Pielmeier. The Hiller news prompted the Ducks to sign Ray Emery, who cleared waivers and joined the Ducks’ AHL affiliate yesterday. When Razor is ready, he will join the team and could even split time with Hiller, while Pielmeier will be sent to the minors and McElhinney could be either traded or sent down as well.
St. Louis Blues
Jaroslav Halak had missed the Blues’ past three games with an upper body injury, but returned to the net on Tuesday playing phenomenally in stopping 30 of 31 shots in a 2-1 win at Florida. Before the injury, he had played awful recently, allowing four goals in each of his past thee games (all losses). Ty Conklin, no stranger to coming of the bench in his career, has played very poorly this season, allowing 16 goals in his past four games (including seven in one game). If Halak does need to miss more time, the Blues should look for help at the deadline.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Jonas Gustavsson, who was sent down to the minors, made his AHL debut on Saturday. After his lackluster play this season, the Leafs have decided to go with J.S. Giguere and James Reimer. Reimer has received four of the past six starts, going 2-2, while Giguere has won his past two starts, allowing seven goals. For right, now these two will probably continue to split starts, with the Leafs probably trying to showcase and shop Giguere before the deadline. For the record, Gustavsson was pulled from his AHL start on Wednesday afternoon because of his recurring heart problem.
New Jersey Devils
Martin Brodeur had been playing his best hockey of the season recently, but now a knee injury will keep him sidelined for the time being. On Sunday versus the Canadiens, Brodeur injured his right knee and did not return after the first period. He still received the win, improving to 8-0-1 in his past nine starts. Johan Hedberg started Tuesday night for the Devils, stopping 20 of 22 shots in an overtime win, and he will probably get the start Thursday at Toronto. The knee injury is not serious, but Brodeur will miss Thursday’s game and probably Friday’s game as well against the Sharks. The Devils have recalled Mike McKenna from the AHL to back up Hedberg.