It’s a good thing that the Ottawa Senators are used to life without Pascal Leclaire – and with backup/1b goalie Brian Elliott – because it looks like the troubled goalie will face yet another injury issue. Leclaire left tonight’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes with a “lower body injury” and won’t return, according to TSN.
TSN spins it negatively as the Senators losing a guy who “coach Cory Clouston called the team’s best player so far this season,” but I look at it as a possible blessing in disguise. Here’s a description regarding how Leclaire ended up getting injured, though.
Early in the opening period Leclaire was involved in what appeared to be a minor collision with Carolina Hurricanes forward Brian Skinner. Moments later he was also involved in a second collision with Tom Kostopoulos. At that point Leclaire went down on the ice and remained there until he was attended to by a team trainer. He then headed immediately to the Senators dressing room and was replaced by Brian Elliott.
Elliott helped the team make the playoffs last season while Leclaire battled horrible play and difficult injury problems. Elliott played in 55 games in 09-10, going 29-18-4 with a 2.57 GAA and 90.9 save percentage. Leclaire’s numbers were pathetic by comparison; he played in 34 games, going 12-14-2 with especially bad individual numbers (3.2 GAA and an 88.7 save percentage). Any time you go under 90 percent, you’re probably not having a very good season.
So, yes, it’s bad news if Leclaire misses significant time (no word on the extent of the injury), but it might actually save the Senators from themselves.