You’d think that a team that’s won a couple games in a row would be feeling good about things heading into a game against a team that’s lost two in a row and talking about a potential shake up.
Such is not the case as the Devils take on the Hurricanes (7:30 p.m. ET) as the Devils may likely be going into tonight’s game without Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk has been the Devils’ all-world Mr. Everything this season. He’s led them in minutes played by nearly two minutes a game over rookie Adam Larsson. He’s playing on the penalty kill, the power play, as well as left and right wing. You name it, he’s doing it.
Without him in the lineup, the Devils have to spread it around a bit more. Zach Parise and Adam Henrique have benefited from both having Kovalchuk there and going without him in the meantime. With all that going on, the Devils have the oldest pair of goalies doing things in Johan Hedberg and Martin Brodeur. Brodeur is still trying to come back from a shoulder injury and has looked shaky since then.
Carolina, meanwhile, has a captain in Eric Staal that’s having a miserable start to his season. While Jeff Skinner carries the offense, Staal has been snake bitten to the nth degree. Cam Ward has been OK in goal but the Hurricanes defense struggles still. Jussi Jokinen being out of action isn’t helping things and GM Jim Rutherford is talking about shake ups coming if things don’t get fixed soon.
Do the Canes snap out of it or do the Devils win again without Kovalchuk?
Even with all the young players that have been healthy scratches this season, don’t expect the NHL to change its waiver rules.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told PHT in an email that it’s not something that’s “ever been considered.”
“For better or worse that’s what waiver rules are there for,” Daly wrote. “They force Clubs to make tough decisions.”
Today, Montreal defenseman Jarred Tinordi became the latest waiver-eligible youngster to be sent to the AHL on a two-week conditioning loan.
Tinordi, 23, has yet to play a single game for the Habs this season. If he were still exempt from waivers, he’d have undoubtedly been sent to the AHL long before he had to watch so many NHL games from the press box.
In light of situations like Tinordi’s, some have suggested the NHL change the rules. Currently, the only risk-free way for waiver-eligible players to get playing time in the AHL is via conditioning stint, and, as mentioned, those are limited to 14 days in length.
So the Habs will, indeed, need to make a “tough decision” when Tinordi’s conditioning stint is up. Do they put him in the lineup? Do they keep him in the press box and wait for an injury or some other circumstance to create an opportunity for him to play? Do they risk losing him to waivers by attempting to send him to the AHL? Do they trade him?
Your call, Marc Bergevin.
Related: Stanislav Galiev is stuck in the NHL
Joni Ortio has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Stockton, the Calgary Flames announced today.
The 24-year-old goalie was always likely to clear, what with his dreadful numbers this season (0-2-1, .868),
But we suppose there was always the chance he’d get picked up, so it’s a relief for the Flames all the same. With a little more time to hone his game in the AHL, Ortio could still turn out to be a quality NHL netminder.
In a related move, veteran goalie Jonas Hiller has been activated from injured reserve. Hiller and Karri Ramo are the only goalies on the Flames’ active roster now.
Two injury updates in one post.
First, the situation with Montreal goalie Carey Price, who was hurt last night versus the Rangers.
According to Canadiens coach Michel Therrien, Price has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. That means he’ll be out at least a week, though no exact timeline was provided.
“We don’t know how long Carey will be out, but for us it’s business as usual,” said Therrien.
Mike Condon will get the start tomorrow in New Jersey.
As for Oilers forward Nail Yakupov, he’ll be out 2-4 weeks after spraining his ankle last night in Carolina while getting tangled up with a linesman.
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf wasn’t impressed with at least two things last night in Arizona:
1. His team’s performance in a 4-2 loss to the Coyotes.
2. The atmosphere inside Gila River Arena, where the announced attendance was just 11,578.
“It’s hard. When you come into a building … it’s dead,” Getzlaf told the O.C. Register. “Nothing against the fans. It’s hard to fill a big building like this and have the amount of people in it to build your energy. So you have to do it yourself. You have to be ready when you step on the ice. I thought we came out flat.”
Anaheim’s record fell to 8-11-4 with the defeat.
The Coyotes’ average attendance also fell, to 13,144 in eight games.