Al Montoya

Injured Islanders goalie: NHL needs better goalie protection


Add Al Montoya to the list of netminders displeased with the NHL’s goaltender protection policy.

The New York Islanders goalie has been out since Dec. 21, when he suffered a concussion after getting bowled over by Winnipeg’s Evander Kane. Here’s the hit in question:

Kane got a two-minute goalie interference penalty (which, as the video illustrates, he didn’t agree with); Montoya left the game immediately and has yet to return to action. While he’s resumed on-ice workouts and slowly recovering from his concussion, Montoya still clearly harbors some resentment over the way he got concussed.

“If you’re telling me that a guy can lead with his stick like that, make contact to someone’s head and all he gets is a two-minute penalty? And the goaltender’s out two weeks? That’s a pretty minor penalty for something like that,” Montoya told Newsday. “I go down in my crease not expecting to get run over. No goaltender does. You have to be able to do that without thinking you’ll get a stick to the face.”

The Kane-Montoya collision was just the latest instance of player-on-goalie violence. Buffalo’s Ryan Miller has twice been bowled over this season (once by Milan Lucic, one by Jordin Tootoo) and Detroit’s Jimmy Howard has repeatedly spoken out about an increase in physical contact.

“They’ve got to look at that situation again,” Montoya said. “There has to be a point where a guy who’s driving to the net has to be able to pull up and back off.”

GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now

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On Monday, PHT discussed the Columbus Blue Jackets’ troubling start, even if it felt like it may be too early to raise concerns.

Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Post-Dispatch on Tuesday.

“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.

Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?

Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”

Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.

The Post-Dispatch goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.

Next four games: Three out of four at home
Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.

As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.

For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.

via AP

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.