The St. Louis Blues clinched a 2013 playoff berth on Tuesday. If only deciding which goalie to start could be so black-and-white.
The team’s No.1 goalie spot was already up to debate with Jake Allen and Brian Elliott enjoying their own intermittent spans of strong play, but head coach Ken Hitchcock threw an extra wild card in the mix: Jaroslav Halak might just be good to go.
Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford “don’t read anything into it from there,” after dropping that bomb. Maybe Rutherford won’t, but plenty of fans and pundits might embrace this invitation to debate the trio’s relative merits.
If you want help doing so, check out their season stats:
Elliott: 22 GP, 12-8-1, .903 save percentage and 2.41 GAA
Halak: 16 GP, 6-5-1, .899 save percentage and 2.14 GAA
Allen: 15 GP, 9-4-0, .905 save percentage and 2.46 GAA
Those 2013 numbers don’t exactly roll out an obvious answer, unless you place a ton of stock in win-loss record. Then again, one might counter that Halak, 27, holds the advantage based on his glorious playoff run with Montreal in 2010.
Hitchcock might provide good advice, then, because gauging the best goalie option isn’t that much easier than deciphering an unfamiliar language.
Alexei Emelin has been in and out of the Montreal Canadiens lineup, but this wasn’t the way they wanted him to keep his legs fresh.
The hard-hitting defenseman received a game misconduct and five-minute major penalty for a late hit on Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert on Tuesday.
So far, it sounds like Calvert may be OK.
You can see video of that hit above, as well as a GIF of the infraction via My Regular Face.
Many believe that Emelin should not have been ejected.
Injuries have been a regular problem for Joffrey Lupul for much of his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it doesn’t look like that’s changing in 2015-16.
The team placed him on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 28, calling up Rich Clune in the process.
This IR stint means that Lupul will miss at least three games for Toronto.
From the sound of things, it’s a nagging issue, as NHL.com notes.
“He’s been having the same problem here for a bit,” Mike Babcock told media members on Sunday. “He doesn’t seem to be getting the power back that they thought, so we’re just trying to monitor it the best we can.”
Leafs Nation points out that Lupul has missed about one-third of Toronto’s contests since suffering a separated shoulder in April 2012.
At 32, there’s still time for Lupul to fight through this, although injuries generally accumulate with age.
Will Ryan Suter say something foolish during tonight’s game? Is Brent Burns‘ beard so long that it’s finally starting to scrape the ice?
We’ll find out the answer to those questions and more during Tuesday’s NBCSN doubleheader.
Need to follow the two games online? Never fear.
Game 1: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Message sent or not via healthy scratches or not, Dave Bolland returns to the Florida Panthers mix on Tuesday.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, it’s maybe not under the most ideal circumstances, as part of the explanation for his return is Nick Bjugstad‘s absence.
The Miami Herald’s George Richards reports that Bjugstad is out tonight against the St. Louis Blues with an upper-body injury that he suffered during a Monday practice.
In fact, as you can see in the tweet above, the young forward was sent home because of the injury.
This forces some shuffling, with Vincent Trocheck moving up to the second line while Bolland centers the third combo as usual.
The Panthers are currently on a two-game winning streak and visit St. Louis as the second date in a five-game road trip.
This is also the early part of a span in which they play nine of 10 games on the road (counting Sunday’s away win), so a prolonged absence from Bjugstad could sting that much more.