It sounds like the Phoenix Coyotes’ playoff hopes will rest on Thomas Greiss’ shoulders for at least another week.
The team provided another vague update about would-be starter Mike Smith’s lower-body injury on Saturday, stating that he’s “progressing well” but will be re-evaluated in one week. It puts his rehab in perspective when head coach Dave Tippett merely hopes to see him skating again soon.
“We’ll re-evaluate in a week, but the hope was at some point this week he’d try to get back on the ice,” Tippett said. ” … Things are progressing well. It was not as serious as it could have been, so that’s a positive thing.”
It appears that it isn’t out of question for the 32-year-old to return sometime during the regular season.
Greiss carries the torch
In the meantime, the Coyotes indeed turn to Greiss, 28.
That’s been working out pretty well so far, as he’s won two in a row and also generated an overtime point in the three games since Smith was injured (that “charity point” came in relief of an injured Smith). Beyond this span, Greiss has been solid, if sparsely used; the German-born netminder only played once in February and has only played in 18 games so far this season.
He’s done a lot with those opportunities, but a lot is on the line both for him (he’s an unrestricted free agent this summer) and his team (fighting for a playoff spot).
If you look at the next week alone, Greiss could be busy with games against the Minnesota Wild tonight, a back-to-back at home vs. Winnipeg on Tuesday then a road game against the Kings on Wednesday and then another home contest vs. the Oilers on Friday. (The Coyotes may rest Greiss for Mark Visentin for at least one of those games.)
More than a few people may believe that Smith’s injury could be a minor blessing in disguise for Phoenix, but those claims will be much louder if Greiss helps the ‘Yotes make the playoffs.