Calling him “The Cal Ripken Jr. of Hockey” is a stretch, but Jay Bouwmeester’s run of 737 consecutive games played remains impressive. It also might end on Sunday.
The speedy blueliner suffered a lower-body injury on Saturday, and signs point to him missing the St. Louis Blues’ game against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday. If that happens, it will end the longest active “Ironman” streak in professional sports, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The 31-year-old told the Post-Dispatch that he doesn’t want to play merely to keep the streak alive.
“I think if you’re ever at a point where you can’t play and you’re going to be a detriment out there, then you’re not going to play,” Bouwmeester said to the Post-Dispatch on Friday, the day before the injury.
“I’ve never really kept track what that streak is at … the number or anything like that. You don’t think about it. You just approach it like you want to play. Most guys, if they’re able to play, they’re going to play. But you’re not going to do anything that’s going to take away from the whole team thing.”
Perhaps Bouwmeester would actually be better off taking a breather?
The $5.4 million defenseman only has two points in 20 games so far in 2014-15, and his possession stats have sagged noticeably as well. His struggles haven’t derailed the Blues by any means, but considering the team’s ambitions to make a deep playoff run, wouldn’t it be best for Bouwmeester to get his game back together sooner rather than later?
The Post-Dispatch points out that Anaheim Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano has the second-longest games played streak in the NHL, as he hasn’t missed a contest in 561 games.
All the latest from the blue paint …
Mike Smith’s chance at redemption
Let’s face it: if Devan Dubnyk and Mike Smith made the same amount of money, there probably wouldn’t be much of a debate regarding which goalie would be getting most of the Arizona Coyotes’ starts right now.
The bottom line is that Smith is carrying a whopping $5.667 million cap hit through the 2018-19 season while Dubnyk’s $800K deal will expire after this season, so the Coyotes are in a tough spot.
Smith could make the situation less uncomfortable if he improves his play. At some point, dollars won’t matter more than numbers, especially the disparity between Smith’s stats (4-10-1, .890 save percentage) and Dubnyk’s superior work (5-0-1, .926 save percentage).
Sunday represents a big opportunity (and challenge) for Smith as he’s getting the nod against the Anaheim Ducks.
As usual, the Ducks haven’t provided a confirmation one way or another, but Frederik Andersen seems likely to face Smith and the Coyotes.
Blues at Jets: It looks like it will be Jake Allen against Ondrej Pavelec, but neither have been confirmed.
Canadiens at Rangers: Playoff rematch of Dustin Tokarski vs. Henrik Lundqvist.
Blackhawks at Canucks: Corey Crawford’s likely vs. Ryan Miller.
Kari Lehtonen made a big impact in the Dallas Stars’ 5-4 win against the Los Angeles Kings last night, and not just by stopped 37 out of 41 shots.
His impressive outlet pass set up Tyler Seguin for a big goal, as well:
It’s common for goalies to get assists, yet primary assists don’t happen very often for netminders. Kudos to Lehtonen, who made restored some confidence amid a shaky start to 2014-15.
Here’s a bonus highlight of new Stars defenseman Jason Demers landing a big hip check in his first game with the team:
With frustration mounting the day after a brutal sixth consecutive loss, it’s not too surprising to hear that the Edmonton Oilers are “working the phones” to make a trade.
The specifics are a little more intriguing, though. David Perron ranks among the names being shopped in Edmonton’s quest to land a “top center,” according to TSN’s Darren Dreger:
Perron, 26, was traded to Edmonton before the 2013-14 season began. While his possession stats remain strong – especially compared to most of his teammates – his offensive production is far off his breakout pace from last season. Combine disappointing results with his exasperated comments regarding the Oilers’ continued struggles and it’s simple to see why the team might be shopping him.
Even many of those who (justifiably) defend Perron are howling at the idea of the Oilers landing a “top center” for the rugged winger, as you can see from these Twitter responses:
Earlier on Sunday, social media was aflutter with speculation when word mistakenly (at least, mistakenly for now?) surfaced that the Oilers would hold a press conference. While it doesn’t sound like that’s happening, it’s clear that this the Oilers are a team to monitor today.
After all, one can only wonder how long Edmonton can stand pat. Perron asked as much heading into this weekend.
Sometimes a goalie makes a save merely by getting a puck stuck in his equipment, and it makes you wonder if these guys are a little too protected.
That cynicism dissolves quite a bit when you see Brian Elliott tweet a photo of his broken cup, though:
That tweet went out on Nov. 21. His St. Louis Blues lost to the Boston Bruins on Nov. 18, so that near-injury either came from that game or perhaps a practice. (Elliott was too busy hashtagging up a storm to share a theory on which shot or collision might have damaged his cup, so excuse the hypotheses.)
It doesn’t seem like that brush with bruising really bothered Elliott that much, as he helped St. Louis beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 on Saturday (a day after that tweet went out).
The 29-year-old is off to a nice start so far in 2014-15, compiling an 8-4-1 record with a .927 save percentage and one shutout.
(H/T to SB Nation.)