Goaltender Chad Johnson didn’t even get into a game for the Buffalo Sabres yet his season could be over.
The 28-year-old, who was acquired by the Sabres from the New York Islanders on Monday, suffered a lower body injury during the team’s morning skate on Friday and did not dress against the Ottawa Senators.
“Chad, unfortunately, hurt something lower body and he’ll be out for a while,” coach Ted Nolan said per The Buffalo News. “Not day-to-day, it’ll be for a while.”
The Sabres recalled Andrey Makarov and the 21-year-old backed-up Anders Lindback in the 3-2 loss to the Sens.
With 17 games left in the season, could Johnson’s injury be season-ending?
“It possibly could be,” Nolan said. “We’ll get our doctors to look at him, and we’ll see what happens.”
Johnson was 8-8-1 with a 3.08 G.A.A. and an .889 save percentage in 19 games with the Islanders prior to the trade.
When the Buffalo Sabres traded captain Jason Pominville to Minnesota last season, many looked at it as the start of an overdue rebuild . While GM Darcy Regier didn’t agree with that insinuation, the prospects that deal brought back (Johan Larsson and Matt Hackett) helped enrich an already exciting group of NHL hopefuls.
Don’t believe it? Take a look at Hockey’s Future who, before this year’s draft, ranked the Sabres as having the eighth best group of prospects in the league. When you look at some of the best prospects, Buffalo is poised to make some noise down the road.
Their forwards include guys like Larsson, 2012 first-round picks Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons, and 2011 first-rounder Joel Armia. Even Marcus Foligno is just 21 years-old and found his way into the Sabres lineup full-time last season.
On defense and in goal, Buffalo is teeming over with potential.
The blue line sees the likes of Brayden McNabb, Mark Pysyk, Jake McCabe, as well as a pair of 2013 draft picks in Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov getting Sabres executives excited. Goalies like Hackett and Andrey Makarov will keep things busy in the AHL.
Things might be tough on the ice for the Sabres this season, but if Buffalo fans are patient they may be rewarded for it. At the very least, road trips to Rochester might be in order to get a look at what the future holds.
Team Canada dropped the bronze medal game to the host Russians 6-5 in overtime. What was already a disappointing World Junior Championships for Team Canada turned into an outright disaster as it’s the first time since 1998 they finished the tournament without a medal.
For Canada, it all started off badly in the first period as starting goalie Jordan Binnington was chased from action just 7:54 into the game after giving up three goals and getting Team Canada down in a 3-1 hole. While Jonathan Huberdeau would make it 3-2 late in the first and Mark Scheifele would even it up 3-3 early in the second, the teams would trade goals and leads through the second and third before pushing things to overtime.
In the extra session, Valeri Nichushkin would send the hometown crowd in Ufa into a medal-winning frenzy just 1:35 into overtime for the victory. Sabres prospect Andrey Makarov stopped 40 shots in the win for Russia while 2012 first overall pick Nail Yakupov scored twice.
Canada’s loss likely won’t sit well with anyone. “Unacceptable” was the word thrown around most after the game by Canadian players, according to Roy MacGregor of The Globe And Mail. It’ll make the wait for next year’s tournament in Sweden that much longer.
(Photo: IIHF Photos)
In what turned out to be the first marquee game of the World Junior Championships, it would be Team Russia and its defense holding strong and taking out Team USA, 2-1.
With all the stars on the ice for both teams, it would be Russian goalie, and Buffalo Sabres prospect, Andrey Makarov shining brightest stopping 41 shots and frustrating Team USA’s shooters all game.
When it wasn’t Makarov stopping them in goal, it was Russia’s skaters taking time and space away from the Americans and blocking shots. Even in the closing minutes, Nail Yakupov sprawled out head-first to get in front of a shot. (Bet the Oilers loved seeing that.)
Jacob Trouba had Team USA’s lone goal on the power play in the second period. John Gibson stopped 28 shots in the loss.
After the game, Team USA coach Phil Housley told NHL Network’s Rob Simpson he was happy with his team’s effort but thought they may have gotten “too cute” at times. Doing that helped nullify rushes up ice and ended threats before they could begin.
With the regulation loss, Team USA now heads into their game against Team Canada on Sunday needing to get points in one way or another. After Canada disposed of Slovakia earlier today, they moved to the top of Group B with six points. Russia sits in second place with five while Team USA is third with three. With Slovakia in fourth with one point, further American losses put them in danger of being jumped in the standings.
Sweden edged Switzerland 3-2 in a shootout. Habs prospect Sebastian Collberg and Hurricanes prospect Victor Rask each had goals for the Swedes.
Czech Republic upset Finland 3-1. Kings prospect Tomas Hyka scored for the Czechs while Teuvo Teravainen had Finland’s lone tally.
‘Tis the season for draft rankings to come out and while we saw ISS’ list yesterday, the big kahuna of lists comes from Central Scouting and theirs were released today. Sitting atop Central Scouting’s prospect list for the 2012 NHL Draft was none other than Sarnia Sting forward Nail Yakupov.
Yakupov’s talents are already inspiring fans of losing teams to want their teams to keep losing to land the best shot at getting Yakupov in the draft set to be in Pittsburgh in June. “Fail For Nail” is our own fun version of “Suck For Luck” in the NFL. Yakupov topping Central Scouting’s list differs from the ISS rankings that had QMJHL Quebec Remparts star forward Mikhail Grigorenko as their top prospect.
Whether you want your team to “Fail For Nail” or go “Stinko For Grigorenko” is purely up to you, but the bulk of the buzz centers around Yakupov.
Also hitting the top of Central Scouting’s list is WHL Everett Silvertips top defenseman Ryan Murray. Murray is the top defensive prospect in the draft and a kid that’s likely to shine when he turns pro. He’s been hyped up since he was 16 playing for Everett and the high opinions of him grow.
Elsewhere, defenseman Jacob Trouba is the top prospect from the USNTDP while the top prospect from the USHL is the fantastically named Zemgus Girgensons. We’re rooting for him based on name alone.
If you’re looking for goalie prospects to keep an eye on, P.K. Subban’s brother Malcolm Subban is one of the top prospects out of the OHL while Andrey Makarov is worth watching out of the WHL.
This is all gibberish to most of you for now, but when next June rolls around and we throw a pop quiz at you, you should all have these names down by then. The spelling bee for Zemgus Girgensons alone will be half your grade. Be ready.
(Photo courtesy: Sarnia Sting)