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)