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.
Ottawa Senators forward Matt Puempel didn’t get the greatest shot off, as he was falling to his stomach. But he did manage to sweep the puck back toward what appeared to be a wide open net, only to be denied a goal after a desperation stick save from Buffalo Sabres goalie Anders Lindback.
The save occurred during a scramble in front of the Buffalo net late in the first period, with the Senators trailing by a goal.
Acquired at the deadline from the Islanders, Chad Johnson was set to make his Sabres debut tonight against Ottawa.
But plans appear to have changed.
After suffering some type of undisclosed injury during today’s morning skate, Johnson has been listed as doubtful and, in a corresponding move, the Sabres recalled Andrey Makarov from AHL Rochester.
If Johnson can’t go, Anders Lindback would get the start and Makarov would back up.
Peter Chiarelli said a couple of weeks ago that he understands the scrutiny that he’s been put under by ownership and upper management as a result of the Bruins’ “down year.”
But at least one Eastern Conference GM doesn’t understand it at all, telling TSN’s Darren Dreger, “I can’t believe the heat he’s taking – it’s ridiculous. … There’s no question Chiarelli (if he were to be fired) would have a chance to work as soon as he wanted to.”
Now, to be sure, Chiarelli has opened himself up to criticism. Boston’s GM since 2006 has taken some gambles in recent seasons that haven’t paid off in a championship. And, yes, he’s the one who’s responsible for the “cap crunch” that made it “tough” to improve his team at the deadline.
Chiarelli has also been criticized for trading away Tyler Seguin and Johnny Boychuk, and Boston’s drafting under his watch has been questionable.
At the same time…
—Stanley Cup champs in 2011
—Stanley Cup finalists in 2013
—Presidents’ Trophy winners in 2014
There are worse résumés out there.
Hence, the Eastern Conference GM’s belief that, should Chiarelli lose his job, “He’s a guy who would have enough interest from other teams, he will be able to sit and wait until there’s a right fit and there will be more than one offer.”
Related: Chiarelli says that trading Boychuk was tough, but important
There could be some good news on the injury front for the Dallas Stars.
Tyler Seguin began skating with his teammates on Thursday and could return to the Stars’ lineup within a week.
Seguin has been out of the Dallas lineup with a knee injury following a low hit from Panthers’ defenseman Dmitry Kulikov on Feb. 13.
“Tyler really is closing in on day-to-day for us,” said Lindy Ruff following the team’s morning skate on Thursday. “I would say probably within a week or sooner. Depends how he responds to some heavy workouts here today, tomorrow.”
Seguin, who was expected to miss 3-6 weeks with the injury, missed his 10th game on Thursday night.
“My goal was to get on this trip,” Seguin said. “I had targeted it because it was early enough where it could be a goal because technically I shouldn’t be ready for another 1 1⁄2 to two weeks. This was the goal I set and I reached it, so I was happy about that.
“It felt good to be back out there, be around bodies. It’s (been) kind of me and two guys the last five or six times on the ice. Today was nice to be around the guys.”
The 23-year-old had 29 goals and 59 points in 55 games prior to the injury.
The Stars are 3-5-2 in Seguin’s absence.
Dallas continues its five-game road trip Saturday night in Tampa Bay.
Related: (Video) Stars get after Kulikov in first rematch since Seguin injury