Tag: goalie rotations

Ben Bishop

Senators net shuffles: Bishop up, Lehner down


When Craig Anderson sliced his finger preparing some food, he made a consistently fascinating Ottawa Senators season that much more interesting. After all, his status as the go-to goalie was arguably the only sure-thing for Ottawa entering this uncertain (and entertaining) season.

That injury prompted Senators GM Bryan Murray to cough up a second-rounder to get St. Louis Blues backup/third goalie Ben Bishop, but the big goalie hasn’t had a chance to shine because Robin Lehner seized his own opportunity.

(Bishop probably felt a familiar sensation as the Blues’ backup Brian Elliott managed an All-Star nod in front of him in St. Louis.)

It appears that big Bishop will get his shot this week, however, as the Senators called him up while demoting Lehner to the AHL.

Of course, there’s always the chance that Ottawa might claim Marty Turco to give the team a little added security, which would be fitting and frustrating for Bishop. (At least he got a contract extension through next season to give him a little comfort, though.)

Halak’s illness could provide audition for Bishop

David Moss, Ben Bishop, Alex Pietrangelo

Remember all that talk about the St. Louis Blues possibly trading big Ben Bishop? He might just get a chance to increase his trade value soon. Jeremy Rutherford reports that Jaroslav Halak is fighting off a flu, which might prompt the Blues to recall Bishop.

Halak was primed to start for St. Louis tomorrow, but Brian Elliott will get the nod instead. Ken Hitchcock says that the decision regarding Bishop won’t be made until Halak’s status is clear.

“We’ll just see how Jaro feels later on,” Hitchcock said. “We’ll look at bringing Ben in if Jaro doesn’t feel good tonight.”

Chances for Elliott and Bishop

This ultimately might be more of a chance for Elliott to get a better share of the starts in the Blues’ rotation, but if the Minnesota Wild manage to bludgeon the All-Star, it might open the door for Bishop’s first appearance of the season.

Going further, if Halak’s flu-like symptoms don’t subside, the Blues might be wise to give the over-sized netminder a start.

Bumping up Bishop’s value

With Halak and Elliott established as the clear duo for the near future, Bishop would be stuck in the minors (where he’s putting up dazzling numbers). While it’s great to have that kind of organizational depth, it’s reasonable to picture Bishop being part of a package that nets St. Louis that one extra piece that pushes its profile to an undeniably elite level. Moving him is likely to be the best way to get the most value out of the situation.

Then again, Halak could load up on Emergen-C and be good enough to back up Elliott tomorrow, making this all moot.

It brings us back to a familiar refrain ever since Hitchcock came into the fold: the Blues’ options in net rank as a great “problem” to have.

Game of the Week preview: Are the Rangers playing Henrik Lundqvist too much?

Henrik Lundqvist

During the last few years, the New York Rangers have given Henrik Lundqvist a staggering amount of starts for two main reasons: 1) he’s an exceptional goalie and 2) the team rarely has any margin of error, so they cannot play a lesser netminder.

Yet during this off-season, the team made a wise decision by signing an experienced, capable backup in Martin Biron. Biron seemed like the ideal No. 2 in New York; he’s talented enough that he actually started a bit in the league but flawed enough that Lundqvist wouldn’t be worried about a goalie controversy.

Lundqvist still received the majority of starts, but Biron appeared in 17 games (most of which he started, a few in relief when Lundqvist struggled) before he suffered a frightening collar bone injury on the evening after the trade deadline.

Because of that injury and the Rangers’ general tendency to play Lundqvist the majority of time anyway, King Henrik hasn’t missed a start since February 7th. He’s played 16 consecutive games between the pipes, with no sign that he’ll get a breather in the next 10 contests. (Unless, of course, he is sidelined with an injury from Friday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.)

Now, it’s true that the Rangers have dealt with a slew of injuries during the 2010-11 season, with stars such as Marian Gaborik missing time. But Biron’s injury might be one of those subtle losses – and poorly timed ones – that might end up being big blow for the team. The Rangers have been forced to give Lundqvist start after start with Biron on the shelf, which isn’t always a great formula for success in the playoffs.

Even if Lundqvist is healthy enough to play every game, the Rangers might want to consider walking a tightrope between resting him a bit and ensuring their spot in the playoffs. Sure, the extra revenue from a few first round games is great, but if your team has no chance to advance in the postseason, then making the playoffs isn’t nearly as beneficial as it might seem.

So, what do you think? Are the Rangers leaning on their elite goalie too much or should they just throw caution to the wind to protect their spot in the East’s top eight? Let us know in the comments.