Evgeni Nabokov’s future with the New York Islanders will surprisingly be extended into next season, but there’s a chance fans might not see much more of him this season. Katie Strang reports that Nabokov left Tuesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins and did not return.
The Islanders went on to win, hurting the Penguins while simultaneously helping the New York Rangers in the process.
They also damaged their chances in the draft lottery, as well, as this win keeps them just outside the bottom five in the NHL at 75 points with six games left.
There’s no word on the severity of Nabokov’s injury, but at this point, they might be better off just letting him rest. He already got his contract extension while, at this point, New York might benefit from trotting out tomato cans so they can continue slipping lower down the ranks and improve their draft lottery odds in the process.
Ultimately, there’s only one two parties that really could benefit from Nabokov coming back: head coach Jack Capuano (to an extent) and fantasy hockey owners (to a much larger degree).
The Buffalo Sabres might be on their way to a big win against the Washington Capitals (currently 3-1 midway through the second period), but they might suffer a big loss too. Hard-shooting free agent acquisition Christian Ehrhoff suffered a lower-body injury and Mike Harrington reports that he won’t return tonight.
The Sabres defense could be in even bigger trouble than that, too, as Harrington reports that Andrej Sekera just recently needed to leave for the locker room.
If Sekera also misses the rest of Tuesday’s game, that means the Sabres will only have four blueliners on hand to hold off a desperate Capitals team with that 3-1 lead and a daunting 30 minutes remaining.
To make matters worse, it appears that troublemaker-forward Patrick Kaleta aggravated a right thumb injury by blocking a shot. The Sabres are positively dropping like flies on Tuesday.
The winner of tonight’s game will have at least a temporary hold lead on the eighth spot in the East, which is looking more and more like a two-horse race between the two teams. Losing Ehrhoff and/or Sekera for an extended period of time certainly won’t make that race easier for Buffalo.
You can call it a bad break for Minnesota’s Matt Cullen.
Michael Russo of the Star Tribune reports that Cullen will be getting his broken finger operated on thus ending his season with the Wild.
In a season that’s seen so many injuries and general misfortune, the Wild losing Cullen for the final few games is the final kick in the shins. With 14 goals and 35 points, Cullen was the Wild’s fourth leading point producer.
With Minnesota already officially eliminated from making the postseason, losing anyone productive makes playing the spoiler that much harder. At least the move to go “Stinko for Grigorenko” is finally in full effect.