No goal….ie

Man, it is not a good time to be a goalie in the NHL right now. Three teams are now without netminders due to recent injury. Two of those teams are trying to keep their place in their respective conferences.

Toronto fans learned yesterday that James Reimer’s MCL knee strain will keep him sidelined for at least a week. For once, the Leafs are sitting pretty in fourth place in the East, and are one of only six teams in the league to have eight wins or more. I’d hate to see that come crashing down.

Jaroslav Halak has been haunted by groin injury all season. The Blues’ keeper was scheduled to start Monday, but some pregame stretching put an end to that. Since St. Louis recalled Jake Allen from the AHL, Halak will definitely be spending some time off. The Blues have already lost four in a row.

The struggling Calgary Flames got even more bad news when they found out Miikka Kiprusoff will be out for at least two weeks with his MCL sprain. The injury the goalie suffered last Tuesday wasn’t originally anticipated to be too bad. But now, if the Flames want to get out of the basement of the West in the next few weeks, they’ll have to do it sans Kiprusoff.

And then, of course, Tim Thomas hasn’t seen any action for the Islanders this season because, reportedly, he’s a crazy person.

MAF hates Billy Nauman

Since the HHR is published in the early hours of Wednesday morning, and is written primarily Tuesday evening (yes, I’m coming to you from the past), I missed out on much of the Fleury roast held by Billy Nauman at The Hockey Writers last week.

Whether his argument was valid or not is irrelevant to my point. The discussion has long been dead. But I might point out that following said story, MAF came out with a pretty good performance in last Thursday’s win over Washington. When the Pens traveled to New Jersey, Flower looked great (argue that if you want, but 10 penalty kills is too much for a goalie to stop).

Maybe he’ll prove me wrong tonight against the Sens, but as for now, I’m going to thank Nauman for inspiring Fleury.

Tough task for U.S.

The hockey groups for the 2014 Winter Olympics have been finalized. And, much like 2010, the U.S. got a tough draw. America is sandwiched in a group with Russia and Slovakia. Both will be deep teams, but will still have the same old problem: Not enough pucks on the ice. Nonetheless, still a daunting task. Slovenia, the other team in the pool, also won’t be a cupcake.

Canada was grouped with Finland, who we can all only hope doesn’t claim itself to be an underdog again (You’re good, Finland, admit it). Norway and Austria were thrown in with Canada as well.

Group C is an odd bunch: the Czechs, Swedes, Swiss, and Latvians. I could be looking at this all wrong, but it seems to me as though Group A, with America, Russia, and Slovakia, is probably the toughest for preliminary play.

Either way, I can’t wait for February 2014.

Disney on Ice

Many people might be surprised to find out that the hottest team in hockey right now, the Chicago Blackhawks, only played two of their first 12 games at home. Starting last night, they go on a seven-game homestand. The reason? Disney on Ice took over the United Center.

The Blackhawks battled to earn an 8-0-2 record on the road because Mickey and the gang just couldn’t get enough of the Windy City. Chicago was on the road for six straight games, winning their last four going into last night’s (finally) home game.

Bugsy

As if it wasn’t bad enough for Tampa Bay to lose Ryan Malone for three to four weeks with a lower body injury, said injury was suffered during the pregame soccer ball kick-around. Malone only had five points so far this season, but what did the Lightning organization do when they found out about the injury?

Panic!

Sorry, that should’ve read…

Panik!

Richard Panik, that is. Tampa called him up from AHL Syracuse after they learned of the extent of Malone’s injury. Panik has 21 goals in this, his second season with the Crunch (where I can only hope he becomes Captain)...(cereal humor). The young man made his NHL debut last night, and his parents flew all the way from Slovakia, a 17-hour flight, to witness their son take the ice in the big leagues.

Well I managed to write a column that mentioned 12 different countries, and not make one Carmen Sandiego reference (you’re welcome). So I think I better quit while I’m ahead. Be sure to check back next week for more.

Until then, happy hating!