Isles’ goalies, Clouston’s status, Toews’ return

Some news from around the NHL: Islanders GM Garth Snow has maintained
through his various player moves this season — including James
Wisniewski’s trade to the Canadiens — that his focus was getting the
Isles into the playoffs. They now are 17 points out of 8th place in the
East even having gotten 13 out of 16 points since mid-December.

Some
found it harder to believe Snow after he traded goalie Dwayne Roloson to
the Lightning over the weekend, but Snow told the media on Monday he
hasn’t abandoned hope for the playoffs. “That’s not true at all,” he
said testily (quoted
by Katie Strang of Newsday
) when asked if the trade indicated he’d
given up on the season.

Snow said the Wisniewski trade was necessitated by having two players,
Milan Jurcina and Andrew MacDonald, coming off IR, and the continued
development of young defenseman Travis Hamonic. The Roloson trade came
about because Snow had three goalies on his AHL team in Bridgeport and
he was happy with promoting Nathan Lawson and leaving the AHL chores to
the other two.

Of course, with Rick DiPietro and his rickety legs
as Snow’s other NHL goalie, the chances of injury are ever-present.
Sure enough, DiPietro left Monday’s game against Calgary with what
appeared to be a lower body injury in the second period and Lawson
replaced him.

The Isles beat the Flames, 5-2, and while DiPietro was credited with the victory, Calgary native Lawson played over 34 minutes and surrendered only one goal on 29 shots with his family in the stands.

Roloson could play a vital role for the Lightning, whose
goaltending tandem of Mike Smith and Dan Ellis haven’t exactly reminded
anyone of Grant Fuhr and Andy Moog. In fact, the best goaltending Tampa
Bay has gotten all year might have been from former Habs prospect
Cedrick Desjardins, whose two wins over Montreal and Rangers in his
first two NHL games last weekend gave him a .964 save percentage and a
1.00 GAA. Desjardins was sent back to AHL Norfolk Sunday.

“It
would be great to play in the playoffs,” the 41-year-old Roloson said.
“Everyone always writes how
old I am, but no matter what age you are, it means a lot to play in the
playoffs. You have a chance to do something you’ve always dreamed of: to
win the Stanley Cup.” 

Roloson’s first game will be Tuesday, a
battle for first place on the road against the Capitals.

*     *  
   *

The Senators are struggling, eight points out of the
playoffs and losers of eight of their last 10. “The Senators are
screaming for an injection of something, and with four
full days of practice before their next game, this would appear the
right time for it to be administered,” wrote Don
Brennan today in The Ottawa Sun
.

Brennan’s idea is for the
Sens to fire coach Cory Clouston even though Brennan blames the players
more than the coach for the team’s plight. “He does not deserve the way
he’s being treated by these players,” he writes. “If they
are in fact still listening to his message, if they haven’t indeed quit
on him … well, that’s not the impression they are giving.”

Brennan
goes so far as to list five possible replacements for Clouston: Bryan
Murray, Bob Hartley, Rick Wamsley, Guy Carbonneau and Craig MacTavish.

*    
*     *

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews was supposed to be out
of the lineup for two weeks following his injury from a non-penalized
charge from ex-Hab Matt D’Agostini of the Blues, but Toews returned to
the lineup Monday night in Los Angeles after missing only two games.

“Every
single day from the first day until (Monday) we saw progress,”
Toews said before the game (quoted by The
Chicago Tribune
). “There’s always that side of things where you
want to
push it and you want to try and get back as fast as you can but I think
I can honestly say that I don’t feel like there’s any risk coming back
(Monday night). It feel really good. I hit the ice a couple of times and
I don’t think I lost too much so I can pick up where I left off, I
hope.”

And he did. On the Hawks first goal, Toews went to the net
and occupied the attention of the Kings Matt Greene while Marian Hossa
cut to the net and scored. He didn’t get an assist but later, he helped set up the power play goal by
Patrick Sharp that gave Chicago a 2-1 lead in the second period.

And in the third period, Toews was called for high sticking on a very questionable call. But two minutes after the Kings tied the score at
3-3 on the power play, Toews went to the net during a scramble behind the goal, the puck
popped into the crease and when the Kings tried to clear it, the puck
hit Toews skate and bounced into the net for the game-winner, his third of the season.

“One of my best goals,” Captain Serious deadpanned afterward.

The Hawks are 9-17 without Toews in the lineup in the last four
seasons, including 0-2 this season.

 

18 Comments

  1. vic says:

    One problem in Ottawa ( KOVY )


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