NHL Goalies: Another One Bites The Dust

Various news outlets reported today that Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller will not be in the lineup when his team takes on the Boston Bruins tonight.

Miller was ruled out due to the oh-so-common "lower body injury." According to Coach Lindy Ruff, the USA-Olympian does not have a groin injury and is listed as day-to-day.

In his place will most likely be Patrick Lalime, who gave up four goals in both of his two starts this season. Jhones Enroth was called up from the team's AHL affiliate and will suit up for tonight's game as well.

While it doesn't appear that Miller's injury is too serious (just yet), the Sabres aren't taking any chances.

Furthermore, Miller is the latest addition to a growing list of ailing netminders around the NHL.

Colorado's Craig Anderson tweaked his knee last Tuesday in pre-game warmups and is out indefinitely.

Semyon Varlamov was forced to relinquish his number one spot in Washington due to lingering groin issues.

Josh Harding of the Minnesota Wild managed to tear both his ACL and MCL at the same time, likely sidelining him for the entirety of the 2010-2011 season.

Philadelphia's Michael Leighton re-aggravated a bulging disk in his back during training camp that forced him to have surgery and miss at least the first month of the season.

Each of these injuries has impacted teams in a different way.

A struggling Avalanche team has been forced to rely on a rusty Peter Budaj out West, while rookie goaltenders Michal Neuvirth and Sergei Bobrovsky have shined for the Capitals and Flyers, respectively.

The bottom line is this: every team loses valuable players to injury (See: Zach Parise). It's how they deal with this adversity that often defines their season.

Whenever a big name player goes down--especially a goalie--it's up to the rest of the players around them to step up and compete at an even higher level.

Are Patrick Lalime and the Sabres up to that task? Or are they in for a long offseason?

We'll just have to wait and see.

As my good friend Tallahassee from Zombieland likes to say: it's time to nut up or shut up.

Make sure to follow Adam on Twitter for the latest hockey news and notes!

8 Comments

Mark Trible's picture

Great post Adam, you're a heckuva writer! Pretty funny too. Welcome aboard!

Adam Pardes's picture

Thanks Tribs, glad to be part of the team!

George Prax's picture

Good stuff man, welcome to the team Smile

Semyon Varlamov getting injured was the best thing to happen to my fantasy teams this year. They all laughed at me when I picked up neuvirth Smile

George Prax's picture

Oh, and Brodeur left tonight's game with a bruised elbow. Good timing for this blog lmao.

Adam Pardes's picture

Haha I saw that too. Naturally I have Varlamov in one of my leagues and Anderson/Leighton in another one.

Update on the Devils front (Per Tom Gulitti): Brodeur lost strength in his right hand after he took a Patrick Kane shot off his elbow. He fully expects to play Friday in New York.

Russell Dornisch's picture

Sorry Adam, but I don't think Budaj is very rusty... 3-0-1 is a pretty good record for a backup being thrust into the number one spot. However I do agree that this year is very strange with goalie injuries, I don't remember it being this bad ever before.

Adam Pardes's picture

I appreciate the feedback Russell, but let's look a little closer at those numbers...

In three of those four games, Budaj gave up four or more goals.

In the three games that the Avalanche won, they scored five or more goals.

Your goaltending doesn't exactly have to be stellar when you're able to score that many goals. In the games that I've seen, he's looked a bit slow post-to-post and has been caught out of position on quite a few of those goals.

I'd agree that perhaps the Avalanche aren't struggling too much, but I don't think Budaj's 3.43 GAA and .875 SV% are the reason why.

George Prax's picture

Rick DiPietro would likely have a 3-0-1 record with the Avs as well. Like Adam said with them it's all about scoring. Chris Stewart is ridiculous.