Goalie Callups, Reinforcements on D

An injury to All-World goaltender Henrik Lundqvist in New York has scrambled up the organization’s netminding situation, and left the Wolf Pack without either of their top two ‘tenders on the roster.

Cam Talbot was already up with New York, and is slated to start the Rangers’ game tonight in Philadelphia for his first NHL appearance, and Jason Missiaen got the call last night, after the Wolf Pack’s 4-2 home loss to Portland, to dress as the big club’s backup.

Jason Missiaen

Jason Missiaen

That leaves the Wolf Pack with Jeff Malcolm and Scott Stajcer on their roster for goalies, and Stajcer has yet to dress for a game this year, as he rehabs from off-season surgery.  He has been getting close to ready, though, and the Pack hadn’t made any moves to bring in another backstop as of early afternoon, and that leads me to believe that Stajcer will be ready to back up, at least, if neither Talbot nor Missiaen is back from the NHL in time to play Friday night in Albany.

The Pack did add two bodies to their defense today, though, recalling Brendon Nash, who had just been reassigned Monday, from Greenville of the ECHL and signing Sam Klassen to a PTO.  No official word out of the coach’s office on what necessitated these moves, but clearly at least one blueliner got banged up in Wednesday’s defeat, which was the Wolf Pack’s first in regulation in seven games on the year.

It was a testament to the Wolf Pack’s defensive depth that Nash, who came to the organization with a solid AHL resume over his first three pro years, could only get into one of Hartford’s first six games before heading to the ECHL for the first time in his career, and that Klassen could not make the club in training camp, after being a top-pair defenseman for much of last season with the Whale.  The 2012-13 campaign was Klassen’s first full year in the AHL and he dressed for 75 of Connecticut’s 76 games and logged major minutes, going +7, which was third-best among Whale D-men.

After being cut from Wolf Pack camp, Klassen headed to Greenville to start his fourth pro campaign, and he was +1 through the Road Warriors’ first two games.

It’s sounding like Lundqvist’s injury issue is not overly serious, but it was enough of a problem that he did not practice at all for three days, and then skated separately from the team after this morning’s game-day skate.  His quotes to the media today indicated that it was a nagging problem that he wanted to get past before it had a chance to worsen.

“I got injured early on, so it’s been around, it’s been there, and it’s been something I have had to look after almost every day,” Lundqvist told the Ranger press corps. “That’s why I thought this week was a good time to kind of get rid of it. You always want to feel as close to 100 percent as possible, so that’s why I have taken these couple of days.”

After tonight’s game in Philly, the Blueshirts head to Detroit, where they will finish their season-opening stretch of nine straight road games with a battle against the Red Wings Saturday.  I would be surprised if the parent club does not bring both Talbot and Missiaen with it to Motown as insurance, even if there is a chance that Lundqvist might be able to go in that game.

Talbot, who is 4-0-1 in five appearances with the Wolf Pack, with a 2.49 GAA and 92.4% save percentage, gets his first crack at an NHL assignment tonight, a little over three years after being signed as a virtual unknown out of the University of Alabama-Huntsville.  Ranger coach Alain Vigneault said yesterday about Talbot getting the call for tonight, “I’m confident he’s going to play well.  By playing well, I’m hoping our players are going to rally round this young man, his first opportunity to play an NHL game. It’s a moment he’ll remember the rest of his life. Hopefully, there will be many good ones after.”


One Response to “Goalie Callups, Reinforcements on D”

  1. Chris Says:

    They had to lose at some point in regulation. Had a solid run to start the season tho. It’s very critical to respond to their first regulation loss by going out with a chip on their shoulders tonight.

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