The uh oh moment of last night came on a play that looked like it was going to be innocuous enough: Brian Gionta lightly bumped Tyler Kennedy, who fell on Marc-Andre Fleury, causing the netminder to sprawl awkwardly. It was different from goalie-hunting moments like Milan Lucic’s hit on Ryan Miller and Alex Edler’s bit on Mike Smith because it lacked that bombast. Still, it appears Fleury has an injury of mysterious severity.
Enter Tomas Vokoun, who’s cleaned up his game a nice bit after a disappointing start to the season. I’d generally expect the Penguins to stick with Vokoun under most injury circumstances for Fleury - they are investing $2 million per year for two years in the guy - so the aging Czech is worth an impulse add. At worst, you get a guy who should get the goal support needed to rack up wins during most of his starts.
From the “probably sounds worse than it really is” department: the Phoenix Coyotes placed workhorse goalie Mike Smith on the IR on Tuesday. That might make his mystery injury sound rather dire … and maybe it is.
But more than anything else, it’s a bit of housekeeping because his injury is retroactive to March 21. He can play again this weekend if things clear up, but if not, the Coyotes get a little extra flexibility.
It still doesn’t help your fantasy team and it certainly doesn’t stop Phoenix’s bleeding, but at least it’s not necessarily a reason to panic.
DON’T DO IT FOR THE KIPPER
Tuesday’s brow-furrowing story came out of hot stove central (Calgary) as Miikka Kiprusoff reportedly told Flames management that he wouldn’t show up for work for a new team if he was traded.
While that’s a pretty startling revelation, it’s not too shocking from Kipper’s perspective. His wife just gave birth and the best money days of his contract are behind him. While his deal carries a $5.8 million cap hit next season, his salary will be a relatively scant $1.5 million. That makes him sneaky-desirable for a salary cap floor-challenged team like, say, the New York Islanders* but might explain why Kipper isn’t as anxious to live out of a hotel room for the next couple months.
INJURY NOTES (full list) and QUICK HITS
Thomas Vanek suffered another injury last night. Sheesh … Kris Letang returned to action for Pittsburgh, but reportedly didn’t feel 100 percent after the first period. Be careful there … Hope you weren’t gambling on big early returns for Brenden Morrow. He skated for less than 13 minutes and only had a single hit in his Pitt debut … It was another great night to be named “Kane.” Patrick assisted on both Blackhawks goals while Evander had four points … Another guy who had a four-point night was Derek Stepan. No idea how long he might last on the Rangers’ top line, but like Michael Frolik, he’s worth a gander if you’re needy at the depth forward position(s) … Clarke MacArthur is day-to-day with an upper-body injury … After a 43-save shutout against the Blues, Nikolai Khabibulin has a beautiful .941 save percentage and 1.93 GAA despite a 3-3-1 record. The theory that he jumps 2-3 levels in contract years isn’t dead yet … Speaking of the Blues, Ken Hitchcock had a yell session following that loss, but maybe he should yell at bad puck luck. Lou Korac points out that in three loses to NW teams Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, they've outshot their opponents a ridiculous 115-55 but suffered a 9-4 margin. You know, that Iginla guy would be an interesting fit in St. Louis, too … Jussi Jokinen was placed on waivers … Zack Kassian’s day-to-day with back issues.
* - Or, dare I ask, the Coyotes?