October 22, 2017 - 4:58 pm
Updated October 22, 2017 - 7:22 pm
The starter has been out for more than a week with a concussion.
His backup has a leg injury that will keep him sidelined for at least a month.
The backup’s backup had never played an NHL game before Saturday.
The Golden Knights’ goaltending situation may be reaching a crisis stage. Somewhere in Toronto, Calvin Pickard is wondering if he can sell his Las Vegas-centric mask to the next guy up, whoever that may be.
However, general manager George McPhee is not panicking. The Knights, who are 6-1 after beating St. Louis 3-2 in overtime Saturday, return to action Tuesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks at T-Mobile Arena and are content to go with a pair of minor-leaguers for now.
Assuming Marc-Andre Fleury, the team’s No. 1 goalie, is still not ready to return after suffering a concussion Oct. 13, it could mean Oscar Dansk in net for a while. Dansk was pressed into action during the third period against the Blues after Malcolm Subban injured his right leg attempting to stop a shot by Jaden Schwartz with 9:10 to play.
Subban had an MRI on Sunday and the news wasn’t good. He was placed on injured reserve and will be out at least four weeks with what the team is calling a lower body injury. Subban, who was acquired Oct. 3 on waivers from Boston and had served as Fleury’s backup, had posted a 2-0 record with a 2.06 goals-against average in three games with the Knights.
The Knights also recalled Maxime Lagace from the Chicago Wolves, their American Hockey League affiliate. Lagace had been with the team last week before being sent back to the Wolves in favor of Dansk.
Any major move will be based on when Fleury can return. Only the goaltender, the team doctors and McPhee know the answer to that.
Fleury will need to pass a battery of tests as part of the protocol in order to get back on the ice. And until that happens, McPhee has decided that Dansk and Lagace are the short-term answer in net.
McPhee was not made available to the media Sunday for comment. He released a statement, saying: “Injuries provide opportunities for others and that is the situation we have here. Our top two goaltenders are currently sidelined so we will now give our AHL goalies the chance to play in their absence. We felt Oscar Dansk performed well in relief on Saturday in his NHL debut.”
Coach Gerard Gallant said he’s fine going with Dansk against the Blackhawks.
“Oscar went in there and made some big saves and played well,” Gallant said Sunday. “Injuries are part of the NHL so it’s the next guy up.”
Dansk, who allowed a goal on the first of 11 shots he faced Saturday, picked up the win after William Karlsson’s goal in overtime lifted the Knights. Dansk said knowing he’ll likely be in goal gives him time to properly prepare. He and goaltender coach David Prior were working closely Sunday at City National Arena as Prior tries to have Dansk ready.
“He pushed me hard, but that’s a good thing,” Dansk said of Prior. “Obviously, I want to be ready to play my best. But I don’t know that it changes my preparation a lot. I was ready (Saturday) and I always prepare as if I’m going to play.”
Dansk said he’s ready to do his job.
“It’s the best league in the world,” Dansk said of the NHL. “It’s fast and I have to be fast as well.”
On the shelf
There has been an early-season rash of injuries to goaltenders around the NHL. Here’s the list of goalies unable to play as of Sunday:
Name, Team, Injury, Date, Status
— Ryan Miller, Anaheim, Lower-body, Oct. 3, Injured reserve
— Antti Raanta, Arizona, Lower-body, Oct. 12, Day to day
— Tuukka Rask, Boston, Concussion, Oct. 17, Day to day
— Roberto Luongo, Florida, Hand, Oct. 20, Injured reserve
— Cory Schneider, New Jersey, Lower-body, Oct. 18, Injured reserve
— Anthony Stolarz, Philadelphia, Knee, Oct. 3, Injured reserve
— Marc-Andre Fleury, Golden Knights, Concussion, Oct. 13, Injured reserve
— Malcolm Subban, Golden Knights, Lower-body, Oct. 21, TBD