Let's not bury the lead here ... The Ducks announced this afternoon that Frederik Andersen is still day-to-day with "leg tightness" and John Gibson will be out six weeks with a groin injury, suffered during warm ups on Sunday in Colorado and therefore they have called up Igor Bobkov from Norfolk to act as Jason LaBarbera's backup. Needless to say, this is not good.
Remember just before the season started, we posted our staff predictions for the best case, worst case and realistic possibilities of this season? Many of those worst case scenarios revolved around goaltending question marks. But through one month of the season, it was looking like that wouldn't be so much of a problem, as Andersen was on fire and Gibson, despite a rocky first game was getting settled in as well. Each had save percentages well above league average (.941 and .927 respectively). Sure, there were questions over whether Gibson was ready or more importantly if his development was being hindered by backing up in Anaheim instead of starting in Norfolk, but having two good NHL goalies is a good problem to have for a team that (even at such an early stage) is leading the NHL in a number of categories, including the standings.
Then Sunday happened. Andersen wasn't able to go because of "Leg Tightness" (whatever that means) so LaBarbera was called up and pressed into emergency action minutes before the game due to Gibson's injury. LaBarbera gave up a stinker and a beauty, but was not heavily tested, which was all for the best as it was his third game in as many nights.
Now that it's clear Gibson will be out for an extended period, the Ducks are left with LaBarbera and Bobkov. This may be comparing apples and oranges, but going from two goalies with above .920 save percentages in the NHL to two goalies with below .900 save percentages in the AHL (LaBarbera .898 and Bobkov .844) is concerning to say the least.
Before you go running through the streets, pulling your hair out in a sheer panic (too late? sorry.) the
good news silver lining least terrible part of this news is that Andersen's "Leg Tightness" (notice how I've used that phrase three times already in this short article?) is, at least in theory, not a long term issue. Yes, missing games and practice time could disrupt the stellar form he's shown so far this season, but if he is able to get back into the lineup shortly, there shouldn't be much of an impact to the team. Also, if you're trying to stay optimistic, it's still early and the Ducks have a four point standings lead over anyone else in the West. So again, unless one or both of these injuries become chronic they shouldn't have a lasting effect on the season.
Finally, spare a thought for our friends in Norfolk who will apparently have to field a shooter tutor for their game tomorrow morning (11am!!!) in Bridgeport.
Good news from Rich Hammond, OC Register:
Good chatting with Jason LaBarbera today. Great guy. Boudreau thinks Frederik Andersen can play tomorrow though.— Rich Hammond (@Rich_Hammond) November 4, 2014