November 19, 2011

Nabokov, Montoya Hurt; Nilsson Called Up

A week ago at this time, we were all lamenting that fact that the Islanders had too many goalies. Today, it seems like they can't get enough.

The Islanders tried to solve part of their log jam on Monday when they announced they were loaning Mikko Koskinen to KalPa of the SM-Liiga.

On Friday, the Islanders announced that Evgeni Nabokov will be out indefinitely (although Art Staple says that means 3-4 weeks) after suffering a groin injury in making an awkward save about seven minutes into Thursday night's contest against the Montreal Canadiens.

This morning, it's been announced that Al Montoya is suffering from a strained hamstring, which he suffered after being run into numerous times in his last game in Colorado.

While Montoya is currently listed as day-to-day, it appears as though he is unable to even dress as a back-up. The Islanders have called up rookie goalie Andres Nilsson from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to back-up Rick DiPietro.

Nilsson has been called up from AHL. Photo by C. Hessel
Nilsson, 21, leads the Sound Tigers in wins and GAA this season. His strong play, coupled with the promising future of Kevin Poulin had left Mikko Koskinen out in the cold. He sought to go back to Europe, and the Islanders obliged. Now, they'll need to find another goaltender to back-up Poulin in Bridgeport.

DiPietro will get the starts until Montoya is feeling better and ready to return. He'll likely do so before Nabokov comes back, so the two of them will see the time with whoever is playing better getting the starts. DiPietro came in for Nabokov on Thursday night and looked very strong, and will get the start tonight against the Boston Bruins for Ed Westfall night.

We've now been reminded why the Islanders felt it was necessary to have six goalies on contracts going into the season. It seems as though over the last two weeks, it was starting to affect some of them. Koskinen wanted out, and got his wish. Meanwhile, two goalies went down on virtually the same day, leaving Nilsson as the logical call-up given the fact that Poulin is off to a slow start and will only get better with starting down in the AHL. Ironically, this would have been a great opportunity for Koskinen to come up.

I really like Nilsson, and was pleasantly surprised with him through most of camp. He gave up some weak goals when he played in the exhibition games, but also made some decent saves. He's very young, but when facing other younger players he looked much better which is all you can ask for him at this time. In all honesty, I hope we don't see him get into a game during his stay up here. Montoya's injury doesn't appear to be anything significant and seems more about giving him some time to get back rather than rushing further injury.


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