On a night with just two games, goalie news might have been hard to come by. Unfortunately, a mishap in the crease for Buffalo Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark means that big changes are coming in The City of Light.
For many fans of the Sabres, it may seem like their net is a cursed place. Since Dominik Hasek departed, goaltenders seem to struggle there perpetually, whether through bad performance or pure misfortune. On Tuesday night, Ullmark was stricken by the latter, when he suffered a seemingly severe injury on a completely innocuous play.
Standing alone in his crease as play moved around behind the net to his left, Ullmark lost his balance and fell backward, with no apparent contact causing the fall. His right leg bent awkwardly underneath him and he could not recover or put weight on his leg. The referees stopped play with 9:32 remaining in the third period as Sabres players assisted their goaltender off the ice.
It had been a decent season so far for Ullmark, which makes the injury all the more disappointing. There is no prognosis yet, but judging by the footage, it appears to be a longer-term injury.
In the meantime, backup Carter Hutton will need to pick up the slack. If he can help Buffalo rally and return to the postseason, he will justify the three-year, $8.25 million investment the Sabres made in him in 2018 after two strong seasons with the St. Louis Blues.
This Date in History: Brodeur Retires
While some think that Hasek or Patrick Roy might be the greatest ever, Martin Brodeur’s name must come up in any discussion of the best goalies of all time. And today marks the five-year anniversary of his official retirement.
Many might forget, but the most iconic player in the history of the New Jersey Devils actually didn’t retire with the team he helped to win three Stanley Cups. Brodeur had a very brief stint with the Blues in the 2014-15 season and went 3-0-0 with a 2.87 GAA and a .899 SV% in that time.
The NHL’s all-time leader in shutouts (125) games played by a goalie (1,266), minutes played by a goalie (74,439) and wins (691) joined the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018. Asked about his most important accomplishment, Brodeur was straightforward:
If you play hockey, you might as well win. The most important record is the wins record that I have.Martin Brodeur on his most important record
After retiring, Brodeur joined the Blues’ front office, before returning home to rejoin the Devils’ organization a few years later. Recently, after Ray Shero was fired, Brodeur moved into a more prominent position, and there are some tabbing him as a future general manager for the Devils or some other team. If he’s anywhere near as good an executive as he was a goaltender, the league had better watch out.
Goalie Gram: Binnington’s Not Nervous
Throughout his meteoric rise from AHL backup to Stanley Cup-winning starter last season, Jordan Binnington identified himself as what members of the media like to call “a good quote.” Most famously, after winning a tight battle with the Blues’ division rival, the Nashville Predators, a local journalist asked him if he battled nerves on the biggest stage. Cool as a cucumber, Binnington responded, “do I look nervous?” As the reporter said “no,” the goalie responded, “well, there’s your answer.”
In the run to the Stanley Cup, it became one of the most popular quotes in the entire city of St. Louis. And the marketing department for the Blues was well aware of that, which led them to create this commercial which debuted after the All-Star Break.
In it, Binnington is in a doctor’s office receiving a shot. Warned that the shot “may sting a little,” Binnington’s blocker reflexively prevents the shot several times. Finally, the doctor asks, “nervous?” Binnington coyly responds, “shhh,” while shaking his head.
It may not sell out comedy clubs outside of St. Louis, but it was a huge hit with Blues fans. Binnington isn’t adored around the league, but he will always be a hero in the Gateway City. And besides, it’s nice to see the men under the masks get to shine for the team every once in a while.
Stephen Ground is an author with The Hockey Writers and is co-host of the Two Guys No Cup Podcast. He enjoys studying the numbers and providing fresh looks at various stories.