New York Islanders Place Jaroslav Halak on IR

By James McDermott

The New York Islanders have placed starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak on the injured reserve, retroactive to December 20, and have recalled goaltender Kevin Poulin from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on an emergency basis, as per the team’s twitter account:

This is the second time that Poulin has been recalled on an emergency basis this week.

The retroactive nature of Halak’s placement on IR means that the goaltender will be eligible to return for Monday night’s home clash against the Washington Capitals.

Halak has been the Islanders most important player this season. His steady play has been the biggest reason for the team’s success on the ice to this point, but this injury does not yet signal a time for panic in Islander Land. It is possible that Halak could miss only two games, and that is not cause for alarm.

What is troubling for me is the franchise’s handling of their goaltenders. Halak’s “maintenance day“, as it was deemed by Jack Capuano, prompted the Islanders to recall Poulin for the team’s previous game against the Montreal Canadiens, came directly after Capuano decided to play Halak on back-to-back nights, I do not believe the two to be coincidental.

Perhaps the organization would learn from this mistake, but they have not. Tonight’s starting goaltender will be Kevin Poulin, who will be appearing in his first NHL game of the season. Poulin started last night for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Why would the organization allow Poulin to start in the AHL last night if they had intentions of starting him tonight in the NHL in the event that Halak was not ready? This is doubly true when the player you are replacing in the lineup was injured, presumably, in a back-to-back scenario.

Chad Johnson will serve as Poulin’s backup tonight after taking the loss in the Isles 3-1 defeat to the Habs on Tuesday. Johnson has been shaky this season for the Isles. Poulin’s selection as tonight’s starter is another example of the club’s reluctance to turn to him.