The New York Islanders just got a real boost or something to worry about with recent news coming out of Olympic hockey qualifiers. It just depends on your level of pessimism or optimism.
News coming out of Team Denmark’s camp is that Frederik Andersen has been injured during an Olympic qualifying game against Slovenia after colliding with a teammate.
Andersen’s status is still undetermined, but with the World Cup of Hockey just weeks away, this isn’t great news for Team Europe.
Before joining the Maple Leafs, Andersen posted a great 2.30 GAA and .919 SV% with the Anaheim Ducks last season. Putting him in serious contention to start for Team Europe at the World Cup.
With the potential injury, Andersen’s starting position is serious in doubt. Meaning that the job will fall to one of the two Islanders goaltenders already named to the roster.
Half-Full or Half-Empty?
Either Halak or Greiss will get the start. And this could be a great thing for us or a not so great thing. It really depends on how you look at it.
For Halak, starting some games before the season starts could be great to help him shake the proverbial cobwebs that are lingering since his injury last March. Getting him in game shape before the season would be fantastic.
But then what if competitive hockey too soon after injury reaggravates it and he’s out again? What if he could have used those few weeks to heal and recover and get back to 100% healthy for the regular season?
For Greiss, the pendulum swing is over too much hockey in a short span and getting a larger sample size to assess what we actually have.
Greiss took over for Halak when he went down on March 8th, playing the remainder of the season and the next two rounds of the playoffs.
Too Much Too Soon
Once the Isles were eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the playoffs, Greiss left for Russia to suit up with the German team at the World Championship. Greiss played a further five games, helping the German team make it to the quarter-final, where they would lose 4-1 to host Russia.
Greiss hasn’t given himself much of a break since the end of the season. Meaning he’s probably due for one. And starting for Team Europe before the start of the season doesn’t give him the time needed to recover.
If you’re an optimist though you see this as a chance to see what Greiss is made of. Last season, Greiss had a 2.36 GAA and .925 SV% in his 41 regular season games with the Isles. In Russia, that obviously fell as he played with a weak German team, posting a 2.50 GAA and .904 SV%.
What he can do with a stronger Team Europe might reveal exactly what we might get if Capuano were to give him the crease to start 2016-17.
Starting either Halak or Greiss for Team Europe can be good or bad. We just hope they both come back healthy and ready for the regular season as we push for the conference finals.