In news of the not-so-great variety, goalie Jack Campbell did not practice on Tuesday with the regulars and is out with a groin injury. Head coach Mike Stothers was visibly unhappy while discussing the matter at length and did not provide a timetable for his starter’s return.
“Well, I’m not going to lie to ya. It’s frustrating,” Stothers said. “To start, we all agreed we were gonna persevere and get through it but nobody believed it would go on as long as it has with the number of injuries, how they’ve happened, the goaltending situation.”
What’s concerning is that Campbell is now the third goalie in the organization to have a groin injury after Jonathan Quick and Jeff Zatkoff. Fortunately, he did take the ice after practice to take a few shots.
Stothers confirmed that the 24-year-old Campbell was injured in the last five minutes of the second period against San Jose on Saturday. He returned to the ice for the third, but the word “uncomfortable,” was used to describe his status after he backed up Jack Flinn on Sunday against San Diego.
“I never know how bad it is because if you look at the play where it happened, there’s four minutes left in the second period,” Stothers said. “You’ve already played the first period. You’ve played three-quarters of the second period. It’s all these guys do it stretch. They roll out, they stretch. So, how does one do this just making a routine save? I don’t know. I don’t know.
“It’s mind-boggling. Again, it’s through nobody’s fault, it just seems to be happening but how it happens is beyond me. Years ago when we played that was the thing, pulled groins, pulled groins. Then all of a sudden the injury of choice was bad back. Then it was shoulders. It just seems like it moves around. I don’t know, maybe we’re back to the groin injuries. There’s got to be something to it I guess.”
The Reign host Tucson on Friday night and Charlotte on Saturday, that’s known, but who will be in net by that time is not. The players share the attitude that they’ll continue along either way.
“Obviously it’s unfortunate,” forward Joel Lowry said. “He’s been playing some good hockey for us and we have a lot of faith in him but that being said we have a lot of faith in Flinner as well. He played a great game last game and he’s been putting in a lot work and getting a lot better. I think we have full confidence in whoever we have between the pipes as long as we play well in front of them.”
In order to have another goalie in net for practice not named Dusty Imoo, the team’s goaltending coach, the Reign again signed Troy Redmann to a PTO earlier Tuesday as they have in other times this season due to injuries. Redmann took the ice with Flinn.
“It gets a little tiring when even you want to have a half decent practice and it’s like, ‘well Dusty can play net. No he can’t. Dusty’s a coach. Dusty hasn’t played in years,'” Stothers said. “We need to get these guys healthy and back playing and it’s through no fault of anybody. It is what it is. But it’s gone on for 15 frigging games now and my patience in running thin. I want two goalies of AHL caliber that can possibly play in the NHL and let’s start getting serious about whether it’s a practice or a game. It’s professional hockey. The smile is not as easy to force anymore that it’s OK. It’s not. Enough. Enough.”
When asked what his level of concern was of having Campbell unavailable for the rest of this homestand Stothers said: “The same level of concern I’ve had for all 15 games is who we have as a goalie and who’s going to make it through a bloody game. You know I’m not opposed to putting the same guy’s name down game after game but in order to do that you’ve actually got to stay healthy. Get healthy.”
Added captain Vincent LoVerde: “I’ve never been on team that’s been like this. One year we had Jonesy and Rubes, the year after it was Rubes and Barto. And then last year it was Budes and Houser. We’ve always been pretty stable. I’ve never seen anything like this. It is what it is and we’re going to have to sort it out.”
(MANY MORE) INJURY UPDATES
Defenseman Damir Sharipzianov, who has scratched on in both games last weekend after playing Wednesday, was wearing a red no-contact jersey. The rookie has an undisclosed injury. … Defenseman Zach Trotman, who’s now missed the last six games due to an upper-body injury, is still not practicing. When asked to provide an update on his condition, Stothers half-smiled and said “he’s progressing, he’s progressing nicely.” … Veteran Paul Bissonnette did not practice and Stothers called it a maintenance day.