Once again in less than 20 games for the Colorado Avalanche, goaltender Semyon Varlamov is injured. The first time Varly sustained a lower body injury during morning practice before the Avalanche took on the Ottawa Senators. In that game, less than three minutes in, backup goalie Reto Berra, would sustain a head injury after a collision with two players. This left young rookie, Calvin Pickard, scrambling for his first career NHL action after a four hour airport trip, flight and trip to the Senators arena. Varlamov would stay on a seven day injured reserve and after missing just one game, Reto Berra would return, while Pickard played back up.
Today, Semyon Varlmov has been listed day-to-day with a groin injury. Injuries plagued the young goaltender early in his NHL career and is one major reason the Washington Capitals were willing to part ways. The 2013-14 season was Varly’s best in nearly every aspect, including staying healthy. While the Avalanche are playing so poorly to start the season, Semyon’s inconsistent health seems to be an issue once again and possibly a contributor to the team’s lack of confidence.
While the Avalanche do not play again until Thursday, November 20th, the team has called up Calvin Pickard from Lake Erie. In nearly 2 full NHL games, Pickard suffers a 3.65 goals against average with a soft .889 save percentage. While one game Pickard was tossed into chaos, Calvin bounced back against a very tough Montreal Canadians team, stopping 33 of 36 shots in his first career start. In 10 games this season with Lake Erie, Pick’s is 3-4-3 sporting a 2.76 goals against and .917 goals against.
It is pretty certain that Reto Berra will start in Washington, if Varlamov cannot, and Pickard will play backup. The only way Pickard will see action is if Varlamov ends up out for an extended amount of time, Berra becomes injured also, or of course if Berra is pulled in game by Coach Roy. Avalanche fans sure do, at this point of the season with Colorado on its first winning streak and confidence building, hope that their starting goaltender is healthy enough to play at worst case Saturday, November 22nd against the struggling Hurricanes. If not, this could be the end of the Avalanche playoff hopes, while they would want to fight to prove their last season wasn’t just a fluke.
I personally would expect Reto Berra to be the start against Washington regardless of Varlamov’s current status today, Coach Roy is not much of a gambler when it comes to the health of his goalies.