Do you want the good news or the bad news first? How about the bad, since there is really just one item, even though it’s a doozy: The St. John’s IceCaps, with a roster already shredded like pizza cheese, lost another player Monday.
That would be centre Ben Maxwell, recalled to the parent Winnipeg Jets to replace veteran forward Nik Antropov, sidelined by an injury suffered in Winnipeg’s 4-3 NHL loss to the Washington Capitals Sunday.
"I was watching (the Jets-Capitals game) on TV and when I saw Antropov leave, I went ‘Uh, oh,’" said St. John’s head coach Keith McCambridge.
"Right after that, I got a call from Zinger (Jets assistant general manager and IceCaps GM Craig Heisinger saying a player was needed)."
Maxwell is the sixth forward the American Hockey League’s IceCaps have lost to injury or call-up in the last three weeks, joining Maxime Macenauer, Garth Murray, Eric O’Dell and Brock Trotter, all hurt, and Spencer Machacek, who was promoted to Winnipeg on Saturday.
The forward shortfall is seven when you include Marco Rosa, who hasn’t played since before Christmas because of a concussion, and the total population of the IceCaps’ infirmary sits at 10 because of injuries to defencemen Paul Postma, Brett Festerling and Derek Meech.
The good news:
• Postma, who suffered an unspecified injury to his right leg in Sunday afternoon’s 3-0 loss to the Manchester Monarchs at Mile One, will not travel with the Caps for six road games, beginning Wednesday in Hershey. But according to McCambridge, the outlook for Postma "is better than initially thought."
The loss, for any period of time, of Postma, who leads all St. John’s defencemen with 44 points and who is the keystone of the team’s power play, is obviously not good news. But considering he was on crutches after Monday’s game, the fact the team feels better about his prognosis a day later gets entered on the positive side of the ledger.
• Veteran goalie David Aebischer, who hasn’t played in the last couple of weeks, has been cleared to return and join Eddie Pasquale — who has started eight straight games — to provide the IceCaps with their regular netminding tandem. As a result, Chris Carrozzi, who backed up Pasquale during that stretch, has been returned to the Ontario (Calif.) Reign of the ECHL.
• Festerling, O’Dell and Murray will travel with their teammates when they leave for the States today. McCambridge says there is hope one or more might be able to play Wednesday, with Murray being the most doubtful.
• Reinforcements are joining the team, including a couple of familiar faces.
Rookie defenceman Chiarot, who appeared in 14 games for St. John’s before being assigned to the Colorado Eagles, the IceCaps’ AHL affiliate, is being brought back, as is winger Josh Lunden, who came up from the ECHL on a three-game tryout in early February. A new face is that of forward Danny Dries, signed to an ATO (amateur tryout) after his collegiate hockey career at Ohio State ended earlier this month.