'Bad break' sidelines Leclaire
Sens goaltender out four weeks with fractured cheekbone
|Senators goaltender Pascal Leclaire was just getting on a roll but now a fractured cheekbone will keep him out of action for the next four weeks (Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images).
The Ottawa Senators goaltender learned today he'll be sidelined for at least four weeks with a fractured right cheekbone suffered during Monday night's 4-3 overtime victory over the Washington Capitals at Scotiabank Place.
Mike Brodeur has been summoned from the American Hockey League's Binghamton Senators on an emergency basis to fill the void behind Brian Elliott, who figures to assume the bulk of the goaltending duties until Leclaire returns.
Leclaire wasn't even between the pipes against the Caps, but was struck with an errant puck during the second period that deflected over the glass near the players' bench. Ironically, Leclaire was the backup goaltender Monday because he wanted a few more days to rest a lower-body injury suffered in Ottawa's win over the Buffalo Sabres two nights earlier.
Now he's hoping to make it back into the lineup by Christmas. But his opportunity to face his former team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, on Thursday night at Scotiabank Place is gone.
"You can pull some (muscles) during games, but I’m sitting on the bench and I get a puck off the face," said Leclaire, who will require a visit to a plastic surgeon. "It’s something I’ll laugh about in 20 years … but it’s disappointing. It’s total bad luck. It’s something that seems to catch me every year but this one, it’s so bad that you almost want to laugh about it.
"I don’t know what the odds are, but I’m trying to see it the other way. It could have got me in the eye. It could have been worse. So we’ll deal with it."
Added Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson: "It's a terrible break for him and for us ... (just) bad luck getting hit the way he did."
While Leclaire didn't see the puck coming, he knew right away it was something serious. The pain was that sharp and that immediate.
"I remember being hit and everything, so it’s not like I totally (blacked) out. It was a pretty good blow."
Now the Senators will have to make do without their No. 1 goaltender, whose game seemed to be rounding into form before the weekend. Now the goaltender whose career has been plagued by injuries is dealing with them again.
"I was hoping for an injury-free year but to me, that’s not really an injury. It’s bad luck and I’ll heal it up," said Leclaire, who had season-ending ankle surgery in February while still with the Blue Jackets. "I’ll probably be able to skate and at least stay in shape while I’m rehabbing it. It’s disappointing because I’m going to miss some time.
"We have a big month ahead of us with a lot of games and I was feeling good right now. I like where my game was going. I’ll deal with it like anything else. I’ll fix it and look forward and around Christmas, I should be back and I’ll be looking forward to playing."