Ashes Sifting: Joensuu up, Koskinen and Martin remain; Poulin done for the season

The sun did come up (barely) today, club operations resumed, the team had practice. See if you can follow, per the Islanders: Rick DiPietro was officially placed on IR and Jesse Joensuu was recalled -- skating with Rob Schremp and Josh Bailey in practice -- to replace Jeremy Colliton (rib, two weeks). UPDATE: Kevin Poulin is done for the year with a dislocated kneecap requiring surgery.

Blake Comeau (concussion, day-to-day) skated in a non-contact jersey, and Nathan Lawson (MCL, day-to-day) skated too, but Mikko Koskinen and Joel Martin are the two goalies traveling with the team for tomorrow night's game in Montreal. Darren Dreger of TSN reports (and Katie Strang confirms) that Garth Snow is shopping for a "soft" deal for a goalie [FanShot here], but will ride things out until Lawson's return if the prices are too high.

If Martin sees any game action, he would be the sixth goalie to be used this year, which according to Eric Hornick would break the club record of five set in 1990-91 (Glenn Healy, Jeff Hackett, George Maneluk, Mark Fitzpatrick and Danny Lorenz) and matched in 1999-2000 (Stephen Valiquette, Wade Flaherty, Felix Potvin, Roberto Luongo and Kevin Weekes).

Breaking that record would be insane, but you know what? I've seen worse, in a situation most fans will remember, involving a bushel of former Islanders and one recent Islanders destroyer. This was quite the circular series of events:

Bonus ex-Islanders Story before we get to my not-exactly Islanders goalie tale: Dwayne Roloson gave up the tying goal last night against Buffalo when he was tripped in his crease by a Buffalo Sabre who was pushed there by ... wait for it ... Marc-Andre Bergeron. Irony is lovely, ain't it? The Sabres would score four more to win it 7-3.

Story Time

I mentioned this in last night's game thread, but in 2002-03 the St. Louis Blues compiled 99 points while using seven different goalies:

  • Brent Johnson The Strong Fist ... 38 GP
  • Fred Brathwaite The Dubie West ... 30 GP
  • Chris Osgood The Islander... 9 GP
  • Curtis Sanford The AAAAer... 8 GP
  • Tom Barrasso The Cranky... 6 GP
  • Reinhard Divis The Austrian ... 2 GP
  • Cody Rudkowsky The Anonymous ... 1 GP

The Blues had cut bait on Roman Turek and handed a young Johnson the reins the year before, but they were discovering that Johnson's play dropped off once he no longer had to work for the starting job. (Brathwaite, a career backup, got 30 games that season for a reason.) A rather Islanders-esque run of injuries also mandated the use of so many prospects as well as the ill-fated resurrection of Barrasso, who floundered despite possessing ample Veteran Presence.

Though once heralded as a #1, the scuttlebutt from those close to the team was that Johnson was feeling a little too comfortable. They didn't trust him to carry the ball -- he'd end up becoming a career backup afterward -- which is why they looked East for a former Red Wing who had carried the Islanders to their first playoff series in eight years...

As the deadline neared and Mike Milbury was set to make room in the crease for the developing DiPietro (oh, remember that innocent time?), Mad Mike kept his eventual successor as GM (once removed) Garth Snow and dealt Osgood to the playoff-bound Blues. The Isles' 2003 3rd-round pick (Konstantin Barulin) also went in the deal, and you know who came back: Justin Papineau, plus St. Louis's 2nd-round pick in 2003 that became...Jeremy Colliton.

Osgood would shine for the Blues in the playoffs that year, but after building a 3-1 series lead on Vancouver -- with Doug Weight manning the powerplay point (left side this time) after Al MacInnis suffered an injury -- the Blues were hit by a club-wide flu bug that sapped them. They lost the final three games and blew the series.

The next year, pleased with Osgood and still discontent with Johnson, the Blues dumped Johnson to Phoenix in return for a very nice piece ... future Islander Mike Sillinger.

*  *  *

Regular LHHers know I follow both teams Osgood played for in 2002-03. The Blues, in fact, had a very strong team -- Weight called it the best Cup chance he had as a Blue -- but were stalled by the circus in the crease and then finished off by the flu in the room during that postseason.

In my darker fan moments, when I ponder the sequence of misfortune in seasons like these, I start to wonder: Maybe it's not them, but me?

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