WINNIPEG – Eric Comrie, the crease is yours – at the very least briefly – and probably a bit longer.
After seeing captain Blake Wheeler and prime centre Mark Scheifele land within the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol earlier this season, No. 1 goalie Connor Hellebuyck will miss a second consecutive sport on Friday as a result of he’s below the climate.
Hellebuyck examined damaging for COVID-19, however he received’t play in opposition to the Chicago Blackhawks and his availability for Saturday’s sport in opposition to the New York Islanders could be very a lot up within the air.
It’s been a whirlwind week for Hellebuyck, whose spouse Andrea gave delivery to the couple’s first little one on Tuesday.
However after spending a part of Wednesday (which was a scheduled time off for the staff) attempting to persuade Jets goalie coach Wade Flaherty that he would have the ability to begin the video games on consecutive nights this weekend – he wasn’t feeling nicely on Thursday, so he stayed residence and was examined for COVID-19.
The Jets had been in a position to push by the lack of each Wheeler and Scheifele as they’ve put collectively a seven-game level streak (5-0-2), however Hellebuyck performed a giant position in that.
One of many largest query marks for the Jets going into the season was concerning the goalie depth behind Hellebuyck and whereas the pattern measurement stays small, Comrie has completed his half to alleviate among the concern.
Comrie is 2-0 this season and his uncooked numbers have been stable, with a 2.40 goals-against common and .915 save share.
A very powerful factor is that he’s supplied a chilled presence and made the saves he’s wanted to in these video games.
“A enjoyable man to bounce off of,” stated Jets defenceman Nate Schmdit. “I am going out and shoot on him earlier than apply on lots of sport days and you may simply see, identical to anyone hopefully high-energy, can put it in perspective while you step on the ice, while you step into conditions, he does dial himself means in.
“It’s nearly like a distinct particular person, it’s actually cool to see you can have each side of it. It’s one thing I attempt to have; all guys like us attempt to have. So it’s been good for him. I feel he’s been actually calm in video games, he hasn’t let any moments get bit on him, particularly since he didn’t play lots within the first six video games of the yr, that’s a few weeks. That’s robust, it’s laborious for a man and he is available in and will get us a giant win in L.A. and final sport (in opposition to the Dallas Stars). That simply offers the fellows lots of confidence in him figuring out that he feels good about his sport proper now.”
From his time on the American Hockey League degree, Comrie has ample expertise enjoying on consecutive days, so it is going to be attention-grabbing to see what Saturday brings.
Mikhail Berdin could be the opposite choice to play in opposition to the Islanders if Hellebuyck is unable to go.
However except the workload is extraordinarily heavy on Friday, Comrie is prone to stay between the pipes.
“There’s a consideration to that. It is a man who has performed three in a row,” stated Maurice. “They’ve travelled and performed back-to-back. He has, in current reminiscence, expertise. It’s not that way back that back-to-back wasn’t thought of that a lot. An entire bunch of goalies say they really feel lots higher on the second evening. That’s a goalie, proper? Attempting to get again within the internet.
“It’s a bit possibly just like the pitch depend. There by no means was a pitch depend, now in case you get to a sure quantity you’re popping out. We don’t normally play goalies back-to-back since you don’t must, however in sure circumstances, we’d contemplate it. This is likely to be a kind of circumstances.”
Maurice stated the most important distinction he’s seen with Comrie is that he’s been in a position to take the work he’s completed by the offseason and coaching camp and have it translate into the video games.
“He’s been stopping pucks, stable, robust, and extremely constant in his practices. What we’re seeing within the video games doesn’t look any completely different than the off days,” stated Maurice. “He’s had a month and a half of being in entrance of a hockey staff and enjoying precisely the way in which he’s been enjoying within the video games.
“For Eric, what we learn about him from day one is that this freakish consistency of persona. That after the second week you meet him you suppose ‘that may’t be him, no person is that good,’ or ‘no person works that arduous each day.’ A few years after, you simply go ‘that’s simply Eric Comrie.’ It doesn’t change his day. There is no such thing as a manifestation of change that you simply say he’s a distinct man now, now he’s attempting, or now he’s buckling down, or now he’s pissed off. His power, his present, is his potential to mentally practice and mentally carry out the identical means each day.”
Courting again to his lone NHL final season with the New Jersey Devils, Comrie is driving a private three-game successful streak.
He’s carried the load on the junior degree and within the AHL, however that is the primary time he’ll begin three consecutive video games within the NHL.
There are some apparent advantages to going mere days between months, somewhat than a 10-month block – which was the case previous to his begin in opposition to the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 28.
“It’s extra what I’ve been used to over my profession,” Comrie stated on Thursday, earlier than he knew of Hellebuyck. “I suppose the final little bit it’s been slightly bit longer waits. Over the primary little bit of my profession, it’s been enjoying nearly each single day. In order that’s what I’m used to and what I like doing.”
No NHL staff needs to be with out its beginning goalie for an prolonged time frame, however for guys like Comrie, this can be a large alternative to cement his NHL credentials.
“Yeah, I feel the most important factor for (Comrie) is you speak to anyone, coaches, gamers, he’s one of many nicest, most hard-working guys each day. Looks as if he’s obtained 1,000 pictures and he’s nonetheless coming right down to work with you on the finish of practices and I feel these are the fellows you wish to root for and play,” stated Jets defencemen Brenden Dillon. “Not that you simply’re going to play tougher, however you need success for these guys. And to see for him, he’s been with the group for fairly a couple of years now, he’s had some little stops with different groups and he’s proud to be a Winnipeg Jet and also you wish to see success occur for these guys. Everyone seems to be glad for him. He’s getting a fantastic alternative right here with Helle out for slightly bit, and I feel you may hope he continues to construct on it.
“You perceive how robust it’s for him to play behind such a fantastic goalie in (Hellebuyck) and while you solely know you’re possibly enjoying eight, 10 video games throughout a season, you perceive how robust that’s to go in and count on to be pretty much as good because the man you companion is. You’re enjoying laborious each single evening however you simply wish to, whether or not that’s the additional clear or the additional blocked shot, possibly simply not attempting to depend on him, and never that we do this with Connor in any respect, I don’t know if I’m circling a bit, however you simply wish to do your finest for that man due to the conditions, back-to-back video games the place your staff is a bit more drained, you attempt to discover that additional gear. You simply wish to do one of the best for each of your goalies.”