In the regular world, the craps slides downhill. Hockey is the same.
Take the Alaska Aces' goaltending situation. Recent arrival Connor Knapp, who won both his starts against Colorado last week and looked to give the Aces a potential killer combo with Knapp and veteran Gerald Coleman, is already outta here.
That's because Knapp's contract is owned by the NHL's Buffalo Sabres, who were kind enough to loan him to the Aces last week. But that was before a series of injuries by Sabres goaltenders trickled down to the AHL and, thus, the dominoes kept falling until the last tiles hit the Aces and fellow ECHL club Fort Wayne.
Last Thursday, Sabres goaltender Michal Neuvirth was injured. That prompted Buffalo to call up Nathan Lieuwen from AHL Rochester. On Sunday, Sabres goalie Jonas Enroth got hurt, which prompted the Sabres to recall Matt Hackett from Rochester on an emergency basis.
Well, Rochester then needed goalies, of course, so Andrey Makarov was called up from Fort Wayne to Rochester and Knapp was called up from Alaska.
North American's hockey ladder is topped by the NHL. One rung down is the AHL. And yet another rung down is the ECHL. So, when injuries happen, each rung on the ladder takes a hit, and in this case it cost the Aces Knapp.
No word, of course, on when or if he might be back. In the meantime, the Aces, who open a seven-game road trip Thursday in Las Vegas -- Alaska's last 10 games are on the road, but the Aces have a week off in that stretch and will return home -- are in search of a goaltender to join them in Sin City.
By DOYLE WOODY, adn.com