VANCOUVER – Vancouver Canucks enabled Michael DiPietro to fail and on Monday night he did a premature National Hockey League debut.
The 19-year-old goaltending view, an emergency call from the Ontario Hockey League last week, was forced into an NHL start when Canuck's goalkeeper Jacob Markstrom signed up to work Monday morning experiencing tightness in his lower body.
The idea when backup goalkeeper Thatcher Demko sprained his knee during pre-game warmup in Philadelphia last Monday was that Canucks could bring in DiPietro and the 2017 third round draft pick would gather invaluable experience and intel practices with NHL players and works with Canucks goaltending coach Ian Clark while Markstrom played.
And during the two weeks, Demko would miss, Canucks General Manager Jim Benning and his staff would continue to search for a cheap, appropriate "third-goalie" to bring in the organization of depth. They never found one on time.
DiPietro lost its first NHL start 7-2 to the San Jose Sharks.
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Canucks' veteran league goalkeeper Richard Bachmann suffered a seasonal Achilles injury with Utica Comets on December 21. And the organization's plan to replace him went wrong on January 4, when Mike McKenna relied on exemptions from Philadelphia Flyers, a few days after Canucks took him from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for NHL backup Anders Nilsson. Nilsson was moved to make room in the NHL for Demko.
In the 31 days between losing McKenna and Demko, Canucks sought another goalkeeper, but did not acquire or sign one. They have formerly NHLs Michael Leighton in minors on a professional test.
Then DiPietro was literally thrown to the sharks.
Talented and promising as Team Canada's world's junior championship starts, DiPietro is not ready to launch games in the NHL. Almost no 19-year-olds are. Not in target.
DiPietro had an NHL goal against before he had an NHL save. Sharks, one of the best and highest scoring teams in the league, scored three times on their first five shots.
"Every time you leave three in five, it's definitely not an ideal start," DiPietro told reporters. "But the next puck comes in. That's what I kept saying to myself," I have to be ready for it. "It's very mental, but you have to be ready for all this game throws at you.
"Some adversity has been thrown, but it's okay. It's something I can definitely learn from and work to improve my game and improve myself."
At the end of the second period, DiPietro had improved its saving percentage to .600, allowing six goals in 15 shots.
A pair of San Jose goals came from deflections, a couple of cruel defenders in front of DiPietro. So Ottawa 67's goalkeeper didn't have any luck or much help. But he also looked overmatched, unused for NHL speed and puck movement and the ability of even fourth liners at this level to release the puck quickly and with speed.
"The start we had, you put it on us," said veteran Jay Beagle. "We had to be better. Especially with a guy starting his first NHL game, you won't start with it.
"For anyone coming in and playing, remember their first NHL game, you will allow them to feel the puck. Lock it down defensively and let them settle in. The first goal goes in (after 64 seconds) and it can't happen. It just can't happen. It's not like you want a guy to start the game. Put it on my line. "
Beagle and wingers Loui Eriksson and Tyler Motte stood in a triangle in the low slot and saw Timo Meier standing uncontrolled between them as he converted Logan Couture's passport to make it 1-0. On the next goal, at. 3:22, Evander Kane's harmless flip to the net was dressed behind Canuck defenseman Ben Hutton and blocked in goal by DiPietro. At 8:48 am of the first, still four minutes before San Jose goalkeeper Martin Jones was obliged to make a rescue, Melker Karlsson diverted to Brent Burns' point shot. And then it went.
"We certainly weren't good enough in front of him," Canucks said, "Bo Horvat about DiPietro." "We had to be better defensive for him, especially early. When you have a young goalkeeper like that, his first NHL game can't go 8-0 shots (mod) in the first five or 10 minutes. to end well. "
"It's not them," DiPietro said of the blame. "It also falls on me. I have to be better. The guys have been great with me and made me feel welcome. These guys you want to play for them. I appreciate everything they did."
It's hard to see how DiPietro benefits from this experience. And it is even harder to imagine Canucks Management, so it continues. If Markstrom does not report for work on Tuesday with the power and chipperness of someone in a Viagra advertisement, Benning must find another goalkeeper.
And even though Markstrom, who was male on the bench but wouldn't play under any circumstances, feels good, his indeterminate injury will actually allow him to play back-to-back road games against the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings, starting Wednesday. ?
Including Saturday's visit to the Shark tank, Canucks has three games for four nights in California and is desperate to hold onto the Western Conference Playoff race that no one expected Vancouver to be in. Demko is not expected to be available to anyone of these games.
We understand Benning's refusal to surrender an asset to another team's third or fourth string goalkeeper when the player may never have to start a game for Canucks. But unsigned goalkeepers like Leighton cost nothing but a little money – and that money will be paid on a two-way transaction.
How much is the playoffs worth?