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Blue Jackets' McElhinney could miss opener

Friday, 09.20.2013 / 10:29 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  / Training Camp 2013 blog

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Training Camp 2013 blog
Blue Jackets' McElhinney could miss opener

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Curtis McElhinney didn't practice Friday due to a lower-body injury and reportedly might not be ready for opening night.

The injury to McElhinney, slated to back up starter Sergei Bobrovsky, "might be a week to two weeks, is what we’re hoping," coach Todd Richards told the Columbus Dispatch.

That timeline could mean McElhinney won't be ready for the Blue Jackets' opener against the Calgary Flames on Oct. 4. Mike McKenna or Jeremy Smith, slated to split the goaltending for Columbus's American Hockey League affiliate, the Springfield Falcons, could instead back up Bobrovsky.

Neither Smith nor McKenna has distanced himself from the other during training camp, Richards told the newspaper. Smith and Bobrovsky will dress for Saturday's road game against the Pittsburgh Penguins (4 p.m. ET; NHLN-US).

Smith, 24, has spent his entire pro career in the minor leagues. McKenna, 30, has played 17 NHL games. He was 4-8-1 with a 3.56 goals-against average and a save percentage of .887 in 15 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2008-09 and 0-1-0 with a 3.05 GAA and .893 save percentage with the New Jersey Devils in 2010-11.

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Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.

— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals