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Neck Injury Could Sideline Blues’ Casey For Game 7

May 16, 1996

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Another injured goalie has St. Louis Blues coach Mike Kennan in a foul mood.

Jon Casey strained his neck when he was run over _ intentionally, Keenan contends _ by Darren McCarty with 3:20 left in the first period of the Red Wings’ 4-2 victory Tuesday night. Keenan said he wouldn’t know until today whether Casey will be able to play tonight in Game 7.

Casey could join Grant Fuhr, who was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round, on the sidelines.

``An awful situation has developed in the NHL if indeed the competitive advantage is decided on displacement of a quality goaltender,″ Keenan said. ``It must be unnerving for any goaltender.″

Casey did not practice Wednesday, with 29-year-old rookie Bruce Racine and minor-league callup Mike Buzak playing in goal. Racine has played 33 seconds of one game in the playoffs after appearing in 11 games as a backup during the regular season. Buzak, 23, is a year removed from Michigan State.

``If they need me, I’m ready,″ Racine said. ``Mike likes to change goalies a lot, so I’ve tried to prepare myself.″

Casey stepped in after Fuhr suffered a serious knee injury when Toronto’s Nick Kypreos landed on him in Game 2 of the first round. Casey shut out the Red Wings 1-0 in Game 4 and has played well throughout the series, but now Keenan said Casey can barely turn his neck.

After the game, Keenan directed a profanity-filled tirade at Dave Newell, the NHL’s supervisor of officiating, that could easily be heard outside his office. A lot of good it did him: Not only did referee Dan Marouelli not call a penalty on the play, on Wednesday the NHL decided not to suspend McCarty.

``There will be nothing,″ league spokesman Arthur Pincus said.

Although the Kypreos hit was more devastating, ending Fuhr’s season and perhaps his career, Keenan said the McCarty hit was more deliberate.

``He accelerated as he got closer to him, and drove his knee into his head,″ Keenan said. ``If it wasn’t goalie interference, it was a combination of a game misconduct, attempt to injure, kneeing, interference, and it goes uncalled. So it’s pretty disturbing.″

That Casey got up fairly quickly and was able to finish the game, only feeling the effects afterward, is irrelevant, Keenan said.

``Do we have to wait till the guy breaks his neck before we make the call?″ Keenan said. ``I thought there was zero tolerance for (contact on) goaltenders.″

Then he answered his own question, again ridiculing the one-game suspension handed out to Kypreos.

``Maybe the policy’s changed,″ Keenan said. ``Maybe it goes from game to game, series to series, team to team.″

Keenan said he spoke Wednesday to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who Keenan said told him he was unclear whether the so-called ``zero tolerance″ policy for goalies has changed.

``It’s a farce, is what it is,″ Keenan said. ``It’s a sham for the game.

Racine, the Blues’ backup, agreed.

``Any time a guy blows through the crease like that it’s pretty brutal,″ Racine said. ``That seems to be the trend in the playoffs.

``I think the league is going to have to do something about it, because it’s not safe for the goalies.″

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