David Walker’s ironman streak looks like it will end tonight against the Idaho Steelheads.
“If I were a betting man,” he said, “I’d say yes.”
The captain skated on his own for about five minutes prior to the team’s morning skate, but reported afterward that his lower-body injury was still “a little tender.”
Walker, the only Reign player who has appeared in all 54 games this season, said that the injury is a recurring one that finally caught up to him.
“It’s just the buildup of one of the lower-body injuries that hadn’t gotten to this point until now,” he said. “You try to force yourself (to play), even with bumps and bruises.”
Walker could be replaced in the lineup by Jordan Hill, who is eligible to come off IR and took part in the full morning skate. Hill has missed the last seven games with a leg injury he suffered Feb. 9 against Stockton. The Reign could also skate five defensemen, a tactic that Karl Taylor hasn’t been afraid to employ recently.
The Reign have leaned heavily on Walker this season. He leads the team in assists (25) and game-winning goals (3), is second in shots (118), third in points (30) and penalty minutes (100), and tied for fourth in power-play goals (4). Minutes per game aren’t recorded by the ECHL, but it’s a safe bet that Walker would lead the team in that category, too.
Forward Brett O’Malley (lower body) also took part in the morning skate. Alex Bourret (head) did not.
Mike Zacharias is expected to get his second straight start in goal.
One other note: 10 days after leaving Ontario, the Elmira Jackals fired head coach Malcolm Cameron. The Jackals have three wins in their last 16 games despite a roster laden with NHL prospects from the Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators. General manager Robbie Nichols, interviewed here by a local TV station, will take over. Here’s the official release on ECHL.com.