Despite the depressiveness of the Devils' season thus far, I've tried to refrain from going full-blown eternal pessimist. In managing to take three out of the last four points despite facing third period deficits against superior teams without the help of the reigning league MVP on back-to-back nights, they've proven that the right way to approach a humbling year that - if only due to the ineptitude of the rest of their division - somehow still possesses the improbable potential for a playoff berth.
Unfortunately, as it pertains to the status of the one player who was the biggest unknown over the offseason, I'm not sure optimism is still a legitimate option anymore. Hell, at this point, I don't even know what the optimistic viewpoint would even be. Either Cory Schneider really is dealing with yet another injury to a part of his body that is essential to him doing his job with any consistency, or his injury is partly an excuse for his undeniable inability to do said job with consistency in anything other than losing.
On one hand, you'd hope that a physical ailment is what restrained him from getting from one post to the other in giving up an inexcusable backhand wraparound just over a minute into his first home start of the season...
And on the other hand, it's insane to hope that a goaltender who has yet to regain even a single shred of confidence following offseason hip surgery has been dealt another blow to his lateral quickness.
Cory Schneider carries a 6 million dollar price tag for 3.5 more seasons, and - as much of an apologist as I was - the Devils have only been somewhat worth the price of admission when he's nowhere near the net. We're talking about someone who took a routine glove save on a nothing shot and, in opposition of all findings of science, managed to help guide it through his own 5-hole...
That's not the work of a strained abdominal as much as it's the work of a shattered spirit. The Devils have undoubtedly been at their most disastrous with #35 in between the pipes, but the fact that they have often refused to play defense in front of him doesn't change the fact that his play has been indefensible. The only case he's made for himself so far is that his career as an NHL caliber goaltender is over. If the goal is to even stay on the outskirts of the postseason race, then the goal simply can't be manned by Cory Schneider. That's really the long and short of it. So, while in the short it's not incredibly awful news that he'll be inactive for a week during which a young player will presumably get a chance to prove himself, in the long there is no remotely good news regarding a player who appears broken mentally during the increasingly rare occasions in which he's not broken physically.