NOTE: As it turns out, while I was writing this post the question was answered for me….Bishop will get the start today against the Jets.
With a pair of back-to-back games coming up Tuesday (home to Buffalo) and then Wednesday (in Pittsburgh), it begs the question, when will backup Ben Bishop get another start in the Senators’ net?
Do you throw him in against the Sabres and save Craig Anderson for the Penguins? Or do you make sure Anderson plays against the Sabres in a very winnable game, and throw Bishop to the wolves against the Penguins? Or do you continue to ride Anderson and play him on both games.
Anderson has started 8 straight games after Saturday afternoon’s tilt with the Jets, and Bishop hasn’t played since the 6-4 loss to Tampa Bay on January 25th. Bishop needs to get 8 more games this season or the Senators could lose him as an Unrestricted Free Agent. With 36 games left, that means he needs to get into about every 4th game if the Senators want to make sure they hang onto his rights.
With 4 games in 7 days, and 8 in the next14 days starting Tuesday, surely Anderson will need a rest. Wednesday is the only back to back set in that time frame, so Bishop will likely get one of those games. Now do you throw Bishop in against a powerful Penguins team, basically throwing in the towel and hoping he can steal a win? Or do you save your best for the Penguins and hope Bishop has enough to beat the Sabres.
I would lean toward the more likely 2 points against the Sabres and hope Bishop has a chip on his shoulder with something to prove against the Penguins and catches lightning in a bottle. Give Anderson a rest after playing the night before and then travelling to Pittsburgh.
What would you do?