Kukla's Korner Hockey
by lsefton on 08/01/11 at 07:29 PM ET
And we have ours. Let me introduce you to Laurie, who knows all when it comes to goaltending.
Don’t believe, me, read on…
It’s 42C in the Mojave Desert, and I’m thinking about goaltending in the NHL, possibly a bit in the AHL, and what’s going on the NCAA. No, this isn’t a diversionary tactic to keep my brain fron frying in the heat.
There’s been a lot of “change partners and dance” going on in the goalie ranks. Bryzgalov headed east, Varlamov headed west, Theodore headed south, Vokun headed north, and Osgood just headed on. The pundits didn’t even let the goodbye cake get stale before they declared Osgood not fit for the Hockey Hall of Fame. Good thing these aren’t the same people who vote. But Skippy’s ultimate Hall of Fame fate, and where that Skippy moniker came from, is another column….
Ah, I see we have a question in the back. Do I mind giving a little background? Not at all! I’ve been following the NHL, and goaltending in particular, since Glenn Hall was using the bucket next to the bench at the old Chicago Stadium. I drew goalies on my class notes, DX’d hockey broadcasts from Montreal to Denver, and read everything I could about NHL and WHA goalies.
Fast forward 20 years, and I’m co-admin at a little site called plaidworks.com. At one point, we were running over 20 hockey related mailing lists out of an extra bedroom. I wrote a piece called “Handicapping the Goalies” for a good part of the during the 90’s and 00’s. And then there was that little diversion into the IHL to run a website and take a lot of goalie photos.
That’s a long time to be studying goaltending and goalies.
Okay, so that’s the goaltending Curriculum Vitae. What are we going to talk about here?
Let’s start with the goalie outlook for the 2011-2012 season. There’s been a lot of movement, and there’s going to be more before the season kicks in for real. We’re seeing the end of the “I want to be Patrick Roy when I grow up” Allaire Butterfly era, and we’re smack in the middle of Finnish “get it done by sheer athleticism” era. So, what’s next? Do we get ten more years of 6ft plus and 10% bodyfat, or does some waterbug pop out of the firmament and stone all the hot scorers? How about the goalie coaches—are we seeing a trend in styles and training? And what’s new and interesting in tweaking the gear—and who’s going to be on Kay Whitmore’s “vist often” list?
Are the Sharks really confident that their two Finns can do the deed this season? And if so, why did they sign Greiss? Is Mike Smith the answer to the question the Coyotes are asking? Are the Leafs goalies going to be really big targets? And if they’re happy with Corey Crawford, why would the Blackhawks invite Ray Emery to camp? These will all get played out early enough to provide a second round of moves and shuffles before the NHL season settles in.
We’ll take a side trip into how much a good goalie means to a team. USA Today just published the annual “Goalies don’t get paid as much as other players on the team” piece. How much of this is statistics at work, how much of this is a changing of the guard, and how much is actual valuation by the team? An okay will get you into the playoffs, but in a short series, if your goalie isn’t hot, you’re going home. So, how much is a goalie worth to their team, and are the various front offices deciding to develop or trade for their goaltending?
As the season heats up, it will be time to take a good look at the trends, how the new kids are doing, whether there’s going to be a lot of movement, and if anyone stayed one season beyond their shelf date.
Development camp may be over, but training camp opens up in just over a month, and the 2011-2012 season follows closely behind. But it’s always a great time to talk about goaltending!
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org