Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 10/02/11 at 12:39 AM ET
From Chicago Now:
The perception that the Blackhawks will fail without a veteran backup is built on sand, not concrete. And that sand holds very little water.
For the last three seasons, the Blackhawks have entered a season with a veteran starter. In each of the last two, the backup on Opening Night was a relatively untested rookie.
In each of the past three seasons, the goalie slotted to be the backup wound up starting the bulk of the Hawks’ games. Nikolai Khabibulin, Antti Niemi and Corey Crawford weren’t supposed to be the starter, but forced their way onto the ice and, eventually, won the job.
Meanwhile, the veterans on those three rosters that were supposed to start because of their experience - Cristobal Huet and Marty Turco - had capacity crowds at the United Center ready and willing to drive them to any city in the country where the Hawks weren’t playing.
The idea that NHL experience makes a goalie better has some merit, but it shouldn’t be a requirement for the job.
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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.
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