Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 11/09/11 at 02:57 PM ET
For better or for worse, the value of a good goalie cannot be underestimated. Craig Custance and Pierre LeBrun look at which teams are flourishing and foundering because of their netminders.
Custance: ... So if you had to pick one—who makes the playoffs this year, Florida or Toronto?
LeBrun: Well, I picked neither to make it in September, so why bother changing my mind now, right? The Panthers certainly have been impressive, however. One of the reasons I thought they wouldn’t make it is because usually when a team brings in so many new faces, the adjustment period and the search for chemistry takes a long time. But I chatted with Panthers blueliner Brian Campbell last month, and he was amazed how they all came together quickly and credited head coach Kevin Dineen for the way he handled camp and practices for that. The Leafs? They miss James Reimer a lot right now. Jonas Guvtavsson’s 3.78 goals-against average is ranked dead last among goalies that qualify in the statistical leaders. Ouch. Ben Scrivens was terrific in Columbus in his NHL debut last week but since also has struggled. Until Reimer returns, the Leafs are in big trouble.
Custance: I agree. You’d hate to see goaltending sink this franchise once again, but you’re right: They need Reimer in the lineup. The good news for Leafs fans is that there are plenty of veteran goaltending options on the market if Brian Burke should wake up one day and decide he needs to make a changes, but I’m sure that depends on how close Reimer is to playing.
more at ESPN…
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