Kukla's Korner

23 Intently Staring Goalies

Coast to Coast—it’s the three dot Goalie Lounge

Apologies to the ghost of Herb Caen!

Nabokov signed up for another year on the Island.  According to TSN, he’ll be making $2.75 million to backstop the Islanders. Even though Nabokov’s record is south of .500, his 2.56 GAA and .912 save percentage is enough to make him a serious candidate for the Islanders’ MVP. Nabokov also gives the Islanders insurance if/when DiPietro comes back next season.

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The Red Wings are feeling very lucky that they have Ty Conklin available for starts until Jimmy Howard heals up from a groin twinge. They’d be a lot happier if the Western Conference was a lot more settled with the 4, 5, and 6 spot in the Western Conference. Detroit and Nashville are effectively tied, and Chicago, in spite of their on-again/off-again goaltending, is nipping at their heels.

From Mlive: Good news for Joey MacDonald—the MRI shows it’s not a recurrence of the bulging disk issues he had a few seasons ago. The doctors still have to figure out why he’s having leg pain, but his worst-case worry has been removed.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs need:

  1. New Goalies
  2. A New Goalie Coach
  3. A New Defense
  4. A New GM
  5. A Good Long Breath
  6. More than One of the Above

First, Jonas Gustavsson was supposed to be the answer to all their questions. Then James Reimer was supposed to answer anything left over. Instead, we’re constantly moving between head-scratching and utter frustration as to what exactly is wrong with the Leafs goaltending.

How bad is it? I tuned into the Boston-Toronto game about three minutes in, and it took me almost five minutes to see who was in goal for Boston.  That’s seriously bad. Extra nasty bad with cheese on top.

I haven’t seen a convergence of nebulous goalie woes like this, outside of first year expansion teams, in years. It’s not merely that one is really old, and one should be in the AHL for more seasoning. It’s not that they’re both dealing with chronic orthopedic injuries. They both play so distracted that I’m amazed their bodies don’t follow their minds off the ice, because their minds have taken off on the express rocket to the planet Mongo, and they’e not due back for a long, long time.

Carlyle’s been working on getting the Leafs back to playing form, but it’s not going to work unless they also figure out what’s going on in the nets.

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I keep hearing the prognosticators talking about Vezina candidates, and I’m wondering why their view of the NHL comes to a sudden halt at the Mississippi river. It’s too bad that Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak can’t be entered as one unit, because their combined stats for St Louis would make them a serious contender.  Halak and Elliott are a big part of St Louis’ charge into forst place this season, and a serious candidates for this year’s Jennings trophy.

Jonathan Quick has made sure the LA Kings are still in the race—he’s suffering from a team that couldn’t score for the better part of the season. There is life beyond the Eastern Conference and Henrik Lundqvist, hockey press! If the Kings maintain their surge, the Chicago Blackhawks had better hope the two team don’t match up in the first round—QUick has owned the Blackhawks this season, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t continue.

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San Jose Sharks announcers: Please stop talking about Niemi’s rolling average. You’ve done this twice in the past week, and both games he’s been less than stellar. Actually, by Thursday’s game against Boston, you won’t want to talk about Niemi’s rolling average. And the way the Sharks have been playing, maybe this is when Marty Turco gets another start. Turco’s been putting in the practice hours, and Coach Claude Julien notes the effort. More on this from DJ BEan at WEEI:

WILMINGTON — Marty Turco took the ice at Ristuccia Arena Tuesday wearing brand new bright gold pads. They certainly match his Bruins’ uniform better than his old shiny gold ones, but why get new pads when you’ve only got a few weeks left with a team?

For starters, as Turco pointed out, “These aren’t your dad’s [pads]” — meaning the technology with equipment these days means they can be broken in with just a few practices. More importantly, he got them because he’s determined to make the most of the rest of the season with the Bruins.

The backup goaltender, who was signed following Tuukka Rask‘s injury and cannot be on the playoff roster, is determined to show that his second appearance and lone start with the B’s — a disaster in Tampa in which he allowed four goals on 12 shots — isn’t indicative of what he brings to the table. With another week practicing with the team and working with goaltending coach Bob Essensa, Turco feels more up to speed with the NHL after playing part of the season in Austria.

“As much as I’d like to make an excuse for the Tampa Bay game, the beginning, I feel probably better conditioned now, but that really had nothing to do with the Tampa game,” Turco said. “Not much has changed — just keeping getting caught up with the speed of the game as quick as guys get on you. I think that’s the main thing. As much as I’d like to change stuff in that game and really produce and play great, I know how good I felt. I just have to tidy up a few things. I believe that goes with every day, and it’s nice to work with Bob a few times here.”

Claude Julien has seen the work that Turco’s put in, and the coach sees a goaltender who’s better positioned to handle NHL competition than he was before.

“There’s no doubt,” Julien said. “When he’s been facing the kind of shots that he’s been facing now for an extra week, he keeps getting better. I think that’s why he’s putting in the extra time. He wants to get his timing on. The timing here vs. the timing where he was is not the same, [as] you’ve got the best shooters in the world playing in this league.”

More….

Filed in: | 23 Intently Staring Goalies | Permalink
  Tags: brian+elliott, evgeni+nabokov, goalies, james+reimer, jaroslav+halak, jimmy+howard, joey+macdonald, jonas+gustavsson, jonathan+quick, marty+turco

Comments

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I feel bad for Montoya. He’s the one that should be getting the look on the island.

I think the problem is Fran├žois Allaire in Toronto. They should have retained Steve McKitchen. I’ve never been impressed with Allaire’s technique. His goalies while having active hand positioning often sacrifice stick discipline in the five hole relying on thigh rise coverage in the butterfly to disastrous results.

Posted by Moocat on 03/21/12 at 08:30 PM ET

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About 23 Intently Staring Goalies

23 Intently Staring Goalies comes from the 23 close-up photos of goalies that used to line the walls of my office.

On the good side, it kept down interruptions, but it also made sure I had to leave my trash outside my door if I wanted it picked up.

I've been watching and analyzing goaltenders for going on 40 years. Some of that was spent drawing goalies on my grade 8 math homework. Then it was taking my card decks and printouts to Indianapolis Racer games. Luckily, the Internet took off, and by 1991 I was half of the duo that would ultimately become the Plaidworks hockey mailing lists. I wrote "Handicapping the Goalies' for the San Jose Sharks mailing list, and took a lot of photos of goalies in action. I have around 5000 slides of mostly goaltenders in action from 1989 through 2001 from the WHL, IHL and NHL. Since I've gone digital, I've added about 10,000 more images to the library. During summers and when the league went dark, I was reading through multiple SF By area news papers, tracking ice hockey from the 1917 recreational leagues up through the California Seals.

We'll be talking about goalies and goaltending. We'll talk about whats going on now, who's in the system, and when the doldrums hit, I'll haul something out of the big bag of history, or something from the photo archives. We'll talk about who's hot and why, and who's not and what they can do to get back on track. We'll take a look at the trends in scouting goalies, and why a style may work for one team but not another. I'll battle with my dictation software to get it to understand Bryzgalov and Bobrovsky.

It should be interesting--hope you want to come along for the ride!