The Islanders Informer
by William Morrison on 11/09/11 at 10:54 PM ET
The “showcase” on Monday night against the Boston Bruins didn’t quite work out for Evgeni Nabokov and the Islanders brass. Supposedly, the goal was to showcase Nabokov to other teams in hopes that Nabokov would have a stellar performance and would become a commodity on the trade market. The showcase quickly went downhill after Nabokov gave up three early goals and was pulled in the first period.
The “showcase” was a bad idea in my mind. The Isles didn’t need to use one of their few nationally televised games to play Nabokov. This was all done at the expense of Al Montoya not starting for the seventh straight game. Montoya came on in relief of Nabokov in the first period and played well even though he certainly showed some rust. Montoya stopped 22 of 24 shots in relief, but can’t really be blamed for either of the two goals.
The Isles need to make a decision soon on which two goalies they are going to keep on the NHL roster. As shown by Montoya’s rust on Monday night, three goalies simply can’t get enough playing time to form any type of consistency. There is no valid explanation for carrying three goalies for any sustained period of time. Even head coach Jack Capuano couldn’t give an answer when asked why Al Montoya hasn’t started in the past seven games. “To give you a concrete answer would be hard for me to do,” Capuano said.
So, which two goalies should the Islanders keep? Let’s compare the season stats to this point:
Al Montoya: 4 games started, 2-2, 2.12 GAA, .928 SV%
Rick DiPietro: 3 games started, 1-1-2, 2.67 GAA, .904 SV%
Evgeni Nabokov: 5 games started, 1-3, 2.81 GAA, .911 SV%
Of course, statistics aren’t the best or only measure of good goaltending. There are many other variables that should be taken into account. With that said, based on the numbers and quality of play, Montoya and DiPietro have probably played the best of the three so far this season. At the beginning of the season what Isles fans were hoping for was that Nabokov would play extremely well early in the season and either win the #1 job or be traded early in the season. At this point, I can’t imagine that many teams are willing to give up much, if anything, for Nabokov. There are teams like Columbus who might be looking for goaltending, but are they willing to give up a 2nd or 3rd round draft pick? Probably not.
With Nabokov getting the most starts at this point in the young season, if Capuano wants the other two goalies to stay sharp at all, he needs to split the upcoming starts between Montoya and DiPietro. Would it be ideal for a team to show interest in Nabokov and for the Isles to get something in return? Sure it would, but I don’t think it is going to happen at this point. All of this only means one thing-the Isles are going to have a decision to make and they will have to make it soon. It is a tough decision to make, but one that must be made soon for the sake of the team.
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Welcome to The Islanders Informer. TII will be a forum for discussion, debate, and both Islander and hockey related news.
I'm an attorney by day and hockey fan by night. I'm always open to feedback, suggestions, agreements, disagreements, opinions, and discussion.