23 Intently Staring Goalies
by lsefton on 04/12/13 at 10:52 AM ET
Right now, if you look up "Richard Bachman", you're more likely to get an article about Stephen KIng than the Dallas Stars goaltender. And while Stephen King is an immednsely popular author, I have my suspicions he wouldn't make the cut as an NHL goaltender. Maybe Stephen King can meet us halfway and wrote a book featuring a really scary NHL goaltender.Or maybe one where the goalie's psychological gotchas parallel the supernatural badness he's having to face.
And back to reality....
While not throwing demonic defensemen at Bachman, is still presenting him with the challenge of is he good enough to make it as an NHL goaltender. He's filled in for Lehtonen on and off this season, and spent a lot of time on the bench, and sometimes in the stands. That's one of the issues with a on-way contract; unless you're going to the AHL for rehab, Dallas can't send Bachman down for more playing time.
And Bachman hasn't exactly delivered in the games he's been in. He's shown flashes of ability, but with no consistence. Time's short, and now he has to prove to Dallas, or another NHL team, that he has the goods to play in the NHL.
No pressure here.
From Mike Heika at the Dallas Morning News:
Richard Bachman should have a lot on his mind.
The 25-year-old Stars goalie signed a one-way deal last summer and was promptly greeted by the NHL lockout, meaning he couldn’t play in the AHL and was allowed to rust a bit through the fall.
When he did return, he went back and forth with newcomer Cristopher Nilstorp for the right to back up Kari Lehtonen. Along the way, he has accumulated a 3.72 goals-against average (ranking 75th in the league) and an .866 save percentage (76th) in nine NHL appearances.
So yeah, not looking so great for the kid.
All of which means Bachman has a lot riding on the line Friday when he is expected to start against the Nashville Predators while Lehtonen tries to get over a mild groin injury.
Can Bachman save face and prove that the numbers have been a fluke this season? Can he hold Nilstorp at bay when the 30-year-old Swede has been called in as a possible backup to the backup? Can he persuade either the Stars or some other team that he’s worth another contract in the summer?
You can hear Queen and David Bowie kicking in with “Under Pressure” as background music to his dreams.
“You would think he would feel that way. That’s how the normal person would probably feel,” Stars goalie coach Mike Valley said. “But, you know what? He doesn’t. He doesn’t feel that way at all.”
Instead, Bachman is ready to play his hardest and do his best not for stats or contracts, but because he truly believes his team has a chance to make the playoffs and needs him to help.
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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!