23 Intently Staring Goalies
by lsefton on 08/09/11 at 10:41 PM ET
Hey, Marty! Marty Turco!
Yes, I know it’s you. C’mon turn around and let’s have a chat. I know you’re busy making the rounds of all the franchises, checking to see if you can make a deal to be invited to training camp, and hey, just maybe be offered a backup job. That’s what I’m here to talk to you about.
No, not a job. Seriously, do I look like an assistant GM? Nope, we’re going to spend ten minutes on what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and maybe why it’s not in your best interests. So, let’s call this a little electronic intervention towards your best interests. Ten minutes, that’s all I’m asking.
Here’s the thing-you went to Chicago last season after being let go by Dallas, and everyone’s intention was that you’d be the gracefully aging goalie, taking the load while Corey Crawford learned the ropes. Let’s show the Stars they were wrong! Let’s make that run at the Stanley Cup! Onward and upward!
It just didn’t happen. Corey Crawford came to the forefront, taking over the bulk of the work, while you ended up tking notes and talking to the press a lot. I have it to hand it to you; you handled it with grace, where some players would have headed off to the corner to sulk. You’re a mensch!
What you aren’t however, is an NHL caliber goalie. Not consistently. That’s what the Blackhawks found out, that they couldn’t be sure whether you were going to have the chops that night. And once the doubt set in, you sat on the bench.
Now you want one more chance. One more season to show that there’s still something left. I hear that the Blue Jackets may be looking for someone while they figure out Steve Mason. Or maybe there’s a team out there who hasn’t show their hand yet, and they’ll offer you a two-way contract. Hey—playing for the Wolves, or the Admirals, or the Monarchs; that wouldn’t be so bad, would it? And you know that you’ll be called up, and you can show everyone there’s still something left.
And you can decide when it’s your last game in the NHL, instead of having it decided for you.
The trouble is, you don’t get to decide. Rarely does anyone get to decide. You end up looking back, hoping you don’t cringe, and say “that was my last game”. Maybe you get to remember it again when the communications intern asks you “Hey, do you remember your last game?”.
And it stinks if you were blown out.
And it stinks if you were pulled, and it only hurts a bit less if you lost, but at least were respectable.
And you don’t want to spend your last season on a bus, wondering how you ended up where you were, and ending your career on an existential crisis.
So you don’t get to decide how you went out. But you do get to decide when you leave.
You have that chance right now.
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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!