Kukla's Korner

23 Intently Staring Goalies

Luongo Prognostications for a Snowy Weekend

The "where will Luongo end up?" guessing will continue to the trade deadline, and if Luongo hasn't moved by then,  expect it to pick up again after the end of the season. One of the questions not being asked is whether Luongo will solve the problem that the prospective team has:

Do they really need a goalie? Or is the reason the current goalie's GAA is above 2.5 because the  defense in front of them are closer to retirement than what's comfortable? Or conversely, does the defense have to find someone old enough to buy the beer on those roadtrips through middle America? In a compressed season, a team with an out of tune defense will be noticed and will be capitalized on.

Is this a team that needs a goalie, but they need everything else as well? Otherwise known as the "Well, at least we have someone to put on the program covers" problem. If the team is either rebuilding, or spending a lot of time in the bottom of the standings, spending money on a name goalie isn't going to get them over the hump.

Is there a systemic problem that will affect anyone who is acquired? Teams that are black holes for player talent won't be fixed by getting a name goalie. They won't be fixed by getting a name anything. A franchise that needs application of a high-pressure fire hose should put off the "one player fix". Oterwise, it's putting a Band-Aid on a broken arm.

But let's face it, the guessing is fun. And if I don't see or hear of at least one handicapping session this weekend about Luongo. I'm going to be disappointed. But anyone expcting Luongo to be the magic potion for a feeling poorly franchise is likely to also be disappointed.

Here's what Sean Fitz-Gerald from the National Post has to say on the Luongo sweepstakes:

This is the way it was supposed to go: The NHL and the NHL Players’ Association sign a new collective bargaining agreement, and the moment Gary Bettman and Don Fehr shake hands and sheath their swords, Roberto Luongo zips his suitcase and hops in a taxi bound for the airport. His destination was the only unknown. Florida? Toronto? Anywhere but Vancouver. And yet, here we are, almost a quarter of the way into the lockout-shortened season, and Luongo remains on the West Coast, even though several teams could use the 33-year-old in their nets. Here is a breakdown of five potential destinations. (Note: As we have learned over the last month, this list can change, and quickly.)

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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!