Kukla's Korner

23 Intently Staring Goalies

More Goalies Down at Crunch Time

It's proving to be a rough season for NHL goalies, and in the shortened season, having a goalie down is being felt a lot harder across the teams. The lucky teams, like St Louis, had a hot spare such as Jake Allen, who's continuing to carry them forward. Other teams are finding out, like Los Angeles, that their backup, Jonathan Bernier, is ready to take the mantle of the number one goalie for the team.

Some, like the Coyotes, are going to find out if their backup, Jason LaBarbera can gain the confidence of the team. Mike Smith's condition at this time is still unknown,  but LaBarbera may be taking over the reins again, sooner than later

And if you're not lucky, you're dipping into untried goods, which is what's happening in Carolina. Dan Ellis, who had been backing up Cam Ward, is now out for the next two weeks, and the Hurricanes will be going with Justin Peters.

One to two weeks out for any team, especially as the league heads into the home stretch for playoff positions, is a painful proposition. When the season is compressed, it could easily make the difference as to whether the team makes the post season or not.

Here's the view from NBCSports:

 

The Carolina Hurricanes entered the season with so much promise after adding forwards Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin. That might have been enough if their sickbay wasn’t filling up with goaltenders.

Netminder Dan Ellis will join Cam Ward on the sidelines after suffering a leg laceration Thursday night, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie and the Raleigh News & Observer’s Chip Alexander.

Ellis is likely to be out for a week or two as a result.

With their top two goaltenders injured, 26-year-old Justin Peters, who has 33 games worth of NHL experience, looks like the team’s de facto starter. Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford suggested that John Muse, 24, might serve as the backup.

Muse has a 3.48 GAA and .879 save percentage in 13 AHL games and has posted equally troubling numbers with the ECHL Florida Everblades this season.

More…

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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!