23 Intently Staring Goalies
by lsefton on 12/31/11 at 04:45 PM ET
If you’re not paying attention to the World Junior’s, start—now. Selected games are on the NHL Network in the US and TSN in Canada. And we have a hot goalie with, *gasp*, personality.
Petr Mrazek is fun to watch, on and off the ice.
Here’s a view from the National Post:
Even in broken English, Mrazek makes clear his intention to play the game his way no matter what anyone thinks.
Including those dastardly Americans.
“I don’t care about the U.S team if they don’t like my celebrations,” the newest household name in Canada said post-game in a massive media scrum. “The fans didn’t like the Americans today. If I did some celebrations, the Canadian fans stood up and enjoyed it.
“So I’m happy about that.”
With the game tied 2-2 in the third period, Josh Archibald danced in on a partial breakaway. In desperation, the Czech defender slashed the American forward.
The official blew the whistle and pointed at centre ice.
“I don’t want to say something wrong about the referees,” said Mrazek, who plays in the Ontario Hockey League for the Ottawa 67’s. “But the guy, he shot the puck at the net, so I don’t think it was a penalty shot for them.”
Staring down his second penalty shot in as many games, Mrazek forced Archibald to the backhand and the puck dribbled wide.
With that, Mrazek let loose with a fist-pump much like the one he unfurled Wednesday upon denying Mark Stone in a 5-0 loss to Canada.
The crowd at Rexall Place roundly booed Mrazek for that display of perceived showboating. Against the Americans, however, all was forgiven.
When Tomas Fillipi scored to make it 4-2, the Czech forward skated toward his bench and threw himself on the ice. His teammates jumped on him in a giant dog pile normally reserved for the Memorial Cup or Stanley Cup.
Not wanting to be left out, Mrazek hurled himself on top of the pile, only to fall over on his back.
“I didn’t know what I had to do in the moment,” Mrazek said. “I just jumped on the guys. I didn’t really know what I was doing.”
He knew exactly what he was doing in the dying minutes when the puck landed on his stick. Spotting a lane, he whipped the puck all the way down the ice in search of the empty net.
The puck dribbled through the blue paint, narrowly missing the post.
“I saw it going toward the net,” he said. “I was a bit sad, but we won so it was OK.”
Much to the amusement of the fans, as time wound down, Mrazek danced and waved to his adoring public before throwing himself into the glass like Alex Ovechkin.
“I lost my voice because I was screaming all the time with Petr’s saves,” said Czech defenceman Daniel Krejci. “He’s showman. He’s a real funny guy. He’s awesome. When you have him in back, you’re feeling great. You can’t lose with him.
“He’s a great dancer. A great dancer. I saw him dancing in a club once. It was totally awesome.”
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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!