23 Intently Staring Goalies
Entries with the tag: nhl
How slow is it? It’s so slow that the curent number one goalie story is about whether Cristobal Huet will go with the Kings or the Canucks
When the travails and travels of a soon to be 37 year old French goalie is covered in minutiae by the hockey press, you know there isn’t much going on.
But go on we shall.
So, what’s the deal here? You can look at it from two ways—that the Canucks and the Kings are getting ready to jettison a goaltender, and they’d like to have a seasoned goaltender in place, either to be the backup, or be the insurance in case their first choice of backup doesn’t work out.
Or you could look at it from the other direction—that Huet’s agent has decided that these are the two teams most likely to jettison, and would be the most likely customers for Huet’s wares.
It’s Draft Day, and there’s some chatter about drafting goalies as either a quick fix to a current goaltending issue, or as insurance against an aging goaltending duo.
Insurance? Always a gamble, but teams need to refresh and develop their goaltending talent. Note “develop”—most goalies aren’t ready fresh out of the box, especially at age 18, so a team will have to wait two to four years before they can get an idea of the finished product. It’s sort of like tasting out of the barrel; you get an idea what the wine’s going to be like, but that Cabernet Sauvignon is also going to be much too raw to be drinkable. And you still may end up with jet fuel down the road.
The Stanley Cup is about to head out on its Summer tour, so it’s time to take a look at what else is going on. Not that there isn’t hockey to be had, it’s just the emphasis has shifted to the back office, where the deals are already starting to take place.
But first—Martin Brodeur. If anyone had asked back in November if Brodeur was going to be playing past April, the consensus would have been a resounding no. There was even talk that Brodeur just ought to hang them up before he embarrassed himself any further. Shows why he’s playing hokey for a living, and a lot of others aren’t making a living writing about it. Marty, you’re the last man standing on my “Goal Patrol” poster, and you acquitted yourself admirably in the playoffs. Brodeur showed you don’t have to have the proportions of Godzilla while playing 59 minutes on your knees to be an effective goaltender. I hope scouts and coaches are paying attention.
There are times I’m tempted to send the extra-large pot of coffee to the east-coast media, usually when they start up on “where did
In other words—Jonathan Quick—he’s been here all along!
It’s the Stanley Cup Finals, and the goalie mot talked abut is…. Dominik Hasek! Hasek wants to make a return to the NHL, and he’s purportedly talking to at least two (depending on who’s reporting, pick two of three: Detroit, Buffalo and Tampa Bay) teams about mounting his comeback.
There’s been a lot of talk about how goalies have started to last until they are on the edge of 40. And I’m surprised that Johnny Bowers’ indeterminately aged career hasn’t been brought up, other than it was a different game 40-50 years ago.
I have in my possession a close-up photo I took of Sean Burke in a Hartford Whalers mask. Nope, he didn’t suddenly spring up from the seafoam—which would be a neat trick in Arizona—and become the hottest goalie coach in the NHL.
If someone has asked me back then if I thought Sean Burke was going to become a premier goalie coach, I wouldn’t have considered it. Burke was better than a good goalie, but he also had a rep for having a bit of a temper on-ice. He’s hit the league with a splash, fresh from the Canadian National Team, and looked like the goalie of the future for the New Jersey Devils.
Roberto Luongo is in the market, and some have already decided that he’s going to the Maple Leafs. Or maybe he’s going to the Oilers, or maybe the Lightning. I could keep going, but there’s the rest of the league to list, and that would take awhile.
For a number of fans, writers, and analysts who are looking in from the outside of the Stanley Cup playoffs, this is the best recreation available. There’s a lot of “could we? should we? would we?” running loose across the ink and phosphors. It’s cheap, it’s fun, and hey, you don’t have to cut the check!
It isn’t then end of the first round, but we can see it from here, and Braden Holtby continues on his mission, and he continues to get attention from the press.
Why? With the “don’t worry, we’ll score more” battle of attrition between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and almost daily wait for the” who, what and why” suspension announcement from Brendan Shanahan, it’s one of the classic sports stories—new and relatively unknown kid makes good, and makes it in a pressure filled and glaringly lit venue.
We’re seeing more than the usual share of backups and a mix of kids ad oldsters from the AHL as the season winds down. Some teams are slotted in and want to give their #1 a rest. And some, well because they don’t have a choice.
The Washington Capitals fall into the latter category, and the big arrow stops on… Dany Sabourin!
We’re coming up on the end of the season, and some of the teams you wouldn’t have suspected are continuing to make goalie changes and additions, well, because they really don’t have many options:
In the “Where is he now? He’s on the Island!” category, the New York Islanders have signed John Grahame to an end of the season contract. With Nabokov’s injury, the Islanders, who as you remember, started out this season with three goaltenders in tow, are down to one, AL Montoya, and their AHL call-up, Kevin Poulin. The Islanders’ AHL team, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, are currently in first place in the Northeast division of the AHL. Signing Grahame appears to be partly giving the Islanders some depth at goal, and an attempt to not mess up the Tigers chances.
There’s been a lot going on around Martin Brodeur. He’s been struggling back from a cold start this season, with the annual discussions as to whether he should finally hang them up.
Brodeur has turned it around, and was back to his winning ways. Then came the phone call—his father, Denis Brodeur had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.
I was listening to the post-post game show on WGN radio this past Friday night, when a caller asked about trades. The show’s host Judd Sirott, said that everyone is looking to get a Center or a Defenseman.
Well, yeah, except when they’re looking for a goaltender. And as the trading deadline approaches we’ll start seeing teams trying to get that second goalie who can spell their star, or who will be looking for some fresh talent to try out in goal as the season slams head-first into the playoffs.
It’s "Black Friday" in the US, Grey Cup Weekend in Canada, and the inner harbour in Victoria will soon be decorated in full holiday mufti. Way back when, (okay, 1925) the Victoria Cougars won the Stanley Cup, and if you ever attended a game in the old Memorial Arena, they had the banner to make sure you knew.
First, I’d like to apologize to the Edmonton and Dallas goalies. I obviously jinxed the bunch of them last week. Temporality doesn’t imply causality, but whoa….
Speaking of temporality, the cause d’jour is now whether the NHL should better protect their goalies. Actually, that’s protecting their goalies from hits by other players. That’s a different issue from protecting goalies from pucks hitting them in under protected or inappropriately re-engineered on-the-fly equipment. That should be looked at, and I hope once the GMs finish up with the player hits, they’ll take another look at how they can reduce other goaltender injuries.
Tim Thomas is on the cover of this month’s Improper Bostonian. Trim Thomas’ story, and how he ended up playing for too long in the minors and in Europe, make an interesting point about how goalies are selected and developed (or ignored) in the NHL:
It looks like it wasn’t just George Malik (and thank you George, for the drill-down on my post!) and myself who were thinking that someone or someones need to take a better look at how to deal with the current state of goalie masks. Elliote Friedman explores this in his CBC/HNIC column:
Seems like the goaltending issues are hitting early and hard this season. We have goalies who made late entrances, some whose teams wished they had made late entrances, and some who are coming and going so quickly that the pre-game notes are getting eraser marks.
We’ve headed to the portion of the preseason where the teams have sent down the kids to the OHL, and the "professional tryouts" are starting to look worried. Time to look in on some training camps and see how the goaltending situation is working out.