by PuckStopsHere on 11/16/08 at 08:11 AM ET
The Calgary Flames are not having a particularly bad season. They currently have a 9-9 record (with one regulation tie point). This is not a particularly good season either. If the season ended now, they would hold down the eighth and final playoff spot in the west. The main reason they have been held back is goaltending.
Miikka Kiprusoff has proven himself to be an elite goalie in the past. He won the Vezina Trophy in 2005/06. He was a nominee for the Vezina in 2003/04 and 2006/07. Since then, he has not been an elite goaltender. Last year his goals against average grew to 2.69 and his saves percentage dropped to .906. This made him an average NHL starter. So far this season, he has a 3.49 GAA and a .885 saves percentage. Those numbers just won’t do.
Despite those numbers, he has played almost every minute of the season for Calgary. The Flames have so little faith in Curtis McElhinney, their backup goalie that he hasn’t played much at all despite sub-par performances from Kiprusoff. If McElhinney is not considered good enough to play in these circumstances then what good is he? Shouldn’t Calgary find a backup goalie that they have enough faith to play ... ever?
That alone will not solve the problem. Calgary needs good goaltending. The most likely place that they will get it is Kiprusoff. He has provided it before. It is reasonable to expect he can do it again.
The current goaltending situation is not working. Kiprusoff is playing poorly and there is no backup considered worth playing. Both of those situations much change or Calgary will be in for a long season.
NOTE: The first comment seems to imply that I think McElhinney has not played at all. He has two games played. One game started. That is not ´playing much. When Kiprusoff is not playing well, a team should have faith in their backup to play him more than this.
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