Kukla's Korner

Goal Line Report

A Common Theme This Season: Goaltending Controversies

This is something that seems to come up every season in the National Hockey League.

This season, however, it is something that is running rampant among NHL clubs, particularly the Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks.

Philadelphia Flyers

When is there ever not a goaltending controversy with the Philadelphia Flyers?

This has been the norm for the past decade or so and as such, is running its natural course this season. This year, it is between Ilya Brzygalov and Sergei Bobrovsky.

The Flyers signed Bryzgalov to a 9-year pact over the off-season and thus far, the team has yet to see any real reward. In 33 games, the 31-year-old goaltender is 18-10-4 with a 2.99 goals against average (GAA), a .895 save percentage and 1 shutout, which are numbers that are far below what Bryzgalov posted with the Phoenix Coyotes.

The team’s back-up, Bobrovsky, has performed slightly better and has been more consistent thus far. “Bob” is 11-4-1 with a 2.42 GAA and a .919 save percentage in 18 games.

It seems like Bobrovsky should be the main man instead of Brzygalov, right?

Toronto Maple Leafs

Coming into the 2011-12 NHL campaign, it appeared that the Toronto Maple Leafs would be set in goal with James Reimer.

Unfortunately for the Leafs, that has not turned out to be the case this season. Reimer suffered a concussion early on in the season and since then, the Leafs have utilized both Reimer and Jonas Gustavsson between the pipes this season.

Reimer has started 18 games for the Leafs this season and has gone 7-5-4-1 with a 3.01 GAA, a .899 save percentage and 1 shutout. He has not played with the same swagger and confidence he had last season and looks more vulnerable between the pipes this season.

Meanwhile, Gustavsson is 16-10 with a 2.73 GAA, a .910 save percentage and 3 shutouts. He has recently been in between the pipes a lot for the Leafs as Reimer struggles to find the form that made him successful last season.

The Leafs better hope either Reimer or Gustavsson gets hot if they want to make the playoffs this season.

Chicago Blackhawks

Another Original Six franchise that has yet to have consistency between the pipes is the Chicago Blackhawks.

After having a great season last year, Corey Crawford has been up and down this season. While Crawford has a solid record at 18-12-4, his GAA (2.86) and save percentage (.902) are not where a starting goaltender’s numbers should be.

Back-up Ray Emery has played well for the Blackhawks this season. He has gone 11-3-2 with a 2.57 GAA and a .907 save percentage.

Will Crawford get hot in the second half of the season like he did last year or will the Blackhawks end up relying on Emery?

It should be an interesting second half of the season for these three hockey clubs and their goaltending, eh? What are your thoughts?

Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, corey+crawford, ilya+bryzgalov, james+reimer, jonas+gustavsson, philadelphia+flyers, ray+emery, sergei+bobrovsky, toronto+maple+leafs


Vince Maranto's avatar

The great thing about Coach Q is that he never really lets it get to where it’s a controversy.  We’ve seen this in the past. Huet / Niemi, and Turco/ Crawford, in just the last 2 seasons. He doesn’t care who’s making how much money, he’ll play the better of the two. He has used Emery when Crawford looked bad and I’m sure he will continue to do so. Should Crawford not make a big move in the second half, look for Emery to get several starts in a row. Neither goalie, however,  has shown the ability to steal a game so far this season. The Hawks are still the only NHL team, this season, not to shut anyone out.

Posted by Vince Maranto on 01/28/12 at 04:49 PM ET

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About Goal Line Report

Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.

Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.

For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com.

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