The Hockey News: Goalies Take Over

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In Zusammenarbeit mit The Hockey News (THN), der nordamerikansichen

Eishockey-Zeitung schlechthin, haben Hockeyweb Leser die Möglichkeit

die THN-Titelstory nachzulesen oder gleich ein Online-Abbonement zu

erwerben. Die aktuelle Ausgabe beschäftigt sich mit den starken

Leistungen einiger NHL-Keeper während den Playoffs:


Head: Goalies Take Over

By: Mark Brender, THN senior writer


Martin Brodeur, Miikka Kiprusoff, Manny

Legace, Ryan Miller and Marty Turco have one thing in common, and it has nothing

to do with a letter ‘M’ or an upgrade to the Kansas City Royals starting

rotation. Neither are they the new models for a one-size-fits-all hockey

undergarments line, nor the only NHL goalies who haven’t been run this year by

Ville Nieminen. No, these are survivors of a different sort.


Brodeur, Kiprusoff, Legace, Miller and

Turco are the only goalies who entered 2005-06 as their team’s No. 1 goalie and

retained the position through the first round of the playoffs, unquestioned and

uninterrupted.


That’s a mere five netminders out of 30

who managed to stay healthy, stay on the same team and retain the confidence of

their coach long enough to try to complete what they started in October. (Memo

to Roberto Luongo: Nobody really cares if you gave good goal on a non-playoff

team).


And after the opening round, following

lukewarm and/or losing performances by Kiprusoff, Turco and Legace, only Brodeur

and Miller were left standing.


It makes you wonder if the folks in

charge of scouting goalies and stamping the “No. 1” tag on the dressing room

stall actually know what they’re doing. All those pre-season goaltending

forecasts and scouting reports and best-laid plans mean nothing now; where

goaltending is concerned, the incumbent batting average entering Round 2 is a

pitiful .067.


It may not say much for the

predictability of post-season puck-stopping in the new NHL, but it speaks

volumes about the depth and quality of the next generation. Cam Ward, Ilya

Bryzgalov, Ray Emery, Vesa Toskala – who are these guys?


They’re the guys that are going to

decide the Stanley Cup, that’s who they are.


Incredibly, through the first round, six

of the top nine save percentages were posted by goalies who had never played a

single minute of an NHL playoff game prior to this season.


Even a stacked team like the Ottawa

Senators, for whom an inexperienced goalie might be considered the only weak

link – or so said Tampa coach John Tortorella – is prepared to stick with

playoff virgin Emery as long as they can, whether Dominik Hasek is healthy or

not.


According to Sens GM John Muckler, if

and when Hasek is ready, “You play Emery.”


“It’s not my decision, it’s going to be

the coach’s decision, but I imagine the way he’s playing, I don’t see why he

would change,” Muckler said. “That problem is a good problem to have, and you’re

going to deal with it when the time comes, but right now you’d have to say

Emery’s the guy. Why would you take him out?”


Muckler is right, Emery deserves the

chance to keep on rolling. But it doesn’t make the situation any less odd. When

was the last time a 23-year-old rookie with zero playoff experience got the nod

over a six-time Vezina Trophy winner, Stanley Cup champion and future Hall of

Famer?


That’s one of the early trends of the

2006 post-season, as a new generation of goalies elbows out the old guard.

Usually it’s the losing teams, the Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues of

the world, that can’t find stability in net. This year even winning teams have

gone through the goaltending carousel.


To read the rest of this story and other great features from the world of

hockey, you can buy this issue LINK