Satisfaction Not Guaranteed

Justin Goldman

2008-11-03

 ward

 

There’s no denying it, the increase in scoring to start the season has numerous goalies melting under the glow of the red light. Even when they put together a tremendous game, they are still allowing close to an average of three goals, sometimes four or five. But despite this period of inflation for save percentages and goals against averages, there are still plenty of admirable performances and performers to be found. But now they’re just more spread out and somewhat elusive. 

 

Come on, Dobber is right; scoring will most definitely start tapering off soon…like it usually does. But I really believe this rise in scoring is going to be sustained for longer than usual. In order to see why this might be the care, don’t just look the simple fact that scoring is up TO START THE SEASON – look about how the goals are being scored and why it’s happening.

The source for all of this is fairly simple on the surface. More plays are being converted off of rebounds, third and fourth chances and goal-mouth scrambles. There’s also much more traffic around the net and plenty of screens right in front of goalies. Combined with the institutionalized changes and restrictions in leg pads and gloves, those tiny holes are not just a little bit bigger, they’re staying open for just a split second longer.

Because of this, many starting goalies are not playing to their true potential. And since we all know that consistency is something that is rewarded, it’s only natural that more coaches are calling upon the backup, sometimes much earlier in the season than they wanted, sometimes out of frustration, sometimes out of desperation.

It kills two birds with one stone as well, because it pushes the starter to play better in an attempt to secure their status. If they still don’t straighten up, then it’s even more playing time for the backup. In fact, one could argue that how goalies react to their workload and limited opportunities is more important right now than any other time in the post-lockout era. But no matter which way you slice it, there’s still no satisfaction guarantee.

Tobias Stephan played admirably well for Dallas in a 4-2 win against Minnesota on Wednesday and then suffered a loss in Chicago, but even with the loss, he did a much better job of giving the Stars a chance to win than Marty Turco has in his losses. Stephan's game ultimately didn’t do much to stop Turco’s bleeding, however, as Turco was lit up by the Bruins in a 5-1 loss, a game in which he only made 20 saves.

Michael Leighton’s solid two-game