The Oppressed Shall Rise Again

Justin Goldman

2008-11-17

 budaj

 

When it all comes crashing down, the only thing left to do is build it back up again. Such is the life of many NHL goalies dealing with their play this season and such is the life of dealing with your own fantasy goalie tandems. The combination of streaky, volatile and inconsistent play is still rampant, so regardless of whether it stems mainly from team play, bad coaching or the goaltender himself, it’s not going away anytime soon.

 

Honestly, the best thing you can do in this chaotic landscape is to stand firm and keep your restless fingers away from the trade trigger. Don’t seek a change every week and don’t lose faith in your original choices. In a league laden with incredible athletes, the struggling goalies that truly have the talent and mental toughness will rise again and return to their original form.

Credit goes to all the Marty Turco owners that stuck with him, as the wretched start to his season looks more and more like a thing of the past. A big part of this is due to Sergei Zubov and Jere Lehtinen’s return, as that instantly makes Dallas a more responsible team defensively. In fact, Lehtinen is known as one of the best defensive forwards in the last decade and everyone knows what value Zubov has on the blueline, so it’s a confidence booster that not only Turco cherishes, but the entire team harvests.

Turco has allowed two goals against in four of his last five games and after making 25 saves against a high-flying Kings team in a 3-2 win on Saturday, all it should take is a few more wins to regain last season’s form. The same goes for the entire Stars team, as this momentum is exactly what they need to get things rolling. Turco’s save at the end of the Kings game was incredible for a kick save at that angle, and with Dallas keeping their shots under 30, his 3.57 GAA and .870 save percentage has nothing left to do but improve.

Jose Theodore was buried alive in a wretched start in Washington and that led to Brent Johnson taking over the crease. But a mild injury turned it all around, as Theodore came in relief for Johnson and made 13 straight saves against the Hurricanes back on Wednesday. He carried that momentum into practice on Thursday and Friday and then made 31 saves in a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils Friday night.

That led to a second consecutive start on Saturday against the Devils, but obviously he didn’t have the same type of successful as Friday’s game. He allowed five goals on 33 shots including the shootout goals against, but despite the letdown, he did make a number of highlight-reel saves and battled through the numerous Devils scoring chances. So even Theodore was able to rise up again in less than 40 minutes of playing time, as the Hurricanes game allowed him to develop a positive atmosphere and re-gain his confidence.

Atlanta was a team I deemed a potential goalie controversy last week and with Kari Lehtonen’s ‘Band-Aid Boy’ status now a legitimate addition to Dobber’s list, look at what has transpired over the last week. First it was the flu, now it’s a sore back. His last game was way back on Oct. 30 and since then it has been the combination of Ondrej Pavelec and Johan Hedberg leading the Thrashers to an impressive five-game winning streak.

As I watched Hedberg closer than in the past, I noticed he has a skating style very similar to Turco. They are both small in stature with very strong legs and a low center of gravity, allowing them excellent lateral mobility with the strength to stay anchored in the net. Even though they are