Blank Stare

Justin Goldman




In just three frenzied days of action, five goalies have walked away with two-game winning streaks, including Craig Anderson, Miikka Kiprusoff, Ray Emery, Marc-Andre Fleury and Carey Price. And unless you watched all 23 games so far, you probably resorted to box scores and recaps to see how your goalies fared. But since they don't tell the whole story on a goalie's performance, you might be wondering where to go from here.


As is customary after the first few days of the season, many managers will see negative results and start hitting the panic button way too soon. Yes, some of you might just be "extremely active" and love tossing out trade offers right off the bat, but others simply show a lack of patience. Others have even allowed doubt to creep into their minds about the goalies they drafted, thus struggling to choose whether or not they should be started on a consistent basis or not.


But if you're smart, you'll look at the results over the last three days with nothing more than a blank eye stare.


Whether you suffered from Nikolai Khabibulin's blunder with the puck in Edmonton, or Jon Quick and Mike Smith's six-goal letdown, it's really no big deal. It's only natural that a handful of solid starters will struggle early in the season. Even two of the best – Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo – have allowed more goals than anyone expected. And in a game where nobody is exempt from early season struggles, you're better off expecting the worst.


But there are a few rules that nature lives by, no matter how chaotic things may seem. For example, veterans are more prone to starting off slow than young rookies or sophomores. Don't panic with guys like Chris Osgood, Tomas Vokoun and Brodeur. They have been around the block a few times and know how to rebound after a bad game. If you doubt them this early in the season, you'll end up benching them in games where they perform just fine and it will end up costing you valuable points.


How many managers started Evgeni Nabokov against the Avalanche, saw how much he struggled in that game, then benched him against the Ducks with the mindset that he was going to lose two in a row? Probably more than you think. This just goes to show that you need to play your stud goalies with confidence, regardless of the previous game's result. This isn't always the case, but to start the season, you have to roll with skill, talent and experience.


So pay attention to the ten goalies below as I extract the truth behind their start to the season. Honestly, all of it is no big deal. Remember what I have said for two years – base decisions on a sampling of 4-5 games, not just one or two.