Sunday, March 22, 2009

On Goalies

I had mentioned previously I didn't want to see Carey Price start another game this season. He looked distracted, slow, and beaten down. Halak on the other hand, was supposed to have all this energy, all this "never mind the bulls---, just stop the puck" attitude.

Last night Halak was a big part of the problem; stunning incompetence. It doesn't matter if its rolling, if its 1/2 screened, if its a power-play; the goalie has to stop them.

Luckily, I am sure that both Halak and Price know this, and stayed up all night with some aweful goalie nightmares. I say luckily, because it means they know they did wrong, and they know they can do better.

Good defence can make a goalie look better than he is: like Chris Osgood in Detroit, or Tim Thomas in Boston. If a team can limit the shots to the outside, make every shooter rushed, take away the rush, and clear the rebounds, then the goalie's job is a lot easier.

By the same token, a good goalie can make a team look better than it is: big saves and steady play have a way of driving a lazy centerman to do better. Timely saves can provide the confidence for the team to do better -- this is what Roy was about, what Brodeur is about, Hasek, and even Jose Theodore when he won the MVP. Ok, sure, even Belfour. A steady goalie can make a team better -- ask Columbus.

So where do Price and Halak stand? Well, they are doing neither. They aren't controlling the game, making "saves they shouldn't" and pushing the forward's play. The defence is making it tough for them out there, no doubt, but 15 minutes of goaltending isn't gonna win the game either. Its broken at both ends.

Price is gonna be a great goalie, I still think. He proved it at the end of last year, and he proved it at the beginning of this year. However, he seems to crack under pressure; and hasn't shown the ability to take control of a game. I'm not sure how you teach that either -- but if Rollie Melanson can get this kid to start being prepared for "the next shot, no matter what happend on the last shot," then Carey will be in good shape. By the way, this is more difficult than it sounds; because over-anticipating is one of the biggest problems a goalie can have.

Halak is a little too wild -- kinda like Tim Thomas. Tim is having a great year; he obviously worked really hard in the off-season on his athleticism. But he spits out rebounds like a broken slot machine coughs out change. Halak is a bit the same; making the save is one thing, and it's good, but top-tier goaltenders will know how to settle a game down. You can't bury every shot (well, maybe Belfour could) but there is no reason to be giving up 3 shots for every one on net.

Craig Simpson of CBC's hockey Night, despite driving me nuts last night with some of his commentary, really made a good point how there is no veteran goalie presence in the dressing room to help out these young goalies. I think Price was really doing well with Huet there as someone to look back to when things were going poorly. I think Bob Gainey is actually a pretty good GM, but I didn't like the Huet move. And I still don't -- but nothing to be done about it now.

Price is gonna be good again. Halak will most likely rebound aswell; but maybe one of them should go to bring in some proper mentorship. They both need to learn what it takes to be a leader, and how to bounce back from bad situations; and Rollie can't teach that -- but veterans can demonstrate it.

As far as who should start? Well, both goalies are broken, and the team is broken, so... I think Kyle Roussel pointed out bringing Marc Denis from Hamilton up would be the best solution, and I agree; but both these goalies would get pulled off waivers no doubt. So someone needs an injury.

Take one for the team boys, slam a door on your finger.

1 comment:

  1. I think you are right, the Habs really need a veteran presence in goal as a backup. Cannot really think of a case where you had 2 young guys and it worked out well for the team. Maybe you guys can have Kolzig or Gerber after the season is done from the Leafs haha :) Manny Legace could be had in the offseason, he has been around, might be a nice addition since he is out with Mason emerging in St Louis, unless St Louis is thinking the same thing.
    Love the Belfour nods!