So I have to admit it. I don’t really want to talk about this one. So why am I? Well our executive producer Candace has told me to! Apparently it’s the hot topic in the chat on Joe TwoFour broadcasts. Fine! Want my two cents? Here it goes…
It’s not that I have no opinion or that I feel the starting goalie position isn’t important, it’s just a question that you can’t answer with any short term observations. It’s very common (unless your last name is Brodeur or Roy) for most goalies only to come into their prime in their late 20’s or early 30’s. Don’t believe me? Well then, let’s take a little trip down memory lane…
Anyone remember Dominik Hasek? Say what you want about his later career, but the guy did win six Vezina trophies, two Hart trophies, was the first European-born goalie to win the Stanley Cup and if you’re old enough to remember the Nagano Olympics, you sure as hell can recall him stoning team Canada on his way to leading the Czechs to the gold medal.
So when did he get his start? Well, he was drafted by the Blackhawks in 1983 and of course because he is one of the greatest goalies of his generation they put him in the lineup – seven fucking years later! He must have been a starter by that point, right? Nope… he backed up Eddie Belfour for two seasons playing in only 25 games in that span.
Then came his big break as he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres…. and you guessed it, he was still a backup. Finally in the 93-94 season (at the ripe old age of 28) he had the starting job for the Sabres and the rest is history. So for anyone counting, that’s 10 years from being drafted to being a starter.
Maybe you’d like some recent examples? How about some of the top netminders in the league right now…
Tim Thomas: Last year’s Vezina winner was drafted in 1994, his first NHL experience came in 2002 (four games). He got his first chance to be a starter in 2006. That’s 12 years from being drafted to starting.
Mikka Kiprusoff: This guy consistently plays 70+ games a year for Calgary. He was drafted in 1995, his first NHL experience came in 2000 where he was a backup for San Jose and then Calgary till 2005. 10 years after being drafted, he was starting and beginning to be considered a solid no.1 goalie.
Evgeni Nabokov: Drafted in 1994, first NHL game in 1999, starter in 2000. Six years from drafted to starting goalie.
Ryan Miller: Drafted in 1999, first NHL season as a starter 2005. Again, six years from being drafted to starting.
By the way, these last two were starting six years later but neither was the guy you could count on like they are now. For example, Nabokov was always fighting with Toskala for ice time until the last couple of seasons.
Now I’m not saying that it’s impossible to be good right off the bat. I’m sure we can all come up with a few examples of this. Marc Andre Fleury (won the cup last year at age 24) comes to mind. What I am saying is that if you’re not a the No.1 guy right away it’s not a big deal.
Ok… now let’s look at our boys:
Neither Price or Halak is “the guy” yet. I’m not saying they won’t be… just be fucking patient. So which one is the better bet at getting there? Nobody knows! I mean that, the coaches who work with both guys day in and day out couldn’t tell you. They’re not stupid, they’re just not psychic.
So for those of you who think you know because you watch the games, go fuck yourself. I’m serious, give yourself a little stress release before watching the games and stop trying to think you know everything.
Games are only a small percentage of the evaluation. The coaches are also factoring in the improvements made in practice, the overall work ethic of the players and the mental toughness they are developing. Information that us casual fans are not privy to.
The mental toughness is in my opinion the key factor at deciding on the future No. 1. Both goalies look at little sloppy at times. This has more to do with age than anything else. Which will grow up faster? Again: not pyschic (neither are you)
One of the newest viewpoints is that we should make a decision soon as to who’s the No. 1 goalie and trade the other one to upgrade in other areas. I’ve seen countless posts in our chat saying “Trade Price!” or “Trade Halak!”
I can’t either agree or disagree with these statements. Why? Because they’re not full statements! It all depends on how you finish your sentence, i.e. Trade Price for a bag of pucks = bad idea, Trade Price for Crosby = take the deal in a heartbeat.
Finish your sentences people…
Which player(s) are we getting in return?
What’s their hit to the salary cap?
Can we afford this or will it limit future transactions?
Is the new player’s contract long term or will they be a free agent soon?
Is this player going to be good for a long time? (i.e if he’s good but old as fuck it’s probably not a good long term deal)
AND (This is the big one….)
Will the other team be willing to make this deal?
Price for Crosby is a great idea but won’t happen unless the Penguins hire someone who is mentally challenged as their GM (or Mike Milburry). Habs fans seem to forget, if we see players not meeting expectations, so do the GMs of the other teams.
Why would they trade away a solid proven player for a goalie that nobody is sure about just yet? Unproven players with potential usually get traded for the same. Latendresse for Pouliot being the most recent example for Habs fans.
Unless a great deal falls from the sky, I say keep both, keep jerking off before games and let things develop in good time.