Ask any hockey fan and they are bound to tell you that one of their favorite parts of the game are the goalies. Either they love their goalie, they hate their goalie or the they love-to-hate their opponents’ goalies (everyone loves Bryzgalov. Not that many would like Bryz to be on their team). With the season coming to an end in a few weeks, let’s check up on one of the best, unusual, half insane parts of hockey: the goalies.
Boston Bruins: On the same night in the middle of February that Mackenzie Skapski had his NHL debut & first NHL win for the New York Rangers, Malcolm Subban’s (PK’s brother) debut didn’t go as well. The Boston Herald’s headline was “Malcolm Subban’s no Bruins savior” as he gave up 3 goals on the 6 shots he faced in 30 minutes, ruining Tuukka Rask’s night off. Rask either dropped his chair, threw it or it fell (depends on who you ask, of course) after he had appeared in 25 of the Bruins’ last 26 games at that time and assumed he wouldn’t be playing that night. However, in goalie fashion news, Subban debuted wearing his black goalie pads that were written about in the Boston Globe.
Buffalo Sabres: Anders Lindback was traded to the Buffalo Sabres for Jhonas Enroth (who had been in the Sabres system since the 2006 Draft) on Feb. 11th from the Dallas Stars. On March 2, his co-goalie, Michal Neuvirth was traded to the Islanders for Chad “every time I saw the Islanders this season why was it always…” Johnson (some say because Neuvy was winning too much as a Sabre and thus destroying the Sabres chances at tanking at the upcoming draft). Lindback has played for the Preds, Lightning, Stars and now Sabres in his 5 year NHL career that has seen him mainly used as a backup and occasionally the emergency starter. He was shutout on March 14th against the NY Rangers, but in his post-game on the Sabres website, he talks fondly about knowing Martin St. Louis’ moves and how he used to score a lot of goals in practice (when they were both in Tampa Bay).
Detroit Red Wings: After Jonas Gustavsson was injured against the Bruins on March 8th with a possible concussion, America’s Goalie (tm?) Jimmy Howard has been sharing duties with the Czech Republic’s Apology That The Last Youngblood Goalie Was Ondřej Pavelec (tm!) Petr Mrazek who had just recently returned to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins after three months of playing in the NHL due to both older goalies injuries during the All-Star Game and February of this year. On March 15, Mrazek & his team beat the imploding* Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 and he earned the 1st Star of the game. According to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press; Mrazek rarely lacks for confidence, but he admitted the win was sweeter because he’d been pulled the last time around.
“Last time I played here, I didn’t finish the game,” he said, “and that was my last game before I got sent down, so it’s nice to bounce back.”
* The Penguins drew 64 penalty minutes in one 60-minute game. Jordin Tootoo has 70 PIM over 55 games played this season.
Florida Panthers: Ah, the team that got me started with the idea of this series. Going into the game on March 3rd, Roberto Luongo was the main goalie and “You can call me” Alllllll Montoya was his backup for the Panthers. Lu got hurt in the first by a shot and went to the locker room where he was (dressed in his street clothes according to FOX Sports) when he heard that Montoya had injured his groin in the third period. Continuing from the FOX Sports article, some more madness; At one point, fourth-line center Derek MacKenzie left the ice to dress as the team’s emergency goalie, but he later returned in his normal gear. They were also trying to figure out if they could legally put the Panthers goaltending coach Robb Tallas in before Lu dressed again and finished the game for Montoya. Yeah. Then, the marketing department set up a “classic” Panthers promotion where a fan could be the backup for a Panthers practice! A few days later, they called up Dan Ellis, #DanEllisProblems, and Sam Britten, 22, from the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL and the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL respectively.
Montreal Canadiens: Carey Price is taking adorable selfies with young fans while on the ice and as of March 14th had led the league with a .936 save percentage and a 1.91 goals-against average. And during this year’s All-Star Game, he was fed by some fans while on the bench. Dustin Tokarski, his trusty backup for the last two years, has played 14 games and has a .913 save percentage AND a new mask with The Greatest Superhero Ever, The Tick on it.
Ottawa Senators: Would you believe that hamburgers were being thrown on the ice and it was a GOOD reason that the fans were throwing them? Andrew “The Hamburglar” Hammond is his name and he’s the reason the Sens are still in the playoff hunt. Craig Anderson had a hand injury that lasted from the end of January until the beginning of March and poor Robin Lehner (which might actually be his proper name) was injured February 16th when he got a concussion in a collision with a teammate. As of March 15th Hammond was 10-0-1, with a .955 save percentage and 1.39 goals-against average. To celebrate his win, a Sens fans threw a hamburger at him because hockey is great.
Tampa Bay Lightning: On Feb 1st, the Lightning broke my heart and waived Evgeni Nabokov (who I will never be able to write about because I would be as biased as Stan Fischler about my feelings) and called up Andrei Vasilevskiy. The 6’3” Russian has played in 13 games with a .918 save percentage with a goals against average of 2.35 and on March 3, he had his first NHL career shutout against the Sabres. And Ben Bishop is still tall (6’7”!!) and has a glow-in-the-dark mask which is pretty awesome.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Very early in the new year, James Reimer’s wife April launched a campaign to help stop cyberbullying after she was bullied during the Maple Leafs last-minute push to get into the playoffs last season. Even though this is from December, it’s still important for people to know about. Reimer’s backup is Jonathan Bernier who got all sorts of attention for not knowing who Nelson Mandela was. At a fundraiser. For Nelson Mandela’s legacy. As of March 15, the Maple Leafs were 27-37-6 and 2nd from the bottom (the Sabres are always there for you) in the Atlantic Division standings, which is not completely the fault of the goalies but if someone could figure out what was really wrong with Toronto and be able to fix it, they would become the new mayor and possibly the King of Eastern Canada…