Surprising absolutely no one in the hockey world, Ray Emery and Dan Cloutier were placed on waivers today by the Ottawa Senators and LA Kings, respectively. If the goalies are not picked up then each team can buyout the remainder of their contracts, making them unrestricted free agents.
Sens GM Bryan Murray was generous in disminssing Emery by saying that one day he will get his game turned around and be a good goalie for someone. Generous, but still a final slap to Emery after a very unsuccesful and turmoil-filled year for Emery, or as he put it himself “the worst year I’ve had – on and off the ice – it just wasn’t enjoyable at all. I learned a lot of things but that’s about it – not too many positives.” Continue reading
Tonight in Toronto the NHL will host its annual award ceremony (viewable on NHL Network in the US). One goalie award is already known as Dominik Hasek and Chris Osgood will share the Jennings Trophy for best goals against average. The real goalie award is the Vezina, which will go to Martin Brodeur, Henrik Lundqvist or Evgeni Nabokov. For Brodeur a win would be his fourth (in five seasons); for Lundqvist or Nabokov it would be their first. As with any subjective award there are two ways to predict the winner… who should win it and who will win it.
How about a quick look at their statistics for the season (I’ve included playoff success even though the award is voted upon at the end of the regular season):
77 GP, 44 Wins, 4 SO, 2.17 GAA, .920 SV% and a first round playoff loss
72 GP, 37 Wins, 10 SO, 2.23 GAA, .912 SV% and a second round playoff loss
77 GP, 46 Wins, 6 SO, 2.14 GAA, .910 SV% and a second round playoff loss
Gary Bettman has decreed that goalie equipment is (still) too big. Bettman has become a whipping boy for fans in every city (have you ever seen him cheered when he comes out to present the Stanley Cup?) and even though I strongly disagree with his insistence that home teams wear road jerseys I do agree with him on goalie equipment. I suppose I should automatically disagree because I’m a goalie but he’s right.
Take a look at Henrik Lunqvist’s pads… they’re so big they’re protecting each other! I’m 6′ tall and wear 34″ pads so how does a 6’1″ keeper need 38″ pads? Yes, players today shoot exponentially harder than they did just 20 years ago when everyone was using a wooden shaft. The increased velocity of shots today is similar to the increased velocity of tennis serves when comparing wooden racquets to today’s composite ones. So today’s NHL goalies need better protection than ever before. But “better” is not the same as “more”.
ESPN’s John Buccigross has campaigned for larger nets in order to increase scoring. There’s not a goalie in the world who will support that idea… from the looks of this protype I forsee a lot of shots at my head! Not to mention where I’ll put my water bottle. So the onus will be on the Goalie’s Union to support smaller equipment as its contribution to increased scoring. There’s no reason for equipment to make a save, it should just protect the body part that is making the save.
My job here at TendersLounge is not to break news (I can’t compete with ESPN for that) but to comment on how it affects the world of goalies. Today the goalie world loses one of the best there’s ever been (I’m not eulogizing him, he is still alive!) as Dominik Hasek has retired from the NHL.
He is the only goalie to win the league MVP award twice. He has six Vezina trophies. He’s won the Stanley Cup twice. He was one half of the most infamous goal in recent NHL history and part of one of the most famous games in recent Olympic history. He finished his career with the highest save percentage ever.
All of those accomplishments might not even cover his biggest accomplishment and that was changing the way the position was played. You may not have been able to call it a style, but he changed the game none-the-less. Call it the ‘Hasek style of goaltending’. Call it the “stop-the-puck-with-any-part-of-your-body style”. Or as MasterCard so eloquently put it years ago, “having a slinky for a spine… priceless”.
The much-maligned and often-questioned Chris Osgood delivered another strong performance and led the Detroit Red Wings to a six-game Stanley Cup victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Osgood is finally starting to receive some of the overdue respect that is clearly due to him. But really, how could hockey writers possibly say anything negative about him now, even if they wanted to? Pretty easily apparently! In his on-ice interview before the Cup was presented, NBC’s Pierre McGuire started off by pointing out (again) that Osgood was supposed to be a backup and after acknowledging the obvious, i.e. that Osgood was now a Cup-winning starter, McGuire increduously asked “how did that happen?”