The sky is falling in Toronto and Vancouver, and things are not much better in the rest of Canada for that matter. The fans in Toronto are clamouring for coach Ron Wilson to make Swedish rookie Jonas Gustavsson the starter after two lackluster performances by Vesa Toskala. In Vancouver the Stanley Cup parade plans have been shelved after Roberto Luongo and the Canucks have not only opened the season 0-3 but have looked terrible in doing so.
To top it all off, Martin Brodeur and Cam Ward (two of the other four goalies, in addition to Luongo, who were invited to Canada’s Olympic camp this summer) have started their respective seasons at 0-2 each. The three of them are sporting GAA’s that look more like inflated baseball ERA’s (4.56, 4.04 and 4.06 respectively).
Since it’s already October 6th and the season is fast approaching the one-week mark it’s clearly time for fans, coaches and GM’s to panic.
One of the downsides of the emergence of the super goalie (60-70 starts per year) is all of a team’s goaltending eggs are placed in one basket, with either a no-name backup or a youngster who’s on his way up but needs seasoning. Quick, name two of the three backups for Luongo, Brodeur and Ward! You probably can’t do it, so when they falter the sky starts to fall.
The only championship won in October is in baseball. The hockey season is long and fans with high blood pressure would do well to remember that. As Toskala wryly responded when asked if he’s ready to panic, “Always, there’s always room for panicking [in Toronto].
And if that type of even-keeled demeanor isn’t enough to sooth the frayed nerves of Canadian hockey fans, take solace in the quick starts by Steve Mason and Marc-Andre Fleury (the other two goalies at Canada’s Olympic camp) who are both 2-0 with save percentages above .950. The sky might be falling but it still has a long way to go before we start running around like Chicken Little.
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