2010 Winter Olympic Goalie Preview – USA

Tenders Lounge is taking an early look at the potential goalie lineups for the 2010 Winter Olympic hockey tournament in Vancouver.  The first segment of the series reviewed Team Canada, a team that many assumed had their two goalies lined up but after some playoff surprises could be making some changes.  This segment looks at Team USA who, for a refreshing change, will be looking anywhere but the crease for potential weaknesses to correct.

Tim Thomas is a lock for one of the two spots on Team USA and gives them the type of goaltending that can steal a game from Canada or Russia. Playing on NHL-sized ice will help Thomas-the-scrambler.

Tim Thomas is a lock for one of the two spots on Team USA and gives them the type of goaltending that can steal a game from Canada or Russia. Playing on NHL-sized ice will help Thomas, who's style is rarely as quiet as this reflective moment.

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Save of the Year?

Or is it this:

I think you have to give it to Tim Thomas since A) his came in the regular season and B) it undoubtedly preserved a shutout for him.  You could even add bonus points for doing it on the road and causing so much grief to the Devils fans who were out of their seats celebrating what they thought was the go-ahead goal.

2008 Has Been Year of the “Backup”

Marc-Andre Fleury returned to the Pittsburgh net tonight for the first time since injuring his groin a month ago, just one of many highly-paid #1 goalies who have missed significant playing time this season therefore thrusting his respective backup into a starting (and sometimes “starring”) role.  What’s significant about that?  Well for starters, never before has there been such a huge disparity between the salaries of A-level goalies vs. everyone else.   Until this past week Danny Saborin has kept the Penguins in each of their games compiling a 6-6-1 record with a .911 SV%.  Are those the numbers of a number one?  Not really, but the Pens have remained within striking distance of the Rangers and Flyers which is exactly what teams should expect from backups, i.e. give them a chance to win when the number one is out.  For 1/10th the cost ($512k vs. $5M for Fleury) Saborin did his job.  Here’s a look at some of the other backups finding themselves with a chance to play in the limelight this seaon.

Tim Thomas shooting for the number one position.

Tim Thomas shooting for the number one position.

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Manny Fernandez Goes to Summer School

When your year is a failure you don’t wait until the following September to do something about it, you go to summer school.  Last season was a complete failure for Manny Fernandez after being traded to the Bruins, so he’s participating in the Bruins’ rookie camp to ensure he’s ready this fall.

Not only has Fernandez suffered from back pain in the past but last season was ended after just 4 games when the decision was made to properly fix his injured left knee.  (Because of his short season it was tough to find a photo of him in Bruins gear)  He was expected to come into Boston and take over the starter role but that was eventually won by Tim Thomas.  After being considered a career minor leaguer you know that Thomas will be fighting hard to hold onto that starting spot come October. 

While in Minnesota, Fernandez was not shy about sharing his feelings on platooning with Dwayne Roloson so it should be interesting to see the personal dynamics in the Bruins’ crease this season.  Will Fernandez rebound play like a starter?  Will Thomas continue to be one of the top ranked goalies in the league?  If the answer to both questions is ‘yes’ then how does coach Claude Julien manage the situation?  Platoon them?  My guess is after what could have been career-ending surgery Fernandez will be a little more open to the idea of sharing the net in Boston than he was in Minnesota.

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