Ty Conklin Needs Potty Break but Still Wins Another Outdoor Game

In the spirit of the Winter Classic played outdoors today in Wrigley Field, I figured if Ty Conklin and Cristobal Huet could play in the freezing cold of Chicago I could at least write outside in the (relative) winter cold of northern California.

It wasn’t exactly the type of New Years classic put on by the Montreal Canadiens and Moscow Red Army in 1975 and it might take some time for it to become a warm memory for Huet but it was a lot of fun to watch.

Conklin makes a save with Wrigley's ivey-covered walls as a backdrop.

Conklin makes a save with Wrigley's ivy-covered walls as a backdrop.

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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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Goalie Shot of the Day

That’s a not a happy looking Chris Osgood.

Osgood Top Five Ever. No Joke!

My part-time attempts at writing a goalie blog simply cannot even be compared to the columns of veteran hockey writer Michael Farber so rather than expand upon his article about Chris Osgood I’m just going to send you to his Sports Illustrated column.

But first I do have to explain the title of this post. Osgood currently ranks 15th in all-time career wins, and 4th amongst active goalies. I had no idea! Barring a career-ending injury (Osgood is 35 years old) it is completely reasonable for Osgood to move from his current number of 363 wins to 447, the number of wins by Terry Sawchuk who sits 5th on the career list. A spot in the top 10 feels like a lock (knock on wood Ozzie).

See the complete list of career wins here and read Farber’s column here. And as indicated by the photo, hi-five to Osgood for his silent and humble climb up the list of the NHL’s top goalies.