You can’t tell the players without a program! For some countries competing in the Olympic hockey tournament this will quite literally be true. So here it is, your viewing guide to Olympic goalies, 2010 edition. Listed by groups because, let’s face it, once group play is done you won’t hear about some of these teams/players for another four years.
Canada: It is often said that Canada could send a “B” team to the Olympics and have it compete for a medal. That would certainly be true from a goaltending perspective as the talent pool is deep. Martin Brodeur (New Jersey NHL) is having a record breaking season and has his Devils on top of the standings, so given his past Olympic credentials and success it’s almost impossible to put anyone else in the number one spot. Roberto Luongo (Vancouver NHL) and Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh NHL) should both get a chance to play a round-robin game but one of them would have to steal a win and Brodeur would have to play horribly to see anyone but Marty starting the quarter-final match. Continue reading
It’s one thing for Sean Avery to swing his stick or fists at an opposing goalie’s head. But even Avery wouldn’t swing at his own goalie! (he wouldn’t, would he?)
Tomas Surovoy (except for an obituary this should be the last you read of him) swung his stick at Jaroslav Halak’s head after the goalie gave up a goal in Slovakia’s game against the Czech Republic in the IIHF World Championship going on in Switzerland. Czech-Slovak games are tough enough without players turning on each other.
Watch Halak’s response after the swing. Either he is an incredibly easy going guy or he is just so stunned that he has no idea how to react. He probably thought it was a Czech player and was looking to his teammate for help! It may be tough playing in Montreal but at least there you only have to deal with the viciousness of your own fans.
And how about those announcers? Can someone who speaks Slovakian please translate for me? The tone in their voice sounds like they’re watching paint dry! Their goalie just took an axe chop to the head and they have the reaction of Eyore on a rainy day!
UPDATE: Apparently the broadcast is Finnish and not Slovakian. Would they have shown more emotion if it had been a Swedish goalie facing the axe?
Two years ago Canada beat Patrick Kane and the USA in the gold medal game of the IIHF World Junior Championship in a dramatic shootout. The game winning save was made by Carey Price. Three years ago Steve Mason led Canada to the gold. In 1999 Roberto Luogno carried the Canadian team on his back (sign of things to come?) but fell just short of the gold. In 2002 Henrik Lundqvist carried a weak Swedish team. Was there a Luongo, Lundqvist, Price or Mason in this year’s tournament?
Dustin Tokarski and Jacob Markstrom, top two goalies of this year's tournament
The two choices to potentially appear on the distinguished alumni list one day appear to be Canadian Dustin Tovarski and Swede Jacob Markstrom. Tovarski won MVP in the finals and Markstrom won MVG for the tournament.
When Carey Price needs a rest the Montreal Canadiens turn to Jaroslav Halak (although the way Halak has been playing the Habs might find a reason to rest Price more often). When Price is too sick to practice they turn to Canadian Olympic goalie Kim St. Pierre. I hope she made some of them hang their head in shame for “not being able to score on a girl”.
When I first read that Jaroslav Halak was starting game four in place of Carey Price my first reaction was to pat myself on the shoulder for one of my first posts in which I predicted Halak would be the first backup goalie to make a big impression in relief. (I’m not counting Chris Osgood taking over the Wings’ crease because he’s really a co-number-one, not a real backup).
Lucky for me I kept my fingers off the keyboard as Martin Biron (the true goaltending story of this year’s playoffs) won another game for his Flyers. Only in the lonely world of a blogger can one take solace in at least suggesting that Carey Price might not be able to carry the load but I guess that’s all I have right now. What do you think, can Habs’ goalie coach Rolie Melanson help Price bounce back and get the Habs back into this series or are we looking at a Keystone State conference final?
Remember John Druce? During the 1990 Stanley Cup playoffs he scored 14 goals in 16 games as the Capitals made it all the way to the conference finals (where they were swept by the B’s). Druce came off the bench, where he spent most of the regular season as a fourth liner collecting eight goals, to become the biggest steal in playoff pool history. I don’t know how or why my buddy Spud picked him in our pool but he sure let us know how smart he was when Druce delivered him the winner’s pot in our pool.
Who will be this year’s John Druce and will he be a goalie? In the ’83-’84 regular season Steve Penney played in (and lost) four games for the Canadiens. Rick Wamsley and Richard Sevigny split the crease that season and the Habs struggled to the last seed in the Wales Conference. Penney took over in the first round against the first place Bruins and led the Candiens to a three game sweep. Penney went on to win nine games in the ’84 playoffs as the Habs lost in the conference final to the defending Cup champion Islanders. My memory of those playoffs was the organist at the Forum playing “Pennies from Heaven” as their new hero led the march against their longtime rivals from Boston and their new provincial rival, les Nordiques. Continue reading