Maybe they are a legend and have performed well year after year.
Maybe they have had recent success and have added some trophies to their mantle.
Or maybe they just signed on the dotted line of a very big contract.
This year we have one of each and for whatever reason, they all stumbled out of the gate. For “The Legend” it was something we were really not used to seeing, the “Trophy Winner” suddenly seemed to forget how to stop the puck, and “The Contract Signer”…well…let’s just say his troubles were humangus big. However they seem to have turned things around for the better.
The Legend: Martin Brodeur
Turning Point: All-Star Break
Early on this season the man with more wins than any goalie in history was looking bad. He had four games that saw him allow 4 or more (two of which he allowed 6) and he was pulled 3 times in a 14 game span. It seemed as though the collective hockey world had one message for Marty: maybe it was time to hang them up…Marty disagreed. The rest at the break must have done him well because he won his first four starts (the last of which he picked up his first shutout of the season) and had 8 wins in 9 games. Before last night’s loss he had won three straight while allowing just a single goal in each.
The Trophy Winner: Ryan Miller
Turning Point: January 24
No elite goaltender struggled early on in the season as much as Ryan Miller. Eight different games saw the 2010 Vezina trophy winner (and Olympic MVP) allow 4 or more goals and there was talk of “My Name is Jhonas” Enroth actually taking over the number 1 spot. Some blamed his concussion after being hammered by Milan Lucic, other just say that the Sabres struggles took their toll, either way it was ugly. Miller was not even in the top 30 in most goaltending statistics (except losses!). On January 24th, something just clicked. He started with 2 wins that saw him allow just a single goal, then followed that up with 2 shutouts in 3 games. He picked up back to back shutouts in late February/early March and suddenly he tied his career high in that department with 5. He is also a huge reason that the Sabres are actually in the playoff hunt as they have won 14 of his 21 starts since that date.
The Contract Signer: Ilya Bryzgalov
Turning Point: February 28th
The low point of 51 million dollar goaltender’s season had to be the day after New Year’s. He had been getting a lot of attention in the hockey world because of his amazing rants about crazy things like the universe, huskies and tigers on HBO’s 24/7. However he was struggling on the ice and in the biggest game of the year for Philly, he was on the bench with his “turmous”. Then came February 28th. Even though the Flyers lost to the Sharks that day, he allowed just a single goal. He has followed that up with 6 incredible games that has seen him allow just 5 goals, pick up 4 shutouts, and is currently riding a streak of three goose eggs in a row. Clearly the hottest goalie in hockey right now.
It’s far too late for any of these goaltenders to look at the season as a total success, but they are actually peaking at a pretty good time. There is a possibility that all three of these guys will be between the pipes come playoff time and I’m pretty sure most scorers will not look forward to it.
Let’s head to the links
Holy crap Steven Stamkos is good (Pro Hockey Talk)
Looks like Hybrid icing is gonna happen (ESPN)
Will anyone ever break Larry Robinson’s career plus/minus number? (Dirty Dangle)
Shanaban went to work again, this time it’s Tyler Myers (NHL)
Speaking of Shanahan, Days of Y’Orr thinks he may be a little obsessed with Brad Marchand
Puck Daddy takes a look at how Ken Hitchcock shifted the Blues into Championship gear
So Sid returns to the ice tomorrow, so we need an update from good old Dr Recchi (The Province)
Down Goes Brown takes a look at the 8 favs to win the Stanley Cup
On the Forcheck takes a look at three reasons why Alexander Radulov will or won’t succeed in an NHL return.
and let’s take a look at number 50 for Stamkos