Lookin' good, Holts (flickr.com/bridgetds)
It’s my personal favorite day: goalie day! I love goaltenders, netminders, puckstoppers, creasekeepers, tendies, and every other bizarre synonym you’ve got.
And just my luck, there’s so much to yap about. Let’s start with the good guys (somewhere along the line this switched from “know thy enemy” to my favorite tag on this blog, “goalie blather”):
Tomas Vokoun: He’s going to be outsies for the rest of the season, even if he’s playing coy about it. Anyone saying anything else is being optimistic, or, as I like to think of it, an idiot.
Michal Neuvirth: He’s been called “inconclusive” and reports are only willing to count him out for a few days at a time, but I think it’s clear he won’t be around for at least this series, and I’m skeptical about the rest of the playoffs. Have you ever had a 200-pound Bavarian on top of you? Oh, uh… me neither.
Braden Holtby: Now we’re talking. Like Neuvy before him, and Varly before him, we’re starting a rank amateur in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That’s good Capitals tradition right there. Although if we’re going to be truly honest, it’s less “rank amateur” and more “guy rocking a .922 SV% and 2.49 GAA through an admittedly small sample size, who has shown himself to be a standout at the AHL level and more than capable of holding his own in the NHL.” Still, he’s just one guy. If he gets injured…
Dany Sabourin: DESASTRE IMMINENTE
(His playoff experience involves going in after Luongo was pulled on two separate occasions, both losses. Hooray!)
No clue what we’re supposed to do if Holts and/or Sabs goes down. In the long-standing tradition of using random members of the front office, we’ve been playing the Director of Media Relations Sergey Kocharov in net during practice because they want me to have a heart attack.
So how are thing’s doing for the men in the black hats?
Tim Thomas: Everyone’s favorite Libertarian is ready and rarin’ for the playoffs, though he abruptly shut down his latest presser when asked about the White House incident. Now everyone wants Obama to get seats behind the net for games 3 and 4 (but he won’t, because he hates hockey and refuses to go to any Caps games). New plan: wave Obama-head signs at him, or wear bank stick-up-style Obama masks. Look how big the government’s gotten now!
Oh yeah, and he went 35-19-1 with a .920SV% and 2.36 GAA yada yada yada. Just because he’s great doesn’t mean he’s not also crazy.
Tuukka Rask: Still out, according to my professor. The most up-to-date Bruins source!
Anton Khudobin: To be honest, I have no clue who this guy is. I only heard about him because I saw a headline on NHL.com saying “Khudo-win!” which is a pretty awful sign for us. He is 1-0-0 with a .978 SV% and 1.00 GAA, which is a long-winded way of saying SAMPLE SIZE.
Marty Turco: He’s not eligible to play in the playoffs. I just wanted to remind you he was on the Bruins for about twenty minutes this season so we can all laugh together!
I would give them the edge in goaltending, but not as much of an edge as they think they have. Unlike most other things, I have faith in Holtby. He’s a neurotic and superstitious young cuss but he’s 14-4-3 in the NHL with a .922 SV% and 2.02 GAA. He’s intensely focused, even-keeled, and dependable when the chips are down. He lavishly complimented NHL refs, which will surely buy him a call or two. He also went drinking with Stretch Leonhardt and Mike Vogel when he was 19, which is naughty but also reasonably funny. Don’t let me down, Holts.
For more goalie infos, check out the Goalie Guild and his depth charts, because he’s the best in the biz and also I have a secret crush on him. And as always, A Cup A Bruin has all the perspective I lack.
Tomorrow: a playoff bracket that was written while I listened to “The Best of The Smiths” on repeat!