Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Dispatches from the East

Chris Selley talks goaltending:
So sorry, but a goaltender cannot "save" his team while giving up two soft goals. He just can't. You can't save someone from a crisis that you yourself created — all you can do is salvage a little bit of redemption, and Belfour didn't even do that. What he did was bank one solid period and then put it in the tank. Despite Leafs fans' unfailing willingness to climb inside their goaltender's head for in search of forgiveness — he was screened, it was a rolling puck, why the hell did Berg put his stick out?, he was distracted by a flashbulb, that was goalie interference!, well maybe if we had a Canadian captain he wouldn't have to make those saves, etc. — the fact remains that Edward Belfour's job is to stop all the routine shots and a huge majority of the "unstoppable" ones. These days, it's not happening. I like Belfour, and I know he starts slow, but the facts are the facts.

My emphasis, as one of my biggest pet peeves in hockey coverage is the old, "if it hadn't been for Kipper [or Cujo, Jussi, Theodore, whoever], the game would have been over in the 1st period". I understand commending a goalie for good performance when his team is outshot and outchanced, but I wish hockey writers (& broadcasters) would resist this compulsion to describe it as if the alternative was a Shooter Tutor. (The Meatriarchy is no more impressed with Belfour lately than Selley is.)

Chris also takes a crack at an elusive and controversial subject in another post: depth. Ask ten hockey pundits and get ten different definitions. I quite liked this graf:
[Janne Niinimaa would] just be another log in the jam, another medium-name non-Canadian defenseman brought to Toronto on reputation alone as the latest sink for the disappointment of the Leaf Nation, which among many other feats of imbecility is capable of simultaneously demanding the veteran blue line presence of men it has never seen play hockey and kvetching that its beloved team never develops any of its own talent.

Read the whole thing.

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