No seriously, I’m really starting to get worried about all of the starts that Craig Anderson is getting. This guy gets… STARTS, by the way.
Now, I wanted to make sure I didn’t post this after a loss so I didn’t look all, “UHHHGRR, SEE, I DONE TOLD YOU IF YOU START HIM TOO MUCH THEY’D LOSE UHHHHGR” (That’s what I sound like when I speak for those of you who are curious about that). But then a bunch of losses happened and then I went to jail during the All Star break and then this post was just sitting there and here we are. Really good article so far? Really GREAT article so far. I really need to talk about my feelings, everyone…
Now, before I start I just want you to know that even though your mother and I will be sleeping on separate futons for the foreseeable future, we still love you as much as we did yesterday, MAYBE EVEN MORE and that further, I love this team and I would have written this if they won every game on that Jah forsaken road trip.
Look, this is a sporting goods team, I get it. You win some, you lose some, it was the pizza of times, it was the far less popular calzone of times. I am really enjoying all of this winning the Sens are doing this season, loving it all day and all night. Forgive old uncle Me for breaking out the same old story, but for fans of a team that was predicted nearly across the board to end up with a bottom 5 lottomax finish AT BEST, seeing Les Boys challenge for a place in the top neighborhood of the East has felt like one big ecstasy fueled weekend in Cabo San Lucas with Denis Potvin and his massive entourage.
So, that just about wraps it it up…yadda yadda yadda, it’s been a whirl of wind, I can put my arm back on, you can’t so play saf— wait, I didn’t get around to talking about anything yet…
As fun as all this winning (and only mild amounts of losing!) has been, is anyone else out there worried about the prospect of seeing Craig Anderson run out of fuel late in the season…no reason why I’m calling it ‘late in the season’, nope, not superstitious at all… *turns around 6 and a half times, says playoffs backwards and spits on two mirrors* anyway what was I saying? Oh, right, yes…
When Little Man Tate (I’m talking about Anderson here – no idea why I called him that, can we just get this weird nickname off the ground already? #littlemantate) came to town, word on the street was that he likes a lot of consecutive starts and as a Sens fan I thought, “Wait, don’t goalies just start as many games as they win in a row and once they lose one they get benched for an equally shaky goalie who is not sure if he is the back up or starter?”
Remember them times, back in the Jon Paddock
few months era, how he out and out said he employed a “win and you’re in” strategy with the goaltending tandem? Did anyone else hear him say that this was his actual plan then look reflectively into their Kalhua Mudslide and quietly muse, “Win …and you’re…in? All those years of videogame hockey have paid OFF…I suddenly think I have what it takes to be an NHL coach!!” Just kidding, Jon Paddock isn’t an NHL coach *rim shot*
When Paddock was fired, there was a lot of ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’ when it came to how the players were yelled at and how the goalie tandems where truly treated as such.
Do I think it came in part from Ottawa’s goaltenders being a revolving door of guys who didn’t exactly help make exceptional cases for themselves and/or died of injuries? Yes, I do. I also think goalies are psychopaths made of magic, habits and superstitions and have to know their place in the world.
Even Brian Elliot who would periodically do things like go on huge win streaks, post back to back shutouts, get named one of NHL three stars of the week and STILL never seemed to feel like the established number one. I am not all that floored that Elliot has had a great season. He always had tons of potential but could never achieve like he is now in St Louis on the Sens squad he was a part of. He needed a change of scenery where people didn’t know to not believe in him yet and I think the culture change has allowed him to thrive. Good for him. *burrrp* AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAnyway, when Elliot was given the heave ho and Andy came to town, not only did he put up a 50 save OT shutout over the leafs, he also had the audacity to not completely implode for the rest of the season! I don’t think I was the only one holding my breath wondering “Heavens to Grundo, is this the thing of legend? The starting goalie that has been prophesized?”
The question was answered when Andy was resigned for four years (whew) and then good fortune struck, a rebuild was initiated, a new coach was hired and expectations changed drastically.
Instead of defiantly stinking against the odds, the Senators were just supposed to plain stink. Oh, and as the 2011-2012 season kicked in stink they did. Did I mention how just to make Anderson feel like the startinest goalie in town, BryMurr
resigned Alex Auld, backup of all back ups?
So, Anderson had quite a few pucks get past him early in the season. He saw his GAA inflate and save percentage deflate, he’s been pulled his fair share of times and straight up had bad games. Yet, here we are at the end of January, he’s the undisputed #1. And how.
Those constant starts have given Andy a chance to heat up, to steal games, to give those early season doubters something to chew on. But will all the trust that Paul MacLean has put in Anderson going to come back to bite the Senators? Three game slide aside, not so far, though I can’t help but keep think that there is still plenty of season left.
I will put myself out there in saying that I really like Anderson. I think he can handle the work load but he’s still a human being. Human beings get tired and hurt. Anderson has so far played in 47 of 52 games. Damn! What if he needs a “rest” for whatever reason? Points are only going to get more valuable as the season unfolds and I think it’s not much of a secret that Alex Auld has looked colder than Eugene Melnyk’s Desk Fridge.
That’s not to completely fault Auld. He has had the exact opposite season as Andy. He’s never really gotten the chance to prove much of anything so far. That said, I haven’t really been enamored from what I’ve seen of him either. I’m actually pretty happy to see Anderson in game after game, I just don’t know if this model is sustainable.
Currently, Andy is on pace for 73 starts. Yeah, that’s seven three. This amount of games for a goalie seems other worldly to me but Andy has thrived in the past when handed a heavy workload.
In the 2009-10 season when he basically single handedly won Varada his hockey pool out of nowhere, Anderson played 71 regular season games. Of course, many believe that Andy had carried the surprising Avalanche team a little too much and by the time the playoffs rolled around that he looked out of gas. Colorado were knocked out by the Sharks in 6 games.
I didn’t watch any of that series because mom and weekend dad (Rick, who I HATE) said it’s lights out at 9pm SHARP but judging by the numbers it would appear that he did pretty well. A .933 save percentage and 2.62 goals against are damn pretty decent numbers for a goalie on a team that badly outmatched. Not so decent looking in the annuls of history are the 2 goals Statsny, Duchesne and O’Reilly combined for. Also they were playing the Sharks who are just going to dominate (THE EARLY ROUNDS OF) the playoffs *no rim shot* Perhaps Craig would fare better with a stronger Senators squad in front of him. In a more wide open East to boot. That is of course if he’s good to go should such a point in time arrive.
In the off-season when Lehner was coming off his stellar Whatever the Calder Cup Playoffs MVP Trophy is Called winning performance and Auld was
resigned, I remember hearing rumblings that Auld would be receiving spot duty only (so far so true), and that Lehner would be called up to fill in for any extensive stretches needed. I suppose we may or may not see if that is the actual plan but with a tough season of battling injuries on a Binghamton squad that t’aint what it used to be, it remains doubtful that we’ll see much of Lehner this year.
The Senators are more of a bubble team now than they were a few weeks ago after struggling through what appeared to be a draining road trip and all those games they have in hand over the rest of the division aren’t making things look locked up any time soon. Stay well soon Craig Anderson! What do you think is the best plan?
*waits*… *takes sip of port while staring at you* …*waaaaits*