25.09.2010: In which we travel back in time to last night, when we didn’t know Leclaire would stink up the joint

James to conrad, peter

Subject: Is it too much to ask for a non-shitshow in net tonight?

So, I’m being patient about not giving it up on the first date and giving such and such player time to develop before Senior Prom (OMG SO EXCITED!!) before making the NHL because I’m smooth like that.

But what I’m writing terribly at here is this…I know that its two pre-season games in and perchance there was a little extra vitriol in my corn flakes (good metaphor!) because Wednesday’s loss was against the hated leafs but lemme axe you this: Is it too unreasonable to expect of Pascal LeClaire a great game tonight if even for his own sake? Pre-season or not, LeClaire’s biggest competition, Brian Elliot, just played a Sarah Palin being interviewed by Katie Couric of a game while sprightly chimneysweep Robin Lehner played a game of the Shaq in his prime breaking the backboard off on a dunk variety (I have to go to metaphor jail).

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the preseason can be about making statements and not just for rookies and prospects. It could be argued that meaningless as the games are on paper, Foligno is making quite a statement going into October. Strong play is strong play. Goalie wise, if LeClaire plays like Elliot did…what are Clouston and Murray to think of that? His two NHL goalies cant put up a W against undermanned preseason squads but his petit monsieur from Sweden can? Or will cooler heads prevail and hold off on Carey Pricing bro (obv: local press notwithstanding)?

Honestly, judging by his track record so far, Coach Cory doesn’t seem like the most patient guy in the world when it comes to making an adjustment to get more wins one the board.

Am I looking into this too much? I don’t think it would result in anything major necessarily but I thinks a stand out win by Lehner followed by two weak losses by the 1a and 1b starters would get a storm abrewin’ (im 100 years old) that neither goalie can afford.

Conrad to James, Peter

First thing’s first: one day Google Image is gonna get us sued. Such gold in them hills. We don’t have permission to use any of it, btw.

So, Leclaire’s playing tonight? Hmm. What do they do if he shits the bed? Obviously he’s gonna get his shot hell-or-high water this year – you don’t make $4M+ and get tasked with loading the bus. (That’s Ryan Shannon’s job.) So it’s Elliott on the hot seat. If the Sens decided to split time between Leclaire and Lehner, I think they’d go that direction and Elliott would either 1) spend the season in the Bing-Hamptons (and it would have to be the season – he’s on a one-way deal, so he’d have to clear waivers if called up) or 2) get dealt. I still think we end up with Leclaire and Elliott to start the season because, hey, Leclaire’s gonna get hurt and Lehner is 8 years old. You don’t wanna be in that situation knowing that, in certain situations, Elliott can play some games and get hot.

But I think what we come back to is the question of pedigree. You saw it earlier this year when Montreal traded Halak and kept Price – they’re thinking must have been that Price is the Top 5 pick goalie and Halak was the lower round steal. You trade the latter when his value is at its highest because you believe that Price has a better chance of being a sustainable success whereas Halak will eventually come back to earth. Leclaire is the same – the athletic goalie who all of the projections showed can be a starter, whereas Elliott was a wild card taken with the second last pick in the draft, and was never expected to make the NHL. Given all the data, you’ve gotta think Leclaire has the better chance. Not just think it, but because you’re paying for him, bank on it.

Speaking of Columbus goalies and banking on them, they went ahead and gave Mason a big(ish) deal. Wonder if we can trade whoever our Vermette equivalent is in two seasons for Mason and a 2nd round pick after he has his second shitty season.

Peter to Conrad, James

To me Leclaire will not hang himself tonight, no matter how poorly he plays. I’m pretty firm on the fact that a goalie is only good as the players in front of him. Lehner’s shutout was an insane anomaly that speaks more to the ineptitude of the leaf skaters that night.

I refuse to pound the nail in Leclaire’s coffin untill maybe a month into the season. Preseason shouldn’t be considered an accurate judge of where a player is. Shit that kid in Edmonton last night had a hat trick, should we pencil him for the Art Ross? Even if he did play out of his mind for the entire preseason then lay an egg early in the season would we all freak out? Yes, probably, arguably putting us in a worse position than if he had let the beachball through his wickets in the preseason.

We all know Ottawa is a streaky team, they’ll have dizzying highs, terrifying lows and creamy middles. What I want to see from LeClaire is a consistent effort against good teams, show me there’s focus and for the love of jeebus stay healthy. (And really Elliott is a capable backup, so the second he needs a night off he’ll let us know and I won’t feel bad about it.)

So Ottawa doesn’t have a game stealing, clear cut number one tender. Not sure how many teams can actually say that. Is it the only thing standing in the way of winning a cup?

BACK IN THE FUTURE

Sens lost 4-2. Leclaire allowed 4 goals on something like 28 shots. The game wasn’t televised, and I can’t even find a box score, so one can only imagine that those four goals were fired at him from some kind of weapon you use in Halo: Reach. The Kovalev, Fisher and Regin line stayed together all night and produced a goal. The other goal was Keller, who sounds like a villain from Die Hard.

Somehow I get the feeling that nights with Leclaire in net will feel like you’re hanging off the city hall clock tower, trying to get that male end of the plug into the female end before lightning strikes.

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