Saturday, December 23, 2017
Goalie Announcements (Dec 23)
It's that wonderful time of year again... it's Festivus!
It may be a little too early for the airing of grievances, but this is my party and I can air such grievances any time I want to and over Festivus breakfast sounds just as good as dinner to me.
Go get yourself another cup of coffee and we'll begin.
Jimmy Howard (Dale C.) versus Tuukka Rask (Clayton)
Boy, have these two goalies ever been a disappointment this season! Out of the two, only Rask has a scoring rate around a point-per-game and that was after a pretty poor start to the season. The Bruins have been playing a bit better of late, but there's still no trust, on either side of the ice, as to whether or not they can keep a lead.
Steve Mason (Troy) versus Jaroslav Halak (Benson)
Certainly one of the biggest disappointments in the NHL crease society was the lack of results from the Winnipeg Jets signing Steve Mason to be their number one goalie. He's been anything but their number one guy, but he gets the last start before Christmas, possibly saving Connor Hellebuyck from the early afternoon start, one that has been rife with injury through the years.
And don't think you're getting off scot-free, Jaroslav Halak! Where's your number one form? You still haven't claimed the Islanders net for yourself yet. 18 points in 20 appearances? That's not good enough.
Antti Niemi (N/A) versus Cam Talbot (Wes)
Which one of you two goalies are the bigger disappointment this year? Antti Niemi was dropped in the Waiver Draft after reaching his third team within the first segment of the season and Derek B. hasn't quite looked back since. Or has it been Cam Talbot, who hasn't been able to backstop his Oilers to the lofty expectations of a team destined for greatness in the coming years? Both would be getting some pretty good earfuls, if they could, I'm sure. Wes probably has the biggest disgruntlement of the bunch here, as his 4th overall pick in the draft only ranks 69th in scoring.
Alex Stalock (N/A) versus Andrei Vasilevskiy (Wilton)
The Minnesota Wild may have played last night, but given their situation without their number one goalie, due to injury, they are expected to go with their number two guy, Alex Stalock, again. This will continue to be a disappointment for Brenda & Seward, who see their goalie, Devan Dubnyk, sitting out, while he's supposed to be an absolute minute monster.
And if Wilton has anything to be disappointed about, it's that he has the best player in the pool, Andrei Vasilevskiy, who starts again for Tampa tonight, and his team still isn't in 1st place, rather it's losing ground to 1st place this week and that just won't do! If you're going to have the brightest Festivus pole of them all, you should be having the best party, right?
Mike Condon (N/A) versus Harri Sateri (N/A)
Craig Anderson is supposedly taking the night off before the break, due to a bout of the flu... right when his team needs him the most! If the Senators are going to make any run at a playoff spot, which already looks like too daunting of a task, they'll need their number one. Instead, it'll be Mike Condon in net for Ottawa, who disappointed Brian's team to no end before the first Waiver Draft, hence the dump!
The Panthers played the Wild last night, but it was still too early at the time of writing this post, to know if James Reimer was going to go back-to-back tonight. If this is a non-pool match-up, like I kind of think it could be, that could be worthy of some grievances from us poolies... or at least the teams that have goalies that aren't playing in this game! Oh, they'll hear about it, I'm sure.
Corey Crawford (Jeremy) versus Cory Schneider (Jeremy)
How the hell is a hockey pool team supposed to get 8 points from the crease, if both of his goalies are playing each other?!? I suppose they could walk away with 6 points, a 1-0 shootout win for either one, but Jeremy's goalies are the first of two hockey pool teams to have this happen on the last day before Christmas. This is a game that could go any which way... the disappointing Blackhawks could find a way in the swamp, while the Devils are not a sure thing for the win just yet.
Frederik Andersen (Mike) versus Henrik Lundqvist (Brian)
Is there any greater lump of coal for your stocking than to be the Basement Dweller at the Christmas break? Brian's team is on the verge of that happening, as his gambles at the Waiver Draft haven't paid off at all and his team has been struggling to get 3 points out of a triangle lately. A win from his number one guy, Henrik Lundqvist, who isn't to blame for these struggles, could go a long way tonight, as his team opens up 1 point behind four other teams that are in the running.
Mike can't be too disappointed with his number one goalie in Toronto, as he has done fairly well in the absence of the team's franchise player. Frederik Andersen has been doing all he can do keep Mike's team in the overall race, but still on the other side of halfway isn't where his team wants to be at Christmas and a win could at least help to lift him to the halfway point.
John Gibson (Tony) versus Matt Murray (Stacey M.)
If I told you that going into the last game before the Christmas break, that both the Anaheim Ducks and the Pittsburgh Penguins would be sitting outside of the playoff spots, would you believe me? Both are definite disappointments, so far this season.
If the results went their way, either team could be in a playoff spot for the Christmas break, but they would need a win from their number one keeper and a lot of help in some of the other games on the schedule.
Chad Johnson (N/A) versus Cam Ward (Stacey M.)
The Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes are also non-playoff spot disappointments at this point in the season, neither team doing well enough to impress their fan bases of late. The Sabres have some elite level talent on their side, yet they haven't given much help to their goaltending and that led to Chad Johnson getting dropped at the Waiver Draft. The Hurricanes, on the other hand, have put up a few more wins, but they could have so many more, if they weren't prone to giving up big leads in the 3rd period, no matter which goalie is in net. Stacey gets a start from Cam Ward, much to her pleasure, I'd assume, especially with a lesser opponent like the Sabres under the tree.
Brian Elliott (Stacey C.) versus Sergei Bobrovsky (Derek B.)
Well, we're assuming that the Flyers are going to go back-to-back with Brian Elliott, as they are disappointed not to have Michal Neuvirth back from injury yet. Stacey C. doesn't seem to mind, as the Flyers haven't been too bad of late, despite dropping the game last night. No disappointment on Derek's side here either, as he'll get a start from Sergei Bobrovsky and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Hopefully, Elliott didn't ask for tonight off... I'm sure the Flyers only hired him on to work the holidays!
Braden Holtby (Grant) versus Marc-Andre Fleury (Scott)
If the Capitals were eyeing up the schedule ahead of the season, they were probably looking at this Christmas visit to the desert as a couple of wins in the bag! Well, they dropped their first game in Arizona last night and now they're heading into Nevada to face the number two team in the Pacific Division in Vegas. They could fly back to Washington with no points, if they're not careful... surely very disappointing, if that's the case!
Marc-Andre Fleury was a 1st round pick this year and his soft head has been another one of the biggest disappointments this year, forcing the veteran keeper to miss 6+ weeks worth of action and it really cost Scott a good start to the hockey pool season and his team crumbled underneath the debilitating injury.
Semyon Varlamov (Stacey C.) versus Antti Raanta (Ryan)
By now, in seasons past, Semyon Varlamov would have been very disappointing, usually having been injured or something like that... might still happen! The only thing really disappointing in Denver is the Avalanche's lack of consistency in front of their workhorse keeper, who gets another start in Arizona tonight.
It's hard to pin some bad results on the Coyotes' goaltending, given that it is still a young team, but they brought Antti Raanta in to help solidify this side and that hasn't quite happened yet... well, on a consistent basis, anyways. Ryan has to be desperately disappointed in his 2nd round pick, he was clearly thinking that the Coyotes should be better this year!
Pekka Rinne (Dale B.) versus Ben Bishop (Kristy & Don)
There's probably a lot of disappointment that neither Dale B. or the duo of Kristy & Don are not still in the survivor pool, especially with these two goalies and the records that they have, so far this season. Still, this game could be the wrestling match that could end Festivus and the night isn't over until one of these goalies is pinned under a loss to enter the Christmas break. Both teams are in the money conversation, so they don't really need their money back from a piddly mini-game.
Jake Allen (Cam) versus Jacob Markstrom (Wes)
Cam's team is in 12th place to start the night tonight, while Wes' team is down in 22nd place, neither team has to be all that impressed with that at all. They could probably point some fingers here and there, but Cam shouldn't have a beef with his goalie, who already has 37 points this season, while Wes should have known what he was getting into, by taking a Canucks goalie during a rebuild. As both pool teams rain blows down upon each other in this game, they'll think to themselves, "there has to be a better way!"
Jonathan Quick (Chris) versus Martin Jones (Chris)
The second game that features only one hockey pool team is the Pacific Division match-up in San Jose, which we have already seen a couple of times this season. Chris' rival goalies should be getting the nod in one of the last games before the break and these two have already split the first two games this season. Chris' big disappointment has not exactly been his goaltending, but the rest of his team, something that his goaltenders can only try to aid, rather than make up for, since they are playing against each other tonight. I don't think this game is one of those destined for 0-0 after regulation and overtime.