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Who’s in the Net for all 30 NHL teams in 2008-2009, Part One

August 25, 2008

Hello out there from Music City, MD! I will get right to the entry. Please note that I get all of my previous season goalie information (statistical and the like) from ESPN.com and the archives of official NHL team sites. All of the information contained within this entry was obtained from the each of the mentioned teams official NHL websites as accessed through NHL.com.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that I will start with my all-time favorite netminder, Olie Kolzig, new Tampa Bay starting goalie for the 2008-2009 season. Before I get to Olie though, let me just give a full-blown, one-person, standing ovation to the Tampa Bay organization for all the positive changes they have made over the summer. I mean, it’s hard to think that the Lightning will do poorly this season with Melrose in charge on the bench. Tampa has three goalies on the roster. Tampa’s got all sorts of new people making decisions and of all the NHL teams out there – I have to give the Lightning the “Mia Award” (whatever that means) for most exciting and positive changes made by a single NHL organization over one summer. Let us not forget they’ve got Vinny and Martin either.

So onto Olie Kolzig – As some readers are aware, I was none-too-pleased about the fact that Kolzig decided to leave the Washington Capitals this summer. I realize that he had to make a decision, because his long-time team was showing a less than positive attitude about his abilities at the end of last season. Olie’s choices, I would imagine, were retire or find another team. There are some folks from the Capitals camp who will say that Olie was given the opportunity to be a back-up, but let’s face it – how many NHL, long-time starters do you think would take that deal? Not many! Anyway, I am over it and I will cheer on the CAPS new starter, Jose Theodore, with the same enthusiasm I would if Olie were still minding the net. I am a CAPS fan from way back. I think I’ve been watching them for almost as long as they have been an NHL team.

I was glad to have read this Q&A with Olie Kolzig on his way to Tampa Bay. It seems that his family is excited about living in Florida and Olie seems ready to work. I was worried for the guy, but it seems that wasn’t necessary. GO OLIE – YOU ROCK!

Jose Theodore, who came to DC from Colorado this summer is also excited to be in DC. I know that there are some CAPS fans out there who are still boo-hooing over the fact that we (I always refer to the Caps as “we”) do not have Cristobal Huet. Well, here’s what I think about Cristobal Huet (yup, it isn’t going to be very nice, so Huet fans should skip the rest of this paragraph) – while it is true that he showed a lot of skill toward the end of last season and I have even typed such thoughts in previous entries, it is also true that Montreal gave him up and replaced him with a ROOKIE. Montreal made it to the playoffs with that rookie, also known as Carey Price. Huet was not happy that he had been traded to DC and even though the Caps did make it to the Playoffs, Huet decided at some point after the season was over that he was worth way more than his career performance would indicate he is worth. In my opinion, he took advantage of his new team, the Capitals. There are a lot of goalies out there who would look good minding the net for a team that had Federov, Ovechkin, Semin, Green and Backstrom on it. Huet was given the opportunity to start in goal at exactly the same time that the Capitals were simply right on their collective games. The unfortunate thing, in my mind, is that people have short memories, even team owners, coaches and managers. I can only wonder if the Chicago Blackhawks spent time checking out Huet’s numbers all the way back to his entrance into the NHL. My prediction for Huet in Chicago is that his back-up (Corey Crawford) is doing the right thing by making sure he his well-practiced and ready to mind the net, because I suspect, Huet will falter and he will not play even 40 games next season. Chicago paid entirely too much for Huet. I can’t even credit Huet with getting the Capitals to Round 1 of the playoffs, because as I said, it was coach “Gabby” and the skaters who managed that feat. Oh well, only time will tell. Let us hope for the Blackhawk’s sake that I am wrong.

It shouldn’t be any surprise to anyone that Hasek finally retired, leaving the Detroit Redwings with an open spot in goal. Chris Osgood clearly has earned the starting position, leaving Ty Conklin (who left the Pittsburgh Penguins this summer) as a ready back-up. In season’s past, I have been annoyed by the fact that Redwings do well in the regular season, make it to the playoffs and then tank. Last season they broke that cycle and I was very happy for Zetterberg and the gang for winning the Cup, yet once again. I think with Hossa in the mix, Detroit will continue to dominate. I think it’s doubtful the Detroit will win the Cup this upcoming season, but I’m sure they’ll make the playoffs – again.

The Montreal Canadiens will be celebrating their 100th NHL season in 2008-09, so I send them a big “WOW” and congratulations. As for who is who in goal, well, Carey Price did well enough in the post-season to secure himself a spot on the roster, but at the moment, I am trying to sort out if Marc Denis, who ended last season in the AHL with the Norfolk Admirals, or Halak who re-signed with the Habs this summer will be seen more between the pipes. Most likely, Denis and Price will carry the load for the Habs this upcoming season. The Canadiens also signed another (they picked-up two this summer) netminder named Dejardins who will probably not see any NHL action this season.

The Anaheim Ducks will stay steady in net with J. S. Giguere or Jiggy, and Jonas Hiller, who re-singed this summer for two years. The only new addition as far as goalies go is the addition of David LeNeveu. I think it’s the loss of skaters Bertuzzi (signed with Calgary), Weight (went to Islanders) and Bergeron (traded to the Wild) that is going to have the biggest impact on the Ducks this upcoming season.

The Calgary Flames lost their back-up, Curtis Joseph, or CUJO, to Toronto and another goalie in the system, David Krahn. This leaves Miikka Kipprusoff. I have to do some more reading, but from the looks of it right now, I would say that Calgary has a serious goaltending problem. Signing Todd Bertuzzi won’t mean much if Kipprusoff is holding the load in front of the net. I’ll have to check back with the Flames in September to see how their netminding situation has developed.

I’ll move to Toronto now, since that is where CUJO has landed for 2008-09. Here is another team that has made some positive moves over the summer. I am a fan of Ron Wilson, who has coached the Caps and the Sharks. He has been named the head coach for the Maple Leafs in 2008-09 and I couldn’t be happier for both Wilson and the Leafs. Toronto has struggled over the last few seasons and picking-up Wilson and Joseph is sure to boost the team in many ways. CUJO, somewhat like Kolzig, needs to be a starter to shine as far as a can tell and I predict a very good year for both Toronto and Joseph. Toskala continues to improve and learn between the pipes in Toronto and Raycroft has gone to Colorado. I believe the Leafs have acquired or brought-up a third goalie as well. I’ll have to check that info. again sometime soon.

Since Raycroft, who I think is 28 years old now, has gone to Colorado and the Av’s have lost Jose Theodore to the Washington Capitals, I will move onto Colorado. I think the Av’s are in a fix as far as goaltending is concerned. They have 3 goalies on the roster and the oldest and most experienced is Andrew Raycroft. It is hard for me to sing any praises for Raycroft, because he simply can’t hold a starting goaltending position with any consitency at all. Not to mention there are two 26 year old goalies on the roster with him who will be lacking a “veteran” netminder’s guidance. Let’s hope for Colorado’s sake that the veteran skaters can fill the void.

Stayed “tuned” next week for Part Two which will cover Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Minnesota, San Jose, Dallas, Boston, Nashville and Edmonton.

As usual, GO GOALIES GO!!! and the more you sing to your crease, the more people will think you are a total nut job and assume you are one of those “crazy goalies” that should be feared and respected. peace-mia

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