How's this for cheap philosophy: Every coach will say, whichever goalie is in net on a given night is his "#1 goalie"...that night.
|photo by Trey Hill
Andrew Raycroft will be starting tonight in Denver. He's been a number one in past (In both Boston and Toronto) and with Kari down for the immediate future, he gets the chance to do so again - as he did for a short spell last December.
To be honest, it is infinitely easier to be a starting netminder than a backup. The confidence is higher. The rhythm of your days, of your preparation, and of the games is better - more familiar. A bad goal against or a bad game are just that when you're a number one. But as a backup, a bad goal surrendered or an off-outing are reason for coaches to doubt and thus tap the brakes on your next start.
And the workload in practice is so much more palatable too - less about being cannon fodder and instead about getting what you need to be ready (Not to mention the shots seem to be kept just a smidge lower).
You know how some athletes state that they are "gamers" and despise practice - Allen Iverson comes to mind - well I bet Andrew would put himself in that category too.
In Vancouver behind Luongo and here behind Lehtonen he's been a good partner and has tried to embrace the role, but it's not been completely comfy, it never is. He gets high marks for being a pro.
So now here comes a sliver of opportunity to show what he believes he is capable of. And should he grasp that opportunity and give this team the netminding it needs right now - as he did early last season - the Stars will be much better for it , and so will the likable Raycroft.
But it's a meritocracy at the NHL level, he's well aware of that. You either stop pucks and win, or you get pushed out of the way.
Time to assume the role again.
Posted on November 28, 2011 09:18 AM Email Razor
Send this article to a friend