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10-08-2010, 01:01 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Originally Posted by Chris Shafer View Post
I'm not necessarily Bill was wrong. Instead I think he focused a little too much on Bob being untested and forgot just what makes him untested.

We know Bob can handle pressure. That's not the issue. This kid has laughed in the face of adversity for years in the KHL. You've seen him do it here as well.

He's an extremely poised kid who looks awesome when his heart's racing at a million miles an hour. He reacts. It comes natural to him.

This real question is how well he will keep his head in the game through the lulls over an 82 game season. Pronger won't always be out of the lineup, and we're not always going to be playing the Penguins.

How is he going to handle it when his adrenaline is cold?

To control himself, he needs to have a switch. He needs to be able to turn himself off or on at the drop of a dime. If he runs at full speed every minute of every game, he's going to wear himself out. Overloading and overwhelming him was my biggest concern from the get-go. That doesn't mean throwing him in high pressure situations is going to overload him, it's the full entire scope of things from the high-energy situations to the coaching to the lulls where he needs to be ready for anything.
I agree with most of what you're saying, but disagree with your analysis that Bob has faced adversity for years and has excelled under pressure. Being on a bottom-feeder team in the KHL means that you have to fight hard to win games, yes...but that doesn't come with heavy pressure. It is a lot easier to play a game on a bad team - and play very well - knowing that expectations are minimal. When you're on a bad team as a goalie, you're on a bad team, and it makes it very easy to set and excel at personal goals. It takes a lot of pressure off.

I think last night was a very good pressure situation, and he did show his poise well, but he's playing for a team expected to win the Stanley Cup right now, in a big market that is starving for a good goalie. Adversity is going to come if he has a rough game and has to bounce back, loses his starting role, or gets sent down to the AHL. How he responds to all of those things - in this town - are going to show his ability to deal with pressure and adversity. Because it is going to get harder for him once the adrenaline wears off, as you said, and once people get a chance to really scout him. That's when we'll see just how cool under pressure he really is.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying he isn't calm or collected, but he really has had a very easy on-ice transition to the NHL so far, and has won instant adoration from the organization and fans. Whenever this high wears off is when we'll find out what he really has. I suspect that what we're seeing really is the start of something better, but the odds are that it only gets tougher on him from here. There are always going to be growing pains.

Also, he does need to adjust his game more. His angles aren't perfect, he's not always sure where the pucks are going (he got caught not paying attention or just not reading the plays a few times), and he needs to settle his happy feet down and play a little bigger up high. But these are all normal things for a goalie in his situation to be dealing with.

One way or another, it's going to be a very fun year watching him. I'm way more excited than I've been about any other goaltender we've had in my lifetime.

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