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EOY Recap - Goaltending

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05-13-2004, 02:29 PM
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Guy!
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EOY Recap - Goaltending

Well, I've taken a couple of weeks off to reflect on the previous season as well as to start writing my end of year recaps. After time and reflection, I find that I'm even more pleased with this previous season that I thought I was, and I was already pretty happy. The improvements made in almost every aspect of the game were extraordinary, and I derived a great deal of satisfaction from watching players develop and watching the team improve.

More importantly though, because of intense watching, too much note taking, and altogether too much time spent on these boards, I've learned more about hockey in one season that I have my entire life. There was a Bruin fan who, in another thread, said "I knew my fecal matter", and while I still feel like a hockey neophyte, that was a very satisfying thing to read.

On that note, whether you think my fecal matter is smart or whether you think it's just plain facal matter, here's the first in my series of EOY recaps - the goaltenders. Following this in a couple of days I'll do the defenders, then I'll cap that all off with a mega-post on the forwards. Finally, I intend to look at the franchise as a whole, from the coaches on up and look to the future of the club.

~~

Jose Theodore

Ostensibly the franchise player, Theo struggled through his second year in a row and while his struggles this season weren’t as pronounced as last year, they were still evident. As to their causes, there can only be speculation, but what has become apparent to those who have removed their rose coloured glasses is the simple fact that Theo has become a streak goaltender. When he’s hot, he’s one of the top three goalies in the game today, but when he’s off, he’s going to allow a minimum of one freebee to the opposition per game, and as a result the team in front of him plays with much less confidence.

His game itself is most assuredly typical of the Quebec junior leagues and a prototypical example of the ‘butterfly’. This style stresses positioning over reflexes and is designed to cover the bottom of the net as completely as possible while keeping the arms raised in such a way that they are able to prevent shots to the upper corners. It’s no secret that when he’s on his game, Theo is stellar in his positioning and that’s the key to his game; when he makes the saves look easy on his first few shots, confidence is gained and generally players and fans alike understand that he’s going to put in a solid performance.

The follow-up to positioning for this style is rebound control – the ability to either smother the puck or deflect it into a harmless area of the rink or to a teammate. This is another strong indicator on how well Theo will perform in a given game; if he gobbles up the puck and uses the corners well early, he’s on, but if he let’s them sail into the slot, cringe away.

Of course, there are times when the ‘butterfly’ is no longer useful, either after an initial save or during goal mouth scrambles. In these cases Theo has to resort to his recovery mode, which essentially is his ability to combine reflex reactions with an understanding of the play at hand. If there’s a technical aspect to his game that might need more work, it’s in the reflex department – at least if you compare him to Garon, who’s reflexes are extraordinary.

Strengths

Obviously Theo’s greatest strength lies in his ability to be in the right position. When you watch him play and think to yourself that he’s having an easy time of it and doesn’t look to be putting much effort into the game, you have to realize that he’s actually being extremely adept at positioning himself perfectly. In fact, positionally, he’s probably one of the top two or three in the game, and I’d honestly go as far as to say that he’s number one when he’s right on his game. The fact that he’s a smaller goalie yet continually makes some games look like child’s play is incredible when you step back and take a look at it.

Mentally he’s also a very strong goaltender. When you consider all the crap he’s had to go through as an individual away from the rink and then look at the pure drive and passion he has for the game and his preparation, then it should be easily apparent that he’s an incredibly driven person with a will to succeed. Certainly every player has his own problems away from the rink which impact the way he plays the game, but Theo has taken his familial troubles and has managed to pack them off to the side while keeping hockey first – and being one of the better players at his position. That’s pretty impressive.

Weaknesses

While it might be something of a paradox, he’s also weak mentally. Theodore has become, in every sense of the phrase, a streak goaltender. Look back on the past season: until the outdoor game he wasn’t on the ball, he let in bad goals and couldn’t control his rebounds to save his life; follow that up with the stretch that went until just before the Habs clinched their playoff berth where he was arguably one of the top three goalies in the game; after that there was the dying games in the regular season as well as the post season, and during all that time, he played one stellar game – game seven against Boston. Call it consistency or whatever, but it boils down to mentally being prepared for an 82+ game schedule, and Theo just wasn’t up to it.

In fact, this mental weakness starts to invade his entire game when he’s off. His positioning is horrid, his rebound control atrocious, and he stays deeper in the net, in essence allowing more of the net to be visible to the shooter. It’s unfortunate, but Theo’s big weakness is one of the worst you can have as a goaltender; technical weaknesses have work-arounds, but mental ones are difficult to deal with.

The final weakness is one that drive me up the wall and that should and would drive a great many coaches to distraction: he has a somewhat fluorescent five hole. Too many times this season were goals scored between the wickets and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that he rarely leaves his stick on the ice while going down, but instead tried to use both hands to grab the puck. Technical flaw? Perhaps, but it’s something I’m sure he’s been told and drilled on for years running and it’s therefore as much mental as it is technical.

Future

Alright, he’s supposed to be our franchise player, the guy that we can rely on when the chips are down to come up with a huge game to bail out everyone else who’s not played well. For perhaps 60%, or a little more, of the season, he was all that and more, but for the rest of the time he was a struggling goalie who cost us almost some points. If, when he’s at the top of his game, he’s a top three player at his position, then when he’s not on his game he would have to be considered in the bottom third of starters, sometimes struggling to even make the list.

The question then becomes: do you pay for his exorbitant contract when his combined numbers put him at the midpoint of all goalie’s in hockey? Another question that hovers when you have considered the first is this: is there a team out there that is willing to overpay for a sometime blockbuster goaltender such that the return significantly improves the standing of the Montreal Canadiens. Rest assured, these questions and more are running through the mind of our GM as you read this.

With Garon nipping at his heels and after a series of sub-par performances to cap off his ’03-’04 season, there will be a lot of questions asked about our starting netminder. And while a trade would have a great many up in arms, the simple fact is that he’s probably the most coveted asset the Habs own at this point and a player that a developing team would love to have to backstop a growing franchise.

Chances are Theo will be there in the goal for opening night of the next season, but to preclude a potential trade because of his status within Montreal would be premature. There’s a draft coming up and Montreal happens to be in a rather unique position with a supposed franchise goaltender backstopped by yet another great hope in Garon. Perhaps, with the rest of the team moving to the next step, the removal of Theo and his baggage will open the door to great new development for the franchise. It certainly leaves open a great mass of speculation with which to enjoy the summer months.


Mathieu Garon

He’s been called a ‘future franchise player’ from time to time, and former management called him the ‘goalie of the future’. The question therefore becomes: when is the future? Garon has been toiling in the shadow of Theo for a couple of season’s now, and with each game you get the impression that he’s starting to push more and more. Perhaps the time is ripe, after Theo’s late season weaknesses, for the future to be now; certainly Garon has all the requisite qualities to become a number one and a top-flight one at that.

While it would be easy to point at Garon and claim ‘butterfly’ the truth of the matter is that he’s a hybrid goaltender. He does use the butterfly in certain situations, but he’s also a stand-up goaltender. If you need an example, think of a guy from Jersey by the name of Marty Brodeur. This type of goaltending gives the player a little more flexibility in his play and while it might allow more goals down low, it prevents perhaps more up top – where most NHL snipers like to look. Combine this style with reflexes which are, in my opinion, second in the NHL only to Robbie Luongo, and you’ve got someone who can steal you games and quite possibly only needs to be shown a little confidence and a little more playing time to round out his game and take it to a level that Theo can only dream about.

Working on his positioning is the most critical aspect to a potential jump to the next level. There are games when it’s good, and those are the games that it takes a minor miracle to beat him (see LA late in the year). Unfortunately, he does have the tendency to over-commit, but I’m fully convinced that this is more a result of lack of competitive game time rather than just a large technical flaw that he can’t overcome. If he gets the chance to step in and shine (much like Theo did when Hackett went down with injury), I believe you’ll see him become more and more comfortable to the point where he might take over that starting job.

In Garon, I see all the potential to be as good or better than Brodeur. He plays a very similar style and backs that up with phenomenal reflexes as well as, as Hackett put it, the best legs of a goalie he’s ever seen. He just needs to be given the opportunity to take that next step.

Strengths

He looks like he’s beaten as an attacker has him heading the wrong way, but suddenly a leg sticks out and the opening that was previously gaping is quickly shut and a goal is prevented. There are no better legs in net - that I’ve seen anyhow. If a butterfly is there to cover the bottom of the net, the a hybrid goaltender who can do the splits and utterly cover the bottom of the net, post to post mind you, is infinitely better. He’s lightening quick in his lateral movements and when he gets the chance to hone them in game situations, they’ll win games.

His hybrid style is also a great strength. As much as the butterfly is loved around the NHL these days, there’s a lot to be said for a goalie that can stand up to the pressure and not drop, thereby exposing the top corners, every time an attacker makes a head fake. Combined with his good height, this makes him an imposing goaltender and one that can dominate.

His biggest strength is, of course, his reflexes. You only need to watch that game against the Kings to see that they’re bordering on precognition, much like Spiderman. When it looks like he’s beaten, even if he’s thrown himself out of position, his recoveries are delightful to watch and make for highlight reel saves on a consistent basis.

Weaknesses

Positioning has to be at the top of this list. Too many times you see him over-commit on a lateral movement, throwing himself totally out of position and leaving the yawning cage an inviting place for the puck. Now, that’s he’s a great at recoveries is wonderful, but think of how good he’d be if he had something even approaching the positioning talent that Theodore displays. I kid you not: if Garon can master this aspect of the game, he’s going to make Theo look silly.

Another problem that I’ve detected – circumstantially mind you, so take this for what it’s worth – is his mental game. Not in terms of preparation, because I believe that he’s well-prepared rather consistently, but when was the last time you heard him complain about playing time? Theo used to talk constantly when he was behind Hackett, letting people know that he was the goalie of the future and the guy that should be getting the top minutes. I want to hear a little of the same swagger from Garon, because it would indicate to me that he’s got the same drive to succeed, and it seems to me that those with that huge drive and confidence, like Roy, Brodeur, and Theo, are the ones who make it to the top. Garon needs to develop the swagger of a guy who believes he’s the best.

A final point would be his rebound control, but again, this is something that really only takes that last step of improvement in game situations. There’s only so much you can do during practice where the intensity can never be the same as during a game, and only with consistent time against real opposition will Garon develop this aspect of his game.

Future

Presumably, unless someone comes calling with an offer that Gainey can’t refuse, Garon will again be patrolling the Montreal net from a backup standpoint next season. There are those, however, who do see his potential as can be evidenced by the fact he was named in the negotiations for Kovalchuk, so hearing his name bandied about in trade talks should surprise no one.

More importantly, the question is how Montreal management looks at Garon. If they see him much as I do, then perhaps he’ll be given every opportunity to succeed to the point where they might trade Theo in order to give the reins to Garon to run with. As a backup, Garon has probably reached the pinnacle of his development and his next logical step would be in taking the mantle of the number one in Montreal.

With Gainey being so tight-lipped about any plans, everything must be pure speculation, but it’s this writer’s opinion that next season is the key for Garon. I believe he’ll be given a much larger shot with the goal being his replacement of the overpaid Theo. As the team develops, Gainey will probably be trying to adjust his pay scales, remove negative influences, and slowly remodel the team into ‘his’ team and this is an area where he could make an indelible stamp for certain.

~~

Up next: the defenders! Lots of questions to be answered in that respect, and some interesting choices to be made by management.

A Concerned Fan


Last edited by Guy!: 05-13-2004 at 02:33 PM.
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05-13-2004, 02:41 PM
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All I can say is: WOW.

That was the most informative and well-written read I have seen in a long time. Guy!, you wrote with dead-on accuracy, and as I read on, I noticed stuff I have never noticed before... Garon's legs, Theo's bad games... you described them perfectly.

I'm sure I speak on behalf of everyone else on this board when I say that I want your post-game reports to be in a completely seperate thread from now on.

I am really looking forward to your next EOY Review.








Lafleur bows to you

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05-13-2004, 02:42 PM
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Just a great read, Guy.

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05-13-2004, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brisebois
All I can say is: WOW.

That was the most informative and well-written read I have seen in a long time. Guy!, you wrote with dead-on accuracy, and as I read on, I noticed stuff I have never noticed before... Garon's legs, Theo's bad games... you described them perfectly.

I'm sure I speak on behalf of everyone else on this board when I say that I want your post-game reports to be in a completely seperate thread from now on.

I am really looking forward to your next EOY Review.

Lafleur bows to you
I second that. Great job, Guy.

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05-13-2004, 02:48 PM
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Wow!!

That was the best read I have seen in a long time. Great job, Guy!

Continue with it. We will now expect great threads from you from now on. Don't slack off now.

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05-13-2004, 03:08 PM
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I wonder where goalie for the Montreal Canadiens is on the worst jobs in the world list.

I don't think Montreal has appriecited a starting goalie since Jacques Plante (and I don't remember back then, so...). Anybody who says Patrick Roy didn't really follow the team that well back then. Patrick was talked about similiar to Thedore and his weakness were stated almost exactly as Guy! stated Theodore's.

Now, I'm not arguing with the assessmnet, it is fairly bang on (I might argue that during some of Theo's down swings, the defence has helped make him look bad), but people forget that Theodore is only 27, and the #1 complaint about most goalies under 30 is that they are not as consistant as some of the 'older' guys.
Imo, Theodore has shown the skills to be a good to great #1 goalie the past few seasons and maybe with an offseason withg distractions and the old 'one year older' theory, he can improve on the consistancy issue.

I don't wanna get into a whole deal with this, and I definately don't think I look at things with 'rose coloured' glasses (not saying anybody said I did), but when ya really think about how many consistant under 30 goalies are there in this league...not many by my count.

I remember at this time last year how every hockey fan stated J.S. Guigere was miles better than Theo. Hmmm...can't say that anymore.

How about Lalime. I think 99% of Ottawa fans rather have Theo.

How 'bout Kevin Weeks, he's stock has really dropped

or Jocelyn Thibault, he still plays in this league right????

or Marty Turco great post season stats....

Dan Cluotier???? Brian Boucher?????


all these guys under 30 are inconsistant. Before this year, Luongo was terriblely inconsistant. Raycroft, Kiprusoff, and Vokoun have yet to prove they can put up the game consistantly.

I don't think we should be labelling Theo as any kind of savior, but we really need to accept what you get out of a under 30 goalie in the NHL.

Heck outside of Brodeur, who are the top 5 consistant goalies in the league????

I think all Theo's problems are fixable, and believe over the next couple of seasons we will see an improved Theo each year, as far as consistancy goes.

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05-13-2004, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darz
all these guys under 30 are inconsistant. Before this year, Luongo was terriblely inconsistant. Raycroft, Kiprusoff, and Vokoun have yet to prove they can put up the game consistantly.

I don't think we should be labelling Theo as any kind of savior, but we really need to accept what you get out of a under 30 goalie in the NHL.

Heck outside of Brodeur, who are the top 5 consistant goalies in the league????

I think all Theo's problems are fixable, and believe over the next couple of seasons we will see an improved Theo each year, as far as consistancy goes.
I think Luongo was far less inconsistent than was Theo, personally. I also think he's the best pure shot-stopper in the game by a long shot and there are two reasons why he doesn't win every game by himself: 1) The team in front of him is porous, and that's generous; 2) He has virtually zero rebound control. If you watch him closely you will probably notice that an inordinate number of his shots come on rebounds.

Kiprusoff and Raycroft are both Theo clones in the sense that they are almost pure positional goaltenders and when they're on their games, they are extraordinary. Vokoun is more of an unknown to me since I haven't had much of a chance to see him as compared to the others.

As to your comment about Theo still being young and that he'll get better and better as the years move along, I wholeheartedly agree with you. I put this question to you: even if Theo continues to get better, would you rather trade him and pick up either two-thirds of a second line, a really solid defender, or a high quality pick and in the process get rid of massive payroll, and then give the chance for Garon to shine and, potentially, become an even better goalie (it requires taking a chance).

Or would you rather stick with the safe call in Theo, have solid and improving, if not completely reliable goaltending, into the future, and eventually trade Garon for less than what he's worth because he's only in a backup role?

I'm not saying one is better than the other, and despite the way I worded that, I'm not convinced about one decision over another, however it's a question that requires a lot of debate, in my opinion.

ACF

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05-13-2004, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Guy!
I think Luongo was far less inconsistent than was Theo, personally. I also think he's the best pure shot-stopper in the game by a long shot and there are two reasons why he doesn't win every game by himself: 1) The team in front of him is porous, and that's generous; 2) He has virtually zero rebound control. If you watch him closely you will probably notice that an inordinate number of his shots come on rebounds.

Kiprusoff and Raycroft are both Theo clones in the sense that they are almost pure positional goaltenders and when they're on their games, they are extraordinary. Vokoun is more of an unknown to me since I haven't had much of a chance to see him as compared to the others.

As to your comment about Theo still being young and that he'll get better and better as the years move along, I wholeheartedly agree with you. I put this question to you: even if Theo continues to get better, would you rather trade him and pick up either two-thirds of a second line, a really solid defender, or a high quality pick and in the process get rid of massive payroll, and then give the chance for Garon to shine and, potentially, become an even better goalie (it requires taking a chance).

Or would you rather stick with the safe call in Theo, have solid and improving, if not completely reliable goaltending, into the future, and eventually trade Garon for less than what he's worth because he's only in a backup role?

I'm not saying one is better than the other, and despite the way I worded that, I'm not convinced about one decision over another, however it's a question that requires a lot of debate, in my opinion.

ACF

and thats why Gainey was hired...!

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05-13-2004, 03:47 PM
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We went through this once with Roy, but apparently for Habs fans it's not enough misery, we need to go through this again.

Ugh.

It's a good read, Guy!, as always. It's just biased, even if it purports not to be. A $5-6 million dollar contract is either excessive, or it's not; it's either good value, or it's not; it depends on your point of view.

Theodore is a franchise goaltender, or he's not; this too is an issue of your POV.

I just think that one fine day Georges Vezina himself will get resurrected, and re-join the Habs, only to get run out of town because of people that will find weaknesses with his game.

Alas, this is the heavy weight Habs goaltenders seem to be forced to carry through their careers here. Little wonder we drive them nuts.

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05-13-2004, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy!
I put this question to you: even if Theo continues to get better, would you rather trade him and pick up either two-thirds of a second line, a really solid defender, or a high quality pick and in the process get rid of massive payroll, and then give the chance for Garon to shine and, potentially, become an even better goalie (it requires taking a chance).

Or would you rather stick with the safe call in Theo, have solid and improving, if not completely reliable goaltending, into the future, and eventually trade Garon for less than what he's worth because he's only in a backup role?
ACF
Good posts Guy! As for this question, it is not one I'd like to have to make. The 'fantasy' GM in me would take the chance, but I'm not sure I could pull the trigger if I were in Gainey's oxblood brogues. And that leaves the second problem, dealing Garon for less-than-value. The ideal solution would be a lengthy injury to Theo (but who wants that) so Garon could potentially shine (or not) and make the decision easier. Perhaps Jeff Gilooley is looking for work?

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05-13-2004, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montrealer
It's a good read, Guy!, as always. It's just biased, even if it purports not to be. A $5-6 million dollar contract is either excessive, or it's not; it's either good value, or it's not; it depends on your point of view.

Theodore is a franchise goaltender, or he's not; this too is an issue of your POV.
I disagree completely. Whether or not he's paid excessively, is valued properly or is a franchise goalie or not is dependent on the situation and circumstances surrounding the team he's on. Right now, he's called the 'franchise' player for Montreal. Would he be on the Devils? Absolutely not. Would he be on the Penguins? You bet your life he would.

I think your vision is a little narrow here and you're looking at things strictly in terms of a Montreal perspective, and while it's understandable, when you're talking about the complete market, each team has its own criteria and set of issues with which they categorize a player. One man's Lafleur is another's Audette, so to speak.

There has to be a map for the future in order to evaluate anything these days in this league. Especially when you have younger athletes who may (or may not) be better than the stars of today. If we can settle on calling Theo a franchise goalie right now, is it not possible that Garon is one as well in a couple of years, or potentially even next year? And if Garon becomes the franchise player, where does that leave Theo?

There has to be some adaptability and malleability to any label or you get caught in it and stagnate. Steve Yzerman is a franchise-type player (or was) but if you continue to play him as such, and give him first line minutes and just assume that, until the day he leaves the game, he's going to be a franchise player, you'll be building your team around a diminishing talent. Is Mario still a franchise player? On any team other than Pittsburgh absolutely not. He's a great player who can play on any line and contribute. On Pittsburgh, you build around him.

There is no black and white, there are circumstances which, in this game, change from day to day.

*shrugs*

Just my opinion, anyhow.

ACF

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05-13-2004, 04:18 PM
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Guy!,

I believe we agree to disagree - Theo would not be the franchise goalie in NJ because of Brodeur, but without Brodeur I think he would be, because putting Theodore behind NJ's defense would make Theo look that much better.

Not only that, but I believe Brodeur had a bust of a playoff run this year, yet no one is questioning his position (albeit he has been there longer).

Granted, Garon is an intriguing goaltender. Perhaps I'm just plain dumb, or maybe I'm not a scout (I'm not!) - Garon gave me more heart palpitations in net on any given night than Theodore. I heard that lovely *PING* sound a lot more, IIRC, watching Mathieu's athletics than I ever heard when Jose was in nets.

Yes, Theodore had a good season, not a groundbreaking one. If you take his personal troubles with both his family and his family-in-law into account, I think you'll agree he displayed an impressive capacity to concentrate on the matter at hand when it mattered most. For those who believe these personal issues (which are no fault of his own) are a reason to trade someone, even though they performed well, because they might not have been 110% all season, every game - well, that's a standard I believe no one can meet.

As I said, maybe I'm wrong about Garon. Maybe he has #1 goaltender in him. Maybe he's franchise material one day.

Maybe 29 other GMs and their scouting divisions were wrong when they passed on him when he was exposed in last year's waiver draft.

Maybe.

I can't believe I'm getting into a Theo discussion on a second forum. Ack. No hard feelings though, Guy! - you've always had my respect for the amount of thought and care you put into your posts. We just have two differing opinions, is all.

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05-13-2004, 04:19 PM
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Garon and Broduer have the same goalie coach, so it would make sense that Garon patterns himself with Broduer. I don't know what they will do with the goalies next year, all I hope for is that Garon gets more games.

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05-13-2004, 04:27 PM
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Hey hey Guy! are you a writer or something? You write very well, and I usually don't read long posts but I couldn't stop after I started. Can't wait for more

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05-13-2004, 05:43 PM
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Great read! I learned a lot thanks to you.

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05-13-2004, 07:04 PM
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I agree with some points, I disagree with others. But this post is a good one in general.

I just dont like the: Theo will lost his job to Garon who could be better than Brodeur... I disagree here. And before Playoffs, I dont remember 1 single fan out there really calling Theo Streaky... which would let me think many here are giving too much power into the playoffs.

Anyways, I guess i cannot agree with all everytimes but it was still a good read.

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05-13-2004, 07:43 PM
  #17
tritone
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Nice read Guy.
I am glad you mentionned Garon's lack of rebound control. I have been going on and on about it for a year and nobody seems to ever agree with me on it.

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05-13-2004, 07:50 PM
  #18
Karl Pilkington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montrealer
We went through this once with Roy, but apparently for Habs fans it's not enough misery, we need to go through this again.

Ugh.

It's a good read, Guy!, as always. It's just biased, even if it purports not to be. A $5-6 million dollar contract is either excessive, or it's not; it's either good value, or it's not; it depends on your point of view.

Theodore is a franchise goaltender, or he's not; this too is an issue of your POV.

I just think that one fine day Georges Vezina himself will get resurrected, and re-join the Habs, only to get run out of town because of people that will find weaknesses with his game.

Alas, this is the heavy weight Habs goaltenders seem to be forced to carry through their careers here. Little wonder we drive them nuts.
We need a goalie who is perfect in every aspect of life.. not only in hockey.. but in LIFE..

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05-13-2004, 09:01 PM
  #19
Blind Gardien
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Originally Posted by Guy!
More importantly, the question is how Montreal management looks at Garon. If they see him much as I do, then perhaps he’ll be given every opportunity to succeed to the point where they might trade Theo in order to give the reins to Garon to run with. As a backup, Garon has probably reached the pinnacle of his development and his next logical step would be in taking the mantle of the number one in Montreal.
Great post Guy!. I won't nitpick at it, but I do want to say that I think it's just way too premature to be talking about Garon "taking the mantle of the number one in Montreal." That would be a huge next step. Not a logical one. His next step might be to play a few more games, more back-to-back stretches, more games against top opponents, and see if he can make a run at sharing duties with Theodore. At most. (Personally, I think he would fail if given that opportunity, but that's beside the point).

At the very least, if management showed a few more starts to Garon, at least I'm pretty sure it would light a fire under the ultra-competitive Theodore who will not want to see his stranglehold on the position challenged like that.

Basically, I think there's just no sense to be found in trading either of Garon or Theodore right now. We have no viable #3 in the event of injury. Many of the elements we would wish to consider in any Theo trade scenario are available on the UFA market.

At least: Garon needs one more year of challenging, Danis or somebody needs a couple of years of minor league developing to be ready for the backup spot. This goalie debate shouldn't even be an issue right now.

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05-13-2004, 10:03 PM
  #20
TomasPlekanec
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Wow, that was one of the best report i've read ever!

I just love the way you talk about Garon, if we got a Brodeur clone on our bench AGAIN next year, playing 20 games, i'll cry, it's just as simple as that. Everybody agrees that he has more talents then Théo, he should get split-time with José, 41-41. Go Garon, I support you.

And Guy, Wow again!

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05-13-2004, 10:27 PM
  #21
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Great job Guy. I think that listening to year end organizational meetings about personnel would be pretty interesting. Personally, I find goalies very tough to analyze, so I tend to just go by whoever makes me confident. My opinion is that Gainey knows Theo can carry a team as he did thru 2002. He knows Theo can have a very good year, like this year. He knows this about Theo and only has impressions about Garon. I believe both goalies will be around next year with Garon getting 25-28 games, assuming both are healthy.

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05-13-2004, 10:36 PM
  #22
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Brilliant post!

nuff said

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Old
05-13-2004, 10:44 PM
  #23
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I must have read half of Guy! analysis this season, long but always interesting. This one is the same

Always fun to see someone says things either you aren't able to explain while making it interesting, or things you never thought of and/or you are too lazy to write it Guy! does it all.


Last edited by HF-Addict: 05-13-2004 at 10:50 PM.
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Old
05-13-2004, 11:10 PM
  #24
Guy!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcphee
Great job Guy. I think that listening to year end organizational meetings about personnel would be pretty interesting. Personally, I find goalies very tough to analyze, so I tend to just go by whoever makes me confident. My opinion is that Gainey knows Theo can carry a team as he did thru 2002. He knows Theo can have a very good year, like this year. He knows this about Theo and only has impressions about Garon. I believe both goalies will be around next year with Garon getting 25-28 games, assuming both are healthy.
I must admit, goaltending analysis is the hardest for me as well. I know what I like to see, but it takes me a long time to think and express my views. For instance, positioning is something that, when a goalie has it, he looks great, but when a goalie doesn't have it, even if the rest of his game is brilliant, he looks like a dog. It took me a while to realize that this was Theo's strongest point and the reason he was rated as highly NHL-wide as he is.

I completely agree with your assesment of Gainey, mind you. It's one thing to speculate, it's quite another to see. Theo does what he does, and there's no denying it one way or another. Garon, on the other hand, has played so few games that any sort of speculation is relevent. While I might think he looks like a few more games and improved confidence could bring him to the top, I completely concur that the opposite can certainly happen.

If I was a scout assessing Garon, I'd say he's got some serious number one potential in his game, needs work on position and rebound control, plus a pile more experience. But who wouldn't have said that about Theo about three years ago? Scouting, of course, is only educated guessing, so it could be quite possible that with the increased time and confidence, Garon might fold under the pressure.

Two sides of the coin that Gainey is surely hearing from his staff all the way around.

As to your assessment about games played for Garon, as a betting man, I'd probably put money in your corner. While blind speculation might have both goalies on the move to other locales, the easy bet is that the status quo is maintained with Garon getting slightly more playing time.

ACF

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Old
05-13-2004, 11:23 PM
  #25
CoupeStanley
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First, Theo reflexes isn't a weak point it's one of his strong point. While his glove isn't the best in hockey, they're no goalie around that move left to right faster than Theodore.

The only problem of Theodore is his consitency, you have a valid point that Theo is either the best in the league or a very averge one. He have a great passion,desire to succeed and his cocky. He heard day after day, after day, that if the Habs have a chance to go far it's all on his shoulders. Pression isn't a problem for him, he can take it no problem. He is just trying to do too much, that puts him off his positionning. Is it a weakness ? Yes for sure it is. But he's young and he just have to learn to be more consistant in his play. That comes with experience. I'm 100% confident that Theo is the goalie of the future and a future Conn Smythe Trophy winner. It would be a huge mistake to trade an elite, Hart and Vezina trophy winner, 27 years old goaltender just because he is inconsistant. He's 27 years old with all his family in prison. Cut him some slack.


While mental toughness and drive is one of the few weakness of Garon, it's already too much. He could succeed with the Blues or the Kings. But if we trade Theo so that he can be #1. Look at the Montreal Media to run him out of town as soon as he have a couple of bad games. He will have to fill Roy and Theo shoes at the same time. Garon IMO, is a taller Thibault.


It's toughest job in hockey. Who can handle it the best ? No doubt in my mind it's Theodore.

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