|By Chip Scoggins, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Brunette's stumble-bumble routine provided some good laughs, but it also underscored the
Injuries have forced the
If Bryzgalov can maintain his hot hand and recapture whatever it was that made him effective in previous stops, the
Where have you gone, Roli the Goalie?
Seriously, what a weird season it's been for the
Now, it's Bryzgalov's turn to save the season and buoy the
"This year has been a goaltender-by-committee scenario, and that's probably not the way you want to do it every year,"
This revolving-door routine is far from ideal, but it's not necessarily outside the norm, not even for playoff teams. The
Harding leads the pack with 29 games played. By comparison, the
Here's another way to look at it: The
"At the time, none of the goalies that we started were our backup," Fletcher noted. "We played what we felt to be our best goaltender at that time. It's been unusual to say the least."
Now it's Bryzgalov's turn. A month ago, the veteran looked like a temporary novelty, a guy who espouses some goofy theories on the universe but only figured to see action in back-to-backs and worst-case scenarios.
Hello, worst-case scenario. Bryzgalov has been terrific so far though, going 4-0-3 with a 2.11 goals-against average. He's given his team a spark. Who cares if the guy is a little eccentric if he can see puck, stop puck?
"He can be quirky," Fletcher said. "At times he's prone to some very colorful comments and quotes that seem to either endear him to people or create the opposite effect. But he's been a quality goaltender in this league for many years."
Fletcher has a quandary on his hands going forward. Backstrom's age (36) and health make him unattractive. Harding's medical condition continues to be a delicate issue. Kuemper probably wants a shot at the No. 1 role. And Bryzgalov's contract expires.
"You have an eye on the big picture all the time," Fletcher said. "But we'll let things play out."
Good idea. This goalie carousel has been dizzying. It has to stop spinning at some point, right?
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