While the summer months are normally slow with hockey talk, we typically find ourselves digging deep to discuss anything and everything worth an ounce of interest - but not this year. Our once beloved 50 goal man has managed to give us a real scoop! A huge news story with buckets of speculation. It's made us confused, angry, potentially violent, but overall very interested. So, we talk and talk and talk about it. Then we have lunch. Then we talk about it some more.
And so, as we head into another weekend with #15 on our roster, I'm desperate to change the focus a tad.
While Dominant Dany has dominated our chatter, there's another news story that has flown under our radar. Mind you, this is a story of significantly less drama and intrigue. On second thought, it might not even be a story, but consider this...
Much like our recent coaching history, we have had bad luck, or just poor talent, between the pipes. No this is not a story or anything close to news. Hasek was pushing, what, 50? Gerber was Gerber. Emery was sleeping in. Auld was, and will always be, a back up. Elliot, bless him, was (is) young and unproven. Year after year, we end up disappointed with one goalie or another. And much like recent years, we welcome a freshly painted mask to man our net. Welcome Pascale Leclaire.
Given the above mentioned recent history, you'd expect us to put a lot of focus on Leclaire. Not only is he our new tender, but he comes in with a not-so-proven past. Shaky, injury prone and, well, not handsome - Pascale poses a lot of question marks. And while these concerns were being discussed upon his signing, they were quickly overshadowed by the saga to end the decade.
So let's talk about it.
Personally, I like this signing. I have faith in Leclaire. He's a first round draft pick, he had early success on an awful team, and he's still young. I believe he can solve our perennial goalie woes. That said, and I've said this over and over again, Leclaire will be the backbone to our success. If he's as good as I hope he is, he will propel us into spring hockey. But on the flip side, we will be hard done by without a reliable tender.
This should be a lot of pressure! But, thanks to Heatley, nobody's talking about this. And the longer the saga sags on, nobody will be talking about it. And this, my friends, I think is a good thing. To be honest, I don't know enough about Leclaire to know how he handles pressure. But in any case, being out of the spotlight in a new town with new fans who will be demanding success is likely ok for any goalie. And while the hot lights will no doubt shed some focus on Leclaire at the beginning of the season, it will not be the intense pressure as it could have, or should have been.
So, we can thank Heatley for two things at the moment: 1) He's given us loads to talk about, and 2) He's taken some pressure off our new goalie who lacks any enduring success in the show.
How's that for a change of subject? What do you think? Is the saga a good thing for Leclaire? Does it take any pressure off him? Or have I just rambled on for no good reason on a quiet Friday night?
Mark Stone: First Line Player
5 hours ago