The Bruins Goalie Grinder is an awesome force. In recent years it has consumed Andrew Raycroft and Hannu Toivanen. Now it seems set on destroying Manny Fernandez. The only goaltender who has been able to excel in the Bruins net in the last three years is Tim Thomas, who somehow seems immune to the grinder. Maybe its that coin he wears around his neck.
I don't pretend to understand it. I just wish it would stop. Some suggest it's the coaching. Some say it's the Boston media scrutiny. Some even claim it is a curse on the Bruins for not retiring the number of Gerry Cheevers (or any other goaltender). Half of the more fickle fans will tell you that Raycroft and Toivanen suck, and will now turn their ire toward Fernandez. The other half of them are biding their time for Timmy to lose a big game so they can once again claim he's, "not a true No. 1" with confidence. But how many goaltenders have been hailed as the great solution in the last ten years? Too many to count. And how many have thrived? One. Forget Thomas' early stats--that fact alone should make him a fan favorite.
I wasn't able to see the Habs game on Center Ice (thanks so much versus). I am sure it was ugly to watch. It was definitely ugly to listen to. I do have some thoughts though. Why do the Bruins allow so many fewer shots on goal when Timmy isn't in the net? This was true last year as well. Last year they seemed to be trying so hard to cover for the goaltender (usually Toivanen) that they would eventually get caught out of position and allow a good scoring opportunity. I can't tell if that's what was happening yesterday, but I wouldn't be surprised. With Timmy it's usually 1-2 goals on 30+ shots but put anyone else in the net and it's 6 goals on 20.
Regardless, I must admit to being mystified when I heard that Fernandez was going to start against the Habs. I understood giving him a game, but two? When the guy on the bench is the hottest tender in the league? That seemed crazy to me! How long can Timmy sit on the bench before he loses his edge? Julien said that he'd play people based on their performance not their salary. I'm not an NHL coach so I'm not going to second guess. But as a fan I do expect the coaches and the players to match their actions to their words.