Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Mathieu Groin pulls his Garon, or something like that

I don’t really have to emphasize too much the importance of quality goaltending in ice hockey, but maybe my neighborhood L.A. Kings could use a quick primer.

When news broke this week that goalie Mathieu Garon had injured his groin in practice, I chuckled at the thought of the die-hard Kings fan, cursing the heavens and saying “please not THAT groin!” You see, coach Marc Crawford has been ever-so-stubborn about platooning his goaltenders, despite the huge disparity of play (a disparity so wide, I believe it is visible from space).

Here’s a quick look at what I’m talking about:

Mathieu Garon, 5-5-2, 2.65 GAA, .903 sv%
Dan Cloutier, 4-8-2, 3.85 GAA, .862 sv%
How far apart is this? Well, if Cloutier (pictured above in his classic pose) wanted to match Garon’s GAA and sv%, he would need to stop the next 164 shots-on-goal over the next 376 minutes (more than six regulations!). Cloutier in 16 appearances has only 3 games where he stopped 90% of the shots he faced.

See, what gets lost in the shuffle a bit is that the Kings (netminding aside) are a pretty strong team, especially lately. In the calendar month of November, the Kings played 13 games, going 5-6-2. They scored 3.46 goals-per-game (3rd in the west), had a PP efficiency of 33.3% (1st in the west), and had a shot differential of 5.4 shots-per-game (3rd in the west).

The problem? Goaltending, all around. Kings goalies had a collective 4.03 GAA and an .848 sv%. Even Garon’s awesome October (1.72 GAA, .941 sv%) turned into an awful November (3.61 GAA, .856 sv%), though that was still markedly better than Cloutier’s numbers (4.35 GAA, .839 sv%). Had there been a .900 sv% goaltender in all 13 November games, the Kings would have projected to a 9-1-3 month (assuming they lose all 3 OT games), and would be currently sitting in the 6th spot in the west with 31 points.

The Kings need quality goaltending badly, and they certainly are not getting it from Dan Cloutier (the worst goalie in the world, now with a two-year extension!). Now Garon is hurt, and the Kings are prepping for a home-and-home with their neighborhood bully Anaheim Ducks.

In related news, I'm having real trouble getting this ear-to-ear grin off my face. Go get 'em, Ducks.


PJ Swenson said...

The Kings had the best goaltending prospect at the NHL rookie tournament in LA this year, Jonathan Benier.

Along with the Kopitar, he was the best player in the tournament at his position in my opinion. Vlasic picked up those honors on the blueline for SJ.

Bernier was just named QMJHL player of the month:

The defensive player of the month award winner is Lewiston MAINEiacs goaltender Jonathan Bernier. The third-year backstop has played a big part in the rise of the MAINEiacs in the Eastern division standings, where they currently sit in first place thanks to 44 points in 28 games. In ten contests, Bernier boasted nine wins, including a shutout, while posting strong numbers: 2.47 goals-against-average and .912 save percentage.

Seitz said...

They're really screwed by the idiotic waiver rules, too. They basically can't call up Labarbera unless his game completely goes into the tank or he'll be claimed by another team.

But man oh man, Cloutier is just absolutely brutal. He reached new depths of suckitude last night.

Anonymous said...

They're really screwed by the idiotic waiver rules, too. They basically can't call up Labarbera unless his game completely goes into the tank or he'll be claimed by another team.

Yeah, that's how the Ducks lost Michael Leighton... *sigh*

So, who's in goal for the Kings this weekend!

Anonymous said...

That's what happens when you hire one of the worst coaches in the NHL. He brings along his terrible goalie.

"But he won 30 games 3 years in a row in Vancouver!" reply the Canucks fans.

Yeah, behind an offensive machine that could hide his deficiencies.

Bourque in the shootout?! Cloutier for three years?!

Only the man with the squeaky voice could make those brilliant moves.

Sherry said...

Technically he's the worst "goaile" on earth.

Temujin said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you to the Kings for taking that bag of shit off the Canucks' hands.

And Marc Crawford's hair is a feature, not a bug!

Jordi said...

Sherry: So you're waiting for some really bad space goalies?