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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Season (P)Review: Jason Labarbera

Last Season: 39 W, 2.20 GAA, .933 GAA (AHL)

Word That Best Describes His Season: Frustrating.

I am hereby declaring a moratorium on all King’s goaltending talk until the season begins. Yes, everyone knows Cloutier sucked last year. Yes, everyone knows the Kings didn’t bring in a goaltender during the off-season. (Who the hell were they supposed to bring in anyway? The Sharks probably wouldn’t have sent Toskala to L.A. and Manny Fernandez isn’t any better than what we have now. Please, tell me.) Let’s just shut up about it until we know if it’s actually something to be concerned about.

That save was unproven.

The biggest problem I have with the articles (here’s the latest one) that claim that the Kings are doomed because of their goaltending is that they just completely dismiss Jason Labarbera. He’s not some unproven 21 year-old kid; he’s 27 and played well in his first NHL action two years ago before something happened with his personal life that caused him to miss about a month of the season. He’s won the Baz Bastien award (the AHL’s Vezina) twice and was completely dominant down there last year. He would have been starting for the Kings by November last year if they had been able to call him up. I would be shocked if Labarbera has a save percentage less than .905 at the end of the season. He’s the kind of guy that will start off playing well and then the same idiots who wrote that the Kings were doomed will write new articles talking about how he came out of nowhere.


I know that I probably get more annoyed than most because I read every single article that comes out about the Kings, but seriously people, it takes 15 seconds to type “Jason Labarbera” into Google and find his stats on Hockeydb.com or something. If Labarbera can play like he did two years ago (when he had a 2.89 GAA and a .900 Sv. %), then I think we’ll be okay. Not great, but okay. Until the situation changes, why don’t we all just take a deep breath.


Also, Eklund thinks the Kings have a shot at signing Selanne. I don't even know what to say to that.


Earl Sleek said...

Jeez, Eklund.

Markov to Ducks (e3)...

Because Schneider's out four weeks?

That would be the third Red Wing UFA signed this summer for Burke, if true. At least it would make the Niedermayer decision easier, I guess.

dbushik said...

Yeah, one of my big frustrations with many hockey writers is they don't do their home work. Like you said, it takes seconds to verify a piece a information. I'm not being paid to write hockey full time, yet in spite of my day job eating up so much time, I can usually get it right where these guys talk out their asses instead.

All the goaltending talk of how it's the weak link here is justified, but like you said, at least these guys could do some homework and present an opinion with a little insight sprinkled in.

Actually the controversy right now in the crease is that Bernier is making it hard for the team to send him back to juniors. He's looking like our best goalie right now. Now there is a story to explore.

And as far as that fraud goes, it's best not to mention him at all.

RudyKelly said...

The thing about Bernier is that Lombardi has a reputation for bringing his goaltenders along slowly; Nabokov, Toskala and Kiprusoff didn't make their debuts in the NHL until they were around 24 or 25. I think Bernier will get a lot of praise and then get sent off to Juniors again. (It's ridiculous to me that he can't play ECHL or AHL, but that's besides the point.) I'm not sure if that's the right thing to do, but it does seem to be what Lombardi is going to do.

dbushik said...

Yeah, I do think that's likely what is going to happen, but that's the interesting story around goaltending. I don't think it's a good idea to bring a 19 year old kid in and put that kind of responsibility on him. There have been very few cases of that working well.

You want to see the kid get games and build confidence. In the NHL both of things are likely to not happen. Yeah, you get your Barrasso every now and then, but look at Storr. Had he actually been given time to develop in the minors, I kind of think he would have.

KMS2 said...

I read some article, probably by Hradek or Burnside, in which LaBarbera was called a minor league goalie. At the time I wished I was reading a hard copy of it because I wanted to rip it to shreds!! And the article didn't even mention anything about him ripping it up down there or about his fairly successful stint with the Kings before his family thing.

RudyKelly, are you planning on going to the "High Tea with Kings"?