Simply Rest the Best

March 2, 2012 at 2:41 am Leave a comment


Naturally you play you’re best goalie every night when it comes to playing in the National Hockey League. But when is every night too much? The majority of teams discover the answer to this question the difficult way year in and year out. But the Boston Bruins demonstrated to us all last year how to solve this problem, just have a good enough backup goalie that you feel confident not playing your number one keeper night in and night out. Tim Thomas was fully rested and ready for the playoffs, where he could play every game without worrying about fatigue and wearing down. Tuukka Rask started 27 games last year, and has tallied 21 starts this year, enabling Tim Thomas to rest one every three to four games on average. Claude Julien has perfected this art, and one coach is following his lead quite well this season.

John Tortorella, the coach of the New York Rangers has been taking a different approach to his goaltending situation this year. Typically you would see Henrik Lundqvist, one of the best goalies year in and year out, playing at least 70 games. However, this will not even be possible this year, seeing as his backup Martin Biron has started 16 games already this year, and has subbed in well, winning 11 games and posting a 2.2 GAA and saving 91% of the sh ots he faced. The biggest impact he has had has been on Lundqvist though, as he is posting outrageous and unanimous Vezina numbers. Lundqvist is only allowing 1.75 goals, saving 94% of the shots and has won 30 games, yet again. Lundqvist plays lights out night in and night out, and could even have an argument for the MVP Award, only behind Malkin and Stamkos. I applaud Julien and Torts for this approach because it seems to work in favor of your goalkeeper.

So, as all coaches and general managers should learn from these two teams in the past two years now. Resting your starter just about once a week, should keep him healthy and ready for the playoffs. Only time will tell how Lundqvist will fare in the playoffs but by being rested and already posting stellar numbers, he should be more than prepared for a long playoff run with rested legs and no fatigue underneath him.

Those are my two cents … cash them in if you dare!

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