James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Rolling with the punches

Friday, March 08, 2013


Every now and then, you just have to take one on the nose.

 

Jacob Markstrom learned that last night, probably as harshly as he can remember. OK, maybe there have been other comparatively low moments in his career, even at 23. Surely there have been some bad days in Sweden; it’s the nature of the beast for goalies.

 

Still, it’s unlikely he’s experienced many - if any - that are within a stone’s throw of being as prominent as being pulled following on an 0-for-2 night in the NHL. An 0-for-2 mark is a bummer for a baseball player, let alone a goalie. Markstrom saw three minutes and 10 seconds of game time on Thursday before head coach Kevin Dineen gave him the hook.

 

(Oddly enough, his injured pal Jose Theodore can relate. He allowed two goals on two shots before getting yanked during his days with the Washington Capitals, the very franchise that embarrassed Markstrom last night.)

 

Sure, it’s probably a slight solace that Scott Clemmensen didn’t fare much better, allowing five more goals in a 7-1 shellacking. If nothing else, it might increase the chances of Markstrom getting a quicker opportunity to redeem himself.

 

LEAVING A MARK

 

Of course, if you started Markstrom excitedly after stopping 30 of 31 shots in a win on Tuesday, you probably aren’t feeling too Zen-like about that game. According to Yahoo fantasy, he logged a ludicrous 37.89 GAA last night. However that figures into weekly numbers I’m not 100 percent sure,* it has a great chance of ruining your outlook in the GAA and save percentage categories. And, yes, it’s pretty weird to have such an awful start and not get a single measly save.

 

Hopefully it doesn’t totally sour you on a guy who boasts intriguing potential, although I’d understand if you have some short-term qualms. There are two ways he can react (assuming he gets another chance fairly soon): he can bounce back in a big way by harnessing the negative energy of that failure or he can lose confidence for a long stretch.

 

It’ll be interesting to see if we’ll look back at Thursday as a formative experience for a rising star or a bright red flag that he wasn’t worthy of the hype he’s carried for some time. (Or something in between.)

 

Florida plays on Friday night. It’ll also be interesting to see if Dineen goes with Clemmensen or allows Markstrom a chance to quickly clean the slate.

 

NOT ALONE

 

If you subscribe to the “misery loves company” line of thought, at least there were quite a few goalies not Jacob Markstrom who experienced miserable nights on Thursday.

Really, two who shouldn’t be shocking were Ilya Bryzgalov and Marc-Andre Fleury, at least because their teams were facing off. Blame it on two offensive locomotives, inconsistent defenses or the netminders themselves, but we’ve been through the high-scoring Pens-Flyers game plenty of times before. Neither goalie made it through the muck of that exciting and odd game, allowing Tomas Vokoun to get a win and Brian Boucher to get hosed with a loss.

 

Earlier this week, Pekka Rinne got pulled playing against the Los Angeles Kings. Mike Smith went through the anomaly struggle last night, allowing six goals against the St. Louis Blues.

 

Jonathan Quick’s hot-and-cold act seem to continue as well; while four goals allowed doesn’t hit you in the head with a hammer, he only faced 21 shots against the Dallas Stars. It remains difficult to argue against the idea that Jonathan Bernier deserves continued looks for the Kings.

 

Generally, it was a night where quite a few netminders had it rough, fair or not. (Most unfair? Ryan Miller was given an overtime loss after making four out of four saves in six minutes of time in relief of Jhonas Enroth because he couldn’t pull out a shootout win. Funny how NHL stats pan out sometimes.)

 

After the jump: mid-level masters and more.

 

* - Things get a little weirder when they’re prorated/when goalies play small amounts of a game.


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James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than two years. Follow him on Twitter.
Email :James O'Brien



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