Gotta say, these playoffs so far have been tremendously tremendous. OT’s almost every night (no skills competitions, either).
And with a few exceptions—the Flyers’ rotation, and for a while there, Roberto Luongo, to name a couple—the goaltending has been spectacular, starting right with one of the first goalies eliminated, Henrik Lundqvist.
Tim Thomas was inexplicably amazing last night in the CoreStates Spectrum, er, First Union, er, Wachovia, I mean, Wells Fargo, ah, whatever the hell it’s called these days. Pekke Rinna (Romano) was even better the other night. Jimmy Howard, too, and Anti (Em) Niemi. Oh, and the old guy, Dwayne Roloson, who hit the lottery when the Islanders gave him away to Tampa Bay.
But I’ve been biting my tongue, because, well, there’s no byfuglien room for people to score. The games have been vicious, they’ve been loaded with skill and will, and players working so hard for every inch of ice. And then, they get a chance, and there’s no bryzgalov room. None. Some goals are scored on perfect, unsuspected shots. Most, though, are going in off skates and deflections and aasens. Or they aren’t going in.
Because there’s no hartnelling room.
Because the equipment these big goalies are now wearing—these big goalies who go to the ice and cover the entire six-foot width with their leg pads—is too damn big. The equipment has robbed us of goal after goal after goal. And I’m not taking anything away from the goalies. They are terrific athletes and they all (except maybe Thomas) have wonderful technique.
But these are skinny guys. I’ve eaten sandwiches that weigh more than Lundqvist and Ryan Miller.
But when they put their Superhero uniforms on, suddenly they’re Refrigerator Perry. The spare tire in my trunk is smaller than their gloves. My golf bag is smaller than their shoulder pads. My Weber grill is smaller than their blockers. And I’m pretty sure the twin beds in my hotel in Washington last week were smaller than their leg pads.
So these goaltenders walk into the lockerroom looking like Olive Oyl, and walk out like Shaquille O’Neal.
And the NHL wonders where the heck the goals went?
AP photo, above.