Do The Thrashers Have Large Talons?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Shocker Switcheroo: Moose in and Kari out!

In a move that left me temporarily slack jawed Coach Hartley has decided to go with Hedberg over Lehtonen in Game 2. Wow. Is this over reacting or pushing the right buttons? Did Hartley just go double of nothing with his own job? Let's discuss.

A few years ago the Red Wings had two goalies, a young Chris Osgood and a veteran Mike Vernon and Coach Bowman surprised many by starting the veteran Vernon who backstopped them all the way to the Stanley Cup Championship. Also the Minnesota Wild rotated two goalies in their only prior playoff appearance and it worked pretty well for them as they advanced to the Western Conference Finals. Then last year the Carolina Hurricanes tossed their presumed #1 guy Gerber to the curb and rode Cam Ward to the Cup.

Now I've listed three examples were it worked out well, but generally in the history of the NHL playoffs switching goalies is regarded as a sign of desperation--and it is usually associated with losing teams. As someone once said about quarterback controversies in football "If there's a controversy it means neither is good enough."

Hedberg has played extremely well in his last three starts. He is also very popular in the locker room and his teammates voted him the Players Player Award thing. They will work hard for him next game I'm sure.

Here's what I don't like about it. If Hartley thinks so highly of Hedberg why didn't he give him more starts in the regular season? Back when Scotty Bowman went with Mike Vernon he gave him key regular season starts against Colorado to give him work versus top teams so he would be ready come playoff time. Also in the case of the Minnesota Wild Roloson and Fernandez had spit the starts almost evenly the entire year so it they simply carried that over to the post-season.

Why only give Lehtonen only one game when Sutton has received a free pass all year? Now it may be that Coach hopes that if he goes back to Kari he will be all mad and play great, but if Moose wins on Saturday, I doubt he goes back to Lehtonen. So in other words Kari only gets a start if Moose loses Game 2. Then you'll be down 0-2 on the road and THEN you're going to stick a rookie back into the nets? Seems like a potential disaster to me.

I will say this about Hartley, he actually scratched one of his favorites for Game 1 when he benched Vigier. Personally I'm all for holding the players more accountable, but why did he wait all season? The Kovalchuk benching versus Washington was very late in the season. Why do De Vries and Sutton get free passes after stinker games when there sits McCarthy who needed to get some game action?

Bottom line--I think Hartley's job depends on how this turns out. By suddenly changing up the goalies after just one game, Hartley has put the focus on the coach and not on the player's performance. If it doesn't work and the team losses in the first round I wouldn't be surprised in the least of he is fired/not renewed for next season.

5 Comments:

  • I really don't agree too much about benching Kari. Talk about an ego shot. I read the AJC.com article on it and I was shocked. Lehtonen was even shocked. He said that he could be back in net IF they go far. I don't like the sounds of that in the least. Kari should get at least this next game, if not more. I've said it before, I think it was just nerves. Kari was anxious about the game, and the 38 shots on him didn't help. Not to mention the rest of the Thrashers lack of shots on goal (Only 24! What's that about?)

    I have a bad feeling about this. This whole switch up can go from bad to worse in a spilt second.

    By Blogger Looters Jr., at 3:41 PM  

  • Hartley may be playing some Keenan-like mindgames, but it seems very suspect to make the switch after The Kid's first playoff performance. I could see it after consecutive losses, but this seems a bit premature . . .

    By Blogger eternal_fields, at 3:54 PM  

  • I think Hartley is crazy. The move screams "panic" at a time when panic is not necessary. I don't get it.

    Please, hockey gods, let Hartley be right.

    By Anonymous silverpork, at 4:05 PM  

  • I agree with most everyone. I figured Hartley would make the switch only if the Thrashers lost game 2. But give Hartley some credit he has playoff experience and a Stanley Cup under his belt. It does scream panic, but maybe the panic and perhaps pressure is from the higher ups say Don Waddell it is his head thats on the chopping block this year. Just a thought.

    By Anonymous Thrashers unkie, at 10:00 PM  

  • Relax Thrasherland. Bringing Moose in now is a brilliant move by Hartley. Today, MOOOOOSSSE - on Tuesday BOOOOO, as #1 shuts em' down again.

    By Blogger Man or Moose, at 8:28 AM  

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