Friday, 11 December 2015

Fundaments of a losing streak

MIKE CONDON 25 saves 27 shots SV%: .926

Cory Schneider SA: 25 saves 27 shots SV%: .926

Canadiens 3, Devils 2 (SO)


CORY SCHNEIDER SA: 32 Saves: 30 SV%: .938

MIKE CONDON SA: 31 Saves: 28 SV%: .903

Canadiens 2, Devils 3 (OT)


SERGEI BOBROVSKY SA: 26 Saves: 24 SV%: .923

MIKE CONDON SA: 23 Saves: 22 SV%: .957

Canadiens 2, Blue Jackets 1


BRADEN HOLTBY SA: 35 Saves: 33 SV%: .943

MIKE CONDON SA: 19 Saves: 16 SV%: .842

Canadiens 2, Capitals 3


MIKE CONDON SA: 29 Saves: 26 SV%: .897

CAM WARD SA: 38 Saves: 36 SV%: .947

Canadiens 2, Hurricanes 3


TUUKKA RASK SA: 33 Saves: 32 SV%: .970

MIKE CONDON SA: 23 Saves: 20 SV%: .870

Canadiens 1, Bruins 3


I think these are the important stats that are overlooked or underdiscussed.

I’m not pointing fingers or expecting too much out of a rookie NHL goalie like Mike Condon, just stating a fact, that our goalie is not giving us good or great performances right now. If he makes one extra save every couple of games, we’re not going through this rough patch. The squib goals that he allows now and then aren’t of the Ken Dryden or Grant Fuhr flavour, they’re not forgivable given the circumstances. He’s giving them up when the game is very much on the line.

Our roster was built a certain way, and we’ve been running with rookie backup goalies for two seasons now, instead of a trusty vet or a whiz kid destined for great things. We saved a few bucks on the salary cap, but were exposed if an injury occurred to our star netminder.

In the NFL, there’s a debate on how to go about building your roster when it comes to the quarterback position. Some teams buy insurance with a talented veteran who can play three or four games and provide quality starts, who’ll ‘manage the game’. Others scrimp by getting someone off the scrap heap, or a young kid drafted late and trying to develop him during the season, and then cross their fingers that their starter remains healthy. They then can turn around and spend the extra dough they saved on a veteran offensive lineman to protect the star quarterback against injury, or to get depth in the defensive backfield.

This is filtered through the acknowledgement that there aren’t enough quality QB’s to give every team a dependable starter, there are maybe 12 or 15 teams who are comfortable with their starter and aren’t actively looking for an upgrade. So the rationale is that if your starter goes down, your season is shot anyway, you don’t have a chance, so why bother searching for a backup, build around your starter and keep your fingers crossed, some analysts advocate.

In the NHL though, that’s not really the case. The dropoff from a starter to a backup goalie is much smaller than is the case for NFL QB’s. You can invest in a quality backup at a very affordable price.

So the brain trust kind of rolled the dice when they decided to start the season with Mike Condon as the backup. He’s big and athletic and improving by leaps and bounds every season, but he still has a ways to go. He’d have been adequate as a backup getting 12-15 starts, but is now wilting under the workload, the pressure. He may return to form, but it might be wise to look for help, unless the brain trust is content to let the team work through this adversity.

In the meantime, as a fanbase, what we can do is not lose our marbles and start blaming Max Pacioretty and demean his captaincy, or assume that everything will be okay once Torrey Mitchell returns. Our team is playing a little tighter with Mike Condon allowing a deflating goal here and there. They’re not flying all over the ice with confidence, as they would if Carey was back there.


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