On Tuesday Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney Used The Teams Failures At Backup Goaltending Play As A Scapegoat For The B’s Struggles
“It’s an area that has put a tremendous amount of pressure on our group. I mean, obviously, Anton [Khudobin] didn’t get off to a great start, and then got injured. That hurt us a little bit. We weren’t looking to accelerate either Zane [McIntyre] or Malcolm [Subban] in that situation. We’ve always had an eye towards the development for both of those players,” said GM Don Sweeney. “Malcolm, the injury last year impacted him a little bit, I believe, and where he is at today. But that’s the depth of the organization. That’s what you want to see. Is there a right time? You’ve seen players from the American Hockey League have the success they’ve had, and they’ve been able to do it at the next level. It hasn’t necessarily materialized at this point for Zane, but he’s undefeated [in the AHL] going in.
“So you think that there would be a level, but it’s a difficult league. We’ve been exposed to that area. It’s put a tremendous amount of pressure on our group overall. That’s part of the equation. It’s on myself and the players themselves need to accept that responsibility that we need to have a better player in that situation, or the players step up and improve their own play.
“Tuukka is our No. 1 and he’s established that. It would be great if your No. 2 [goalie] can come in and push your No. 1. Given him the appropriate and that internal competition I think is always great,” said Cassidy. “We haven’t had that as much as we’d like this year, and we’re all aware of that. Having said that, most teams need both goaltenders playing well in order to win in this league. The odd team can get away with a No. 2 goaltender that’s a .500 goaltender and still make the playoffs because they’re an elite team. But we’re not in that position right now obviously. I defer to goalie Bob [Essensa] on anything with the technical side of it.
“We have discussions about how to defend in front of him, if we’re blocking shots in front or if we’re taking away the strong side or the weak side. Do we box out or front? I think those are the areas where I’ll have a conversation with the goaltender. Playing pucks is something that we’d love to have our goaltenders embracing that part of the game because it always helps your D-corps tremendously when a goaltender can help you once or twice a period on those pucks. As with any other team in this league when your goaltending is good, your coach looks good, your players look good and everyone looks good. When it’s not great it goes the other way. Coaching through goaltending that’s subpar is difficult. It’s a spotlight position.”
A lot to read from Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney on the goaltending situation that has honestly killed the team for the better part of the last three seasons ever since former backup netminder Chad Johnson took his talents to the New York Islanders.
Trading for a back-up goalie is pricey and a foolish one for a team that cannot afford to sell of any long term assets given the fact that even a solid back goaltender will not push the team closer to a Stanley Cup that is far from their reach.
Sweeney atleast has acknowledged the backup failures, and maybe, just maybe the team responds to the firing of Head Coach Claude Julien and the strong words of GM Don Sweeney who is now coaching for his job at this point.
This team is in no position to make a run or make a trade that will make them an instant cup contender. The best way forward is to hope that the young players develop and other prospects such as Charlie McAvoy pan out down the road.