The Only Goalie Controversy: Do We Have A Good One Anywhere?

OK Sean, I'll bite. Ever since Keenan ran Curtis Joseph off (and left the Blues without a goalie coach-a situation which would haunt them for YEARS), the team philosophy was to draft backups and pick up a #1 netminder through free agency. Good goalies are a dime-a-dozen on the FA market, and if you have a good team, a good goalie will get you fairly deep into the playoffs. (Sound familiar?)


However, difference-makers in net are rare, and once a team gets one, they hang on to him at all costs. These guys are hard to find on the FA market, instead, they are used as trade bait if you get a surplus. I think the bigger question is, why can't the Blues organization develop goalies?

Brent Johnson: talent, no coach, no one to kick him in the ass and make him work in practice every day. Biggest problem: poor technique overall. Still haunts him as a backup in Washington. Watched him give up two sharp-angle goals last year in the 5-3 loss to the Blues.

Jason Bacashuiua: Failed to reach potential, turned into a goalie who could either steal or give away a game. When Blues acquired him, he was rated as one of the top 3 NHL goaltending prospects at his age/experience level. Biggest problem: rebounds, poor technique on angles.

Marek Schwarz: When I saw this kid in his first NHL game, I was enthusiastic. He was raw, but he had "IT". Other organizations thought so, too. (Brian--help me out here.) Now, he's extremely inconsistent, and has gotten worse, not better. Biggest problem: rebounds, lack of concentration.

Hannu Toivonen: Biggest problem: Can't deal with giving up goals. Head case with severe confidence issues. Until he realizes that goalies have to have short-term memory (just like baseball closers, NFL cornerbacks, basketball shooters) and you can't worry about the last one that you didn't stop, his talent and size don't mean shit.

Ben Bishop: He's HUGE. He has great lateral movement. Biggest current problem: rebounds. Ken Dryden made his living by being fundamentally perfect, limiting rebounds, and letting his size do the rest.  Why can't Bishop do the same?  Why can't Bishop be taught the same way?

Once they committed to growing a good goaltender, I think that the Blues have drafted talent; it just never seems to develop. Organizational failing or just bad luck? That's the next question I want to ask JD next chance I get.


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