30 November 2010
After just finished reading an article by Doug Harrison of CBC Sports called it's friends 1st for Lightning goalies I find myself disagreeing with whatever he was trying to write in that article. The positive story about friendship is having me question if the friendship itself is what is holding back this duo. The article speaks of the friendship that Dan Ellis and Mike Smith have had over time, started when they were both drafted into the Dallas organization a year apart.
"A lot of people talk about a competition between goaltenders," Ellis said in a phone interview from Tampa Bay before travelling to Philadelphia. "We're not competing against each other, we're competing against other teams.-CBC Sports
Besides the fact that maybe Smith isn't that good of a goalie since his injury, and maybe Dan Ellis isn't as good of a goalie that he thinks he is, could it be that because there is no heated competition for top spot that it is causing the goaltenders to not be consistent? Like is there less of a motivation to be the #1 goalie when you know that Boucher will alternate between the two of you? Does this mindset of being great friends hurt the goalie tandem?
Read more after the jump...
Although the defence of the Lightning is weak, it is servicible. But what is holding the Lightning back this season has been largely their shaky goaltending. When you can't count on a starter or both goalies to perform well for more than two games in a row, then you aren't going to win games. The Lightning have been held back by this.
So far this season, when the Lightning lose it seems that sometime not enough of the blame is being put on the Lightning's goaltending. I know a loss is a loss, and it really doesn't matter by what margin you lose, but in the two games we've played against the Caps this season, the Lightning have let in six goals each game. SIX. In the first game we played against the Panthers, we let in six. And there are games that we've won despite our goaltending being atrocious (the first Pens game where Smith was pulled, and that 8-7 Philly game).
I was hoping that with Ellis being signed this year, that it would cause him to push Mike Smith to compete for his job. But instead, we have two goaltenders who are about average and can't be counted on to have consistent performances in net. Last year I felt far more confidence when Niittymaki was in net, this year, Ellis doesn't do that for me. And lately, I've felt more confidence in having Smith in net over Ellis, but because of the lack of consistency, that could all reverse when if I were to revisit this topic next week.
So maybe, this whole friendship thing isn't working?
Maybe they are ok with just being mediocre because at the end of the day at least they are friends?
Quite frankly, I don't care how good of friends they are if they aren't winning games.
AP Photo via daylife.com