Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Obvious Choice

Shortly after posting my thoughts yesterday on the Blues goaltending situation, the management called a press conference and did what they had to do--give up on another highly-paid goaltender who came to the team with great expectations. Patrick Lalime is another in a line of failed attempts to remedy an on-going Blues nightmare at the most important position in hockey.

Hopefully, one of the "young guns" in the organization will grow into the position and become the steady player we've been looking for. Will it be Curtis Sanford? Jason Bacashuhua? Or one of the other highly touted youngsters toiling in the minors? Apparently the organization has already given up on Reinhard Divis as an NHL-caliber player.

At this stage of the game, I'm hoping that the team is patient with the situation and allows these younger guys some time to grow into a comfort zone. Being an NHL starting goaltender is pressure enough without the added expectation of immediate success. Sanford, 26, has shown the ability to play well at this level, maybe not as consistently as we'd like. But then he doesn't have the 1960's Canadiens playing in front of him either. He seems to have good puck awareness. Something that Lalime was way short on for some odd reason.

Bacashuhua is a 23-year-old who was drafted in the first round a few years back by the Dallas Stars. He obviously has the tools that teams are looking for in a modern goalie; more so than Sanford. Sanford is a little undersized and relies on athleticism and concentration to get him by. Bacahuhua will have the size to cover more of the goal on a consistent basis and make the saves up high that Sanford will likely let in.

Who knows if either of these guys are the answer to the problem for the long term. But we need to remember that they are young, and being asked to play a position that experts say you can not master until you approach 30 years of age. I hope we as fans, and the Blues as a team, are not going to expect immediate stardom from whoever is between the pipes after this Lalime debacle. Give someone a chance to take command of the situation by showing them some confidence, and see what happens. How could things possibly get worse?

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