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the golden age of NHL goaltenders

June 3, 2010

I played a lot of ice hockey growing up, and to me there is nothing better than Stanley Cup hockey.  I usually follow the NHL once the playoffs start.  The regular season has its bright spots, but the games are hard to find on TV most of the time.  After watching the Blackhawks take down the Flyers 6-5 in game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, there was something really bothering me.  Most hockey fans prefer to see low scoring, and great goaltending.  2-1 and 1-0 types of games are a lot more entertaining to a passionate hockey fan like myself.  Since hockey has originated, the goalie has been the most important position.  Defense wins championships, and in hockey the last line of defense is the goalie.  Patrick Roy, Domenik Hasek, and Martin Brodeur are three of the best goaltenders of all time.  They have countless accolades amongst each other, but most importantly, they showed up to the rink game after game, and were the anchors for their teams.  Nowadays goalie changes during games aren’t a rarity.  There have been numerous goalie pulls throughout the 2010 NHL playoffs.  Goalies have bad nights, but lately it seems as though a couple bad goals and even a top NHL goalie could be riding the bench.  The goaltending position has gone from the cornerstone of the team, to the position just to “get by”.  After Martin Brodeur retires, I feel as though all of the old generation goalies will be extinct, and the NHL will completely be transitioned into the 2 goalie system.  This kind of reminds me of the NFL and two tailback system.  The NFL used to only rely one 1 very good running back.  The game has become more gruesome, and more than 1 running back is needed in order for a team to run the ball efficiently throughout the year.  Maybe the same can be said in hockey, has the competition and pace of the game in professional sports changed that much over the past few years?  These trends seem to point in that direction.

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