Is it just me or are the top NHL goalies dropping like flies this year?
First it was Marty Brodeur, Rick DiPietro, Pascale Leclaire, Marc-Andre-Fleury, Evgeni Nabokov, Roberto Luongo, and now it’s latest additions Cam Ward (groin), Marty Biron (shoulder, though he played through it), Kari Lehtonen (back), Nikolai Khabibulin (lower body) and Tim Thomas (illness). What is going on?
Thankfully Leclaire and Nabokov have since returned, but for the others, all staples of their respective organizations, the road to recovery may be a long one. Counting only those above (and excluding Biron), 10 out of the 30 teams have lost their starter goalie at some point during the season… One third. One third of teams’ MVPs have gotten hurt? … Something is seriously wrong with this picture.
Are they not getting enough protection? Are they not well conditioned enough?
Not enough conditioning is very unlikely… goalies like Cam Ward, Roberto Luongo and Marty Brodeur are considered highly athletic. Most of the rest on the injury list are as well. But with so many groin injuries of late, perhaps that area is not being well stretched enough.
Protection? Well it’s a possibility, especially since there are so many injuries specifically affecting goalies … Maybe the padding isn’t sturdy or thick enough, but more pressing is the fact that there has been a lot of crashing the crease lately, and in comparison few goaltender interference calls… Maybe the refs need to step in and protect our guys more often, because without incredibly talented goalies, hockey would become quite the boring sport… what would a goal be without the possibility of a spectacular save? Where would hockey be without the likes of Jacques Plante, Patrick Roy and soon to be record holder (well, once he’s recovered anyway) Marty Brodeur? Let’s just put it this way: I’d rather not find out, though the way things are going, we may find out sooner than we think.