It is official: Pascal Leclaire is out for the season now (Dispatch link here: http://blog.dispatch.com/cbj/2009/01/leclaire_out_for_the_season.shtml). It's such a shame. Obviously, any CBJ fan is overjoyed that Steve Mason has been great in goal. But man, it sucks to lose Pazzy.
Which brings me to this post. So I was checking out Twitter yesterday -- as I recently added a bunch of hockey resources to my "Following" list -- and I stumbled upon this link from canoe.ca (http://vyous.com/sports/nhl/bluejackets/2009/01/19/this-jacket-no-longer-fits---canoeca) from "Dr. Hockey." In it, he talks about Mase's brilliance, obviously... and Pazzy's injury woes. However, he goes rather doom-ish on Pazzy's future, saying he "has gone from being on the verge of star status in the NHL to on the verge of being shipped out of Columbus."Hold on, doctor. All due respect, but I'm gonna call for a second opinion. Aren't we jumping the gun a little here?
A) Don't get me wrong. We all love Steve Mason. However, no one really knows if he is the Second Coming or not. You can't anoint anyone like that based on one season.
B) When Leclaire is healthy, he is very, very good. Don't write him off just yet.
If you dump a good goaltender just because another one gets a little hot streak going, then you end up with a goaltending situation like the Avalanche. David Aebischer was a good goaltender after Patrick Roy retired. Then Peter Budaj got hot, and the Avs made the mistake of trading Aebby away to Montreal for one of the most overrated netminders to ever put on pads (and Jose Theodore wasn't even HEALTHY when the trade was made), and tried to equate it with the Roy trade of '95-'96. Yep... that helped. The Avs' goal situation has been a mess ever since. Now Raycroft is hot, but are they just going to ship Budaj, or are they going to learn from their mistakes?
I'm going to go out on a limb and say Scott Howson can handle this goaltending situation (if there is one) more wisely than Avs GM Pierre Lacroix has handled... well, anything in the past three or four seasons.
Tell you what, Doc. With a healthy Leclaire, the Jackets could have a goaltending tandem that would be the envy of the NHL. Glad I found your column, by the way. It's a good read.
Heal up well, Pazzy. We'll see you in camp in September.
Oilers tonight. Go Jackets!