Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lost and Found

                                                         Al Montoya (March 1, 2011 - Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)
As a goalie, when your given a shot to play at any level you need to take full advantage of that opportunity.  When this opportunity happens, the goalie’s play will ultimately affect their ice time and where they will end up.  You already know this.  So much will go into this moment of a goalies career, but for some, they might not get that opportunity.
Take a look at Ari Ahonen. He was a 1st round draft pick by the New Jersey Devils as a promising goalie in 1999.  I personally was a big Ahonen fan feeling he could be the goalie of the future or culminate into some great trade bait.  This never happened; he was never given that opportunity.  For a lot of pro goalies, they get lost in a team’s system and personally, I know, it sucks.
Even though sometimes a goalie may get lost in a team’s system, that opportunity may show up later.  Al Montoya.  This guy is good.  I was one of those who cast him off when I saw him play in the Rangers system.  I was told by a buddy of mine that when he was at camps and practicing with the team he was nervous, “star struck,” and couldn’t stop a beach ball.  He ended up in Phoenix.  When given the opportunity in the show, finally after 4 plus years in the minors maturing, he made the most of it going 3-1 and had a 2.08 GAA and .925 save percentage.  But he ended up getting “lost” again due to a few experienced goalies on the team. 
Now he is in Long Island; again showing he can play in the NHL and seizing the opportunity presented to him.  His goals against average is 1.94 and has a .931 save percentage in 9 games and he’s playing outstanding for the Islanders.  I am so psyched for this guy.  I hope he ends up on a team in the NHL, playing next year.  He deserves to be in the NHL and his play is giving teams a reason to want him on their team in the NHL.