Well where to start…
It was announced earlier today that Stars coach Glen Gulutzan has opted for Kari Lehtonen in goal for the game at Pittsburgh this Friday (11/11). Many (myself included) were quite expecting Raycroft in goal Friday and Kari to feature in the Red Wings game the next day. Historically, Stars fans have seemed somewhat reluctant in regard to games at the Joe Louis Arena but – as he’s been showing from the start – nobody can really seem to predict coach Gulutzan.
So how do we mere fans interpret this? There is the ‘go with the hot goalie’ theory which is great and all but you risk burning said goalie out. That said, by the time the Pittsburgh game comes around, Dallas will have had a 3 day warm-down after the (unbelievable) win against the Capitals. A break which consisted of a well documented days go-karting for the team.
So fine, you ride the hot goalie after a useful team bonding mini-break and go with your backup the next day.
As I mentioned though, whenever Dallas go to the Joe, there is a quite nervous air around Stars fans. Regardless of current form and so on, the mere mention of the Red Wings has Dallas fans looking elsewhere. We don’t fear them. We’re just used to these games being more one-sided in Detroit’s favor than ours.
Andrew Raycroft. Ah Raycroft. A constant scapegoat for previous coach Marc Crawford, he was quite frequently called out after pretty much every game he featured in last term. Raycroft who has played 2, lost 2 and allowed 6 goals in the process. Raycroft who, since allowing 7 goals in a game last season has never quite been the same. Raycroft who quite frankly, is so much better than any of this dictates.
I make no bones about my respect for ‘Razor’ and frequent readers will have read my post after the LA game (a 1-0 loss) in which he fought tooth and nail for 59 minutes solid. The more I think about this goalie decision by Double G, the more it does start to make sense. Raycroft is still very much a goalie with a serious point to prove and what better place to prove it than on Detroit’s home ice? You can imagine the pep-talk Gully will give him. This game is perfectly placed for him to stamp a little authority. Win and all is forgiven. Lose and he’ll come back another day to try again.
That’s essentially the way this league rolls but in all honesty, this post could stand for nothing and Gulutzan may yet have another surprise up his sleeve come Saturday.
Sure is fascinating to be a Stars fan this season.