Scoggins: Roulette in net has become the norm for the Wild

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 5, 2014 - 12:11 AM

Four starters have taken turns making big saves, but can such an arrangement succeed in the playoffs?

hide

Ilya Bryzgalov, acquired at the trade deadline, has boosted the Wild’s playoff hopes by posting a 4-0-3 record.

Photo: Seth Wenig • Associated Press,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Wild ran out of healthy goalies this week so former playoff hero Andrew Brunette had to put on size XXL pads and serve as a proxy during one practice.

Brunette’s stumble-bumble routine provided some good laughs, but it also underscored the Wild’s precarious goaltending situation as a playoff berth inches closer to reality.

Injuries have forced the Wild to give the crease to its fourth No. 1 goalie of the season, Ilya Bryzgalov, who was supposed to be nothing more than an insurance rental when he was acquired via trade one month ago. Suddenly, Bryzgalov might be the most important player on the roster.

If Bryzgalov can maintain his hot hand and recapture whatever it was that made him effective in previous stops, the Wild can enter the playoffs reasonably confident in its ability to compete. If Bryzgalov implodes, the Wild might have exhausted its options.

Where have you gone, Roli the Goalie?

Seriously, what a weird season it’s been for the Wild at the most critical position in hockey. The team should have attached a turnstile to the goal and charged admission.

Niklas Backstrom began the season as the No. 1 option until he got injured.

Then, Josh Harding saved the season until he experienced complications related to his multiple sclerosis.

Then, young Darcy Kuemper saved the season until he started to falter and suffered an injury.

Now, it’s Bryzgalov’s turn to save the season and buoy the Wild’s playoff hopes.

“This year has been a goaltender-by-committee scenario, and that’s probably not the way you want to do it every year,” Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher said. “It’s been a strange season, but we’ve had four goaltenders play for us that have played extremely well.”

This revolving-door routine is far from ideal, but it’s not necessarily outside the norm, not even for playoff teams. The Wild used four goalies and made the playoffs last season. That was different though, because Backstrom started 41 of the 48 regular-season games.

Chicago and Colorado also have used four goalies this season and already have secured playoff berths. Three teams — Boston, Florida and Ottawa — made the playoffs despite using four goalies in 2011-12, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

The Wild dressed its seventh different goalie — John Curry — for Thursday’s game at Chicago, a number that seems unfathomably high, except it’s not even the most in the NHL this season. Edmonton has dressed eight goalies, according to Elias.

The Wild’s situation appears particularly unusual because each goalie was asked to fill a significant void. It’s not as if the Wild only needed a spot start here or there to give the main guy a breather.

Harding leads the pack with 29 games played. By comparison, the Wild has had a goaltender play in at least 42 games in every season of its existence.

Here’s another way to look at it: The Wild started four different goalies in five games against the Blackhawks this season.

“At the time, none of the goalies that we started were our backup,” Fletcher noted. “We played what we felt to be our best goaltender at that time. It’s been unusual to say the least.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Carolina 6:00 PM
Columbus
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Detroit
Montreal 7:30 PM
Chicago
Arizona 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close