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 - WP: M. Bumgarner 7 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 1
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Houston 85 FINAL
Miami 90
Indiana 89 FINAL
Minnesota 107
Utah 105 FINAL
Oklahoma City 91
Portland 93 FINAL
Denver 75
Phoenix 114 FINAL
LA Lakers 108
LA Clippers 107 FINAL
Golden State 125
San Jose 3 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Rangers 4 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 3
Toronto 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Detroit 1 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 2
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
Carolina 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Dallas 6
Florida 4 FINAL(OT)
Colorado 3
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(OT)
Calgary 1
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
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: Who is your favorite Wild player?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close