Normally, we’d have another installment of Fruit’s epic breakdown of this century’s finest movie inspired by grid-based children’s games, Battleship. But he’s in San Diego fighting fires while drunk or some shit, and I can’t get in the way of such heroism. Plus I feel bad for him, having to live in the shit state of not-California, so let’s just let him enjoy his vacation.
I hit the News tab for this upcoming game against one of our favorite teams, the Minnesota Wild, and nearly fell off my chair. Bruce Boudreau’s cunning mind is set to possibly start Wild backup and Sharks legend Alex Stalock in net for this game.
The name of “Stalock” should bring back a flood of mostly bad memories for Sharks fans. But there was a time where a lot of people thought he was going to be the next great Sharks goaltender, both outside and within the Sharks organ-i-zation.
In 2011, filling in for an injured Antero Niittymaki, he won his first NHL game, and did a quick trip back to Worcester as a conditioning game before rejoining the Sharks in Boston for the rest of their road trip, and likely the season. In that AHL game Dwight King tried to jump over him in a crease-front pile and landed his skate blade on Stalock’s knee. It severed a nerve and a tendon.
After making it back to the NHL, he put in a couple years of sometimes great but increasingly poor games before the Sharks sent him to Toronto as a favor during the trade for James Reimer.
Was it Dwight King’s skate that doomed him here? Was it his lack of size? Or being a reaction-type goalie in a modern NHL that eats reaction goaltenders alive? All three? I have no idea.
When I was watching some videos of the Senators in 1992-93 yesterday, it was striking how awful the goaltending was then, during the golden age of NHL scoring. And it was mostly due to positioning. Almost every goal scored then would be considered a bad goal now, which gigantic rebounds and goalies getting caught cheating by 3-4 feet strong side and not being squared to the shooting lanes. Melker Karlsson would have scored 45 goals in 1992 just hanging out near the crease and taking passes. Pavelski would score 30 goals just on tips from point shots. Goaltenders from the early ‘90s would shit their pants dealing with a mediocre offense like the Sharks.
Anyway, I feel bad for the long-arc career of Alex Stalock. A more ruthless team would have not showed as much loyalty to him, which likely cost the Sharks dearly when they couldn’t get anywhere near decent goaltending from Niemi or Stalock during the reverse sweep. Which is to say, I hope Bruce goes with his gut to start Alex tonight back at the Tank.