The Goalie Carousel Gets Going Again

Coach Quenneville has his strengths and his weaknesses.  One of his most glaring weaknesses has always been his complete failure to understand and/or care about goaltenders.  He is notorious for driving goalies crazy.

Well, he's back to his old tricks.  Last season, he tried to rotate Peter Budaj and Jose Theodore back and forth depending on who was winning games.  Win a game, start the next one.  Lose a game, sit out the next one.  

Obviously, any goaltender, no matter how good he is, will lose a game.  Even in all of his multiple 40-win seasons, Martin Brodeur has lost plenty of games, but he doesn't sit out the next one, he gets right back between the pipes and regains his rhythm.  

Unfortunately, Coach Q doesn't understand this concept.  Peter Budaj allowed four goals by the Flames on Tuesday night.  Those goals, even to the acknowledgment of Q himself (middle of the page), weren't really Budaj's fault.  The Avalanche defense played horribly throughout the first period and early into the second, and Budaj was pretty much defenseless.  Q pulled Boots after the fourth goal, which any coach would have done, and put in Theodore.  Theo had a strong outing, stopping all 17 shots he faced---but the Avalanche defense was like a whole different group in front of him compared to how they played for Budaj earlier.  Also, the Flames pretty much quit playing halfway through the game.

Because Theodore looked pretty good for half a game, Coach Q has decided that Budaj should ride the bench against Chicago on Friday night.  How this makes any sense whatsoever I'll never know.  Boots should automatically get the next start to regain his composure and confidence in net---but Coach Q still doesn't consider him the Avs' number one netminder.

So, Theo will no doubt have a poor outing and the Avalanche will most likely lose badly against the Blackhawks on Friday.  That's what he does most consistently.  Budaj will have to wait a week or more before he gets another chance, and his game will no doubt suffer in the long run.  

Just look how well the goalie carousel worked early last season.  Compare the goalie exchange during the first two months of the 2006-07 season and the Avs' record during those games.  Then look at the end of the season.  15-2-2, with Budaj starting (and finishing) almost every game.

Why hasn't that dawned on Coach Q?  EVERYONE else can see it a mile away that Budaj needs consistent starts to really get into his groove.  What more will it take to convince the Colorado coaching staff of this obvious fact?

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