With the reassignment of John Grahame to the Monsters of Lake Erie, it would indicate that Craig Anderson is ready to roll. Now whether he jumps right back into action, or he backs up Budaj for a couple of games to ease back into things, he will take over the #1 duties once again - and rightly so.
But before we get to that point, and lest we forget, I want to give Budaj (the much maligned, occasional whipping boy, and perennial SUXXORZ) some love.
So far, Budaj has started 10 games in Anderson's absence (11 starts on the season). His record over those 10 games is 6-3-1, with a 2.62 GAA, a .914 save% and 1 shutout. Those averages best his career averages of 2.74 and .904.
These 10 starts were the most consecutive starts Budaj has had since he started 12 in a row back in Nov. 2-28, 2008. The Slovakian sensation also became the goaltender to play the 3rd most games and attain the 3rd most wins in franchise history, trailing only Patrick Roy (262) and Daniel Bouchard (107) over this stretch.
And Budaj has done all this with a ghastly depleted line up. Hell, Nov 9th against the Flames, Boods had 4 rookie defenseman in front of him. So time to give credit where credit is due: Budaj may have saved the Avs young season. At the very least, Budaj's done the same thing he's done while filling in for Anderson: he's given his team a chance.
What more can you ask of a goalie, especially a back up? Peter Budaj may be the best back up goalie in the league, in every sense of the role: from actual play, to being a teammate, to acting as a makeshift goalie coach and scout, to all-around professional attitude. If the NHL had an award for best back-up goalie (and I think they should, like the NBA's sixth man award), Budaj would finally be #1.
So, Budaj, here's to you:
Heres the season stats for the Avs' masked men (lifted from ColoradoAvalanche.com):
Conspirator's Factoid: Anderson was hurt in pregame warm-ups Oct 26th. He was participating in a drill normally reserved for the back up goalie. So, had Sacco not planned on starting Budaj that night, Anderson would not have been partaking in said drill, and thus would not have been injured. Was he Nancy Kerriganned? And who was that second gunmen on that grassy knoll?
I think it's karma. Sacco snubbed Budaj last season on the game starts, so maybe this was karma coming back around and serving Sacco a cold dish of Peter "fucking start me" Budaj.