If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know I don’t bother hiding my love for the puck-stopping masked bandits of the hockey crease. I live for the sprawling pad stops, sick glove saves, quirky personalities, and those unique goalie masks (shout out EYECANDYAIR). Now that the Hurricanes season has come to an end, here is my look back at Carolina’s crease performance.
Now, instead of spewing facts you already know, I thought it would be fun to do this post interview style. Although, this required me to interview myself. Good thing I am crazy enough to pull it off…
KP Kelly: Hey KP, how are things?
The Real KP: Hi yourself! It’s been a rough year, but you know…you were there.
KPK: This is awkward. Let’s move on to the questions. Sum up the Canes’ goaltending in one word.
KPK: Fair enough. How about a goalie summary in one sentence?
TRKP: Cam Ward carried the crease on his back…again.
KPK: I would agree (shocking). Wasn’t this season supposed to be different with bringing on Brian Boucher?
TRKP: Yes, Canes acquired the veteran goaltender on July 1, 2011, after he played five seasons with Philadelphia, in hopes he would bring relief to Ward as a solid backup. However, he acquired an injury that kept him out for nearly 40 games between December and March. In the ten games in which he did compete, he posted one win, six loses with a .881 save percentage. Not exactly the solid backup goalie we intended for Ward.
KPK: Do you think if he hadn’t been injured, we would have seen a different performance from Boucher?
TRKP: Perhaps, it is hard to say. He had a solid career before Carolina, but perhaps he is nearing the end of his career at age 35. He signed a two year contract with the Canes, so unless something happens, we can see how he does next year.
KPK: Some history-making records were made by Carolina goaltending this season. Can you tell us about it?
TRKP: Oh yeah. Cam Ward broke a franchise record with 47 saves in the game that sealed the series sweep against Boston. He also tied the Hartford/Carolina franchise record with his 20th career shutout. Ward also led all East Conference goalies in saves with 1,961. Only Pekka Rinne made more stops. Another record was made by Mike Murphy, of the Canes’ AHL affiliate, when he was called up during Boucher’s injury and broke NHL history as the only goalie to earn a loss without giving up a goal. In 36 minutes with the Canes, Murphy didn’t give allow a puck to slip past him.
KPK: Yes, yes, we know you love yourself some Murph. What does Ward’s save record say about the Canes?
TRKP: The defensive tactics are lacking for the Carolina Hurricanes. How long can Cam continue to carry the majority of the defense?
KPK: I’ll be asking the questions here, thank you. How long can Cam continue to carry the majority of the defense?
TRKP: That’s a great question. Ward has proved he has the calm and focused attitude it takes to be a Hurricanes’ netminder. Although, that is not to say he had his rough moments this season. Caniacs won’t soon forget a typically mellow Cam visibility upset after being pulled in a December contest against Winnipeg. The Carolina defense has been a notable flaw for a few seasons, but I think the team is moving in the right direction. Kirk Muller has been a positive impact on the Canes’ performance and rookie, Justin Faulk, has proved a worthy d-man for the organization. As for the forwards, Jeff Skinner has improved his defensive plays (minus the frustrated outbursts) while Ruutu and LaRose provide great forechecking skills. As a whole, the team could step up their defensive talents. So, to answer your question, Cam Ward won’t faulter in his performance, but we won’t make the playoffs without a complete team.
KPK: I couldn’t have said that better myself.
TRKP: I know.