Wednesday night, per C-Viv’s twitter, young Ondrej Pavelec will start in goal against the Nashville Predators. It’ll be his second start of the preseason and follows up his impressive performance in Tampa last Friday night where he stopped 29 of the 30 shots he faced in regulation…32 of 34 overall.
How do you feel about Pavelec starting the season in goal?
Total Voters: 93
Couple that with general manager Don Waddell’s statement at a season ticket holder event last week that he expects Pavelec to be the starter for the season opener…just a week and a half away, mind you…and it seems that Opie has the upper hand for the Thrashers’ main gig ‘tween the pipes at this time.
Now, I’m not going to feed you a load of male bovine excretion here by saying that this is making do cartwheels down the isles of Philips Arena. Truth be told, my initial impression is…Pavs? Really? Whiskey…Tango… Foxtrot!?!?
dodging cyber-bricks…Hey, hey now. Don’t get me wrong, gang. I like the kid and feel he’s got a lot of potential at this level. But I’m just a wee-bit concerned here about the Thrashers’ ability to get off to a decent start next month. And that concern is only deepened with the thought of Ondrej and his lifetime 6-10-0 record, 3.42 GAA and .880 SV% minding the store as we await Kari’s return. Personally, I think he still needs some seasoning in Chicago.
I won’t re-hash the abysmal stats from last winter…or discuss much those forgettable games he had against Boston and Pittsburgh, except to say that the memory of those less-than-stellar performances still loom large in my mind. But history doesn’t hold kindly Opie’s record in the NHL. Twice he’s been called upon to fill in when we’ve experienced a “Kari Down” moment. Both times he started off playing well…only to see his performance decline.
Of course, a lot of last season’s play could be attributed to a bad knee, which was addressed during the offseason. However, it is somewhat disconcerting that…given the fact he’s having to start because our oft-injured “goalie of the future” is once again on the shelf, nursing his back that was worked on in July…we are turning this over to a keeper who is, well… coming off an injury.
Again, I think the kid has a lot of talent…a ton of promise. He could very well wind up justifying the faith that the organ-I-zation has placed in him sometime in the not-too-distant-future. But this team cannot afford to dig it’s self into a deep hole to begin the season as it did last year. Given the schedule to begin the year, the one thing that can put them in just that position is inconsistent goaltending.
Also, seeing that there are two vets in camp, one who’s been with the club for a few years now and has earned his teammate’s respect…and how Pavs has performed when he’s been called upon…I can’t say that he’s the one I’d place my confidence in to start the season. I’d be more comfortable with the proven track record that comes with Legace or Moose at this time.
All that having been said… if indeed Opie is the keeper to start the season, I hope the kid proves me 100% wrong and guides the team to a winning record. As stated above, he did have a very good showing against the Bolts a few nights back and he’s got yet another chance Wednesday night to build upon that success. Maybe even a third chance this weekend.
Regardless, I know I’ll be there cheering the kid on.
Prayin’ to God…
Sending good vibes his way…
With my fingers crossed…
Hoping for the best…
Holding my rabbit’s foot…
And a four-leaf clover… if I can find one.
Because if he does perform up to his potential and helps the team get off to a good start…then the Thrashers will have an upper hand on a successful season.