Thursday, January 13, 2011

Auld fired up

Alex Auld defends his crease. Photo: Getty Images

They say that an army is as only as good as the guys behind the front line.  

That can so be said for a hockey team; the guys that have been charged with the support roles make it easier for the big guns to do their job. To that end, this year for the Canadiens backup goalie Alex Auld plays the role of reserve infantry to starter Carey Price's heavy tanks.

From the moment that it had been announced that Auld had signed on as the number two guy, there has been much second-guessing of the choice from many fans an media alike. Halfway through the season, though, Auld is doing everything that he can to prove that he is the right guy for the job. And it's not an easy one; being a backup goalie means working your butt of to be ready for playing time that could come today, tomorrow, next week, or even next month. You can be called on for spot duty, a scheduled start, to play in event of an injury, or even take the reigns of the starters' role should circumstances dictate.

With Carey Price so far having shouldered the bulk of the goaltending load, Auld is on pace to play in just 10 games this season. Expect that number to rise, though, as the Habs get deeper into the season and look to lighten Price's workload, especially on back-to-back game nights. 

Auld's performace to this point in the season should make it easier for Coach Martin to make that decision, too;  his 3-2-0 record, with a .941 save percentage and a 1.74 goals against average, though over a small sample size, exhibit that he is doing what he needs to be done outside of game action to be ready for when he does get the call.

If you were to ask him, Alex might say that the reason for his strong play would be his willing acceptance of his backup role. Last year, split between Dallas and the Rangers, he appeared in 24 games, with 20 starts; only three other times in his 10 seasons has he started more than 20 games, and in his only full-fledged season as a starter (2005-06) in 64 start he was 33-23-6, 2.94 GAA and a save percentage of just .902.

Hey, some guys just aren't built to shoulder the entire load, and that's cool. The best teams are populated by players that have defined roles that best make use of that player's abilities. It's called "playing withing yourself".

And for this year's edition of Alex Auld, it's a damn fine place to be.
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2 comments:

Big Bad Bruins said...

Is this a fucking joke , is this a hab clan for all you cocksuckers to rally together , just face it pitsburgh kicked your ass lastnight and Fleury mocked your piece of shit goalie , and for PK nigger Subban i would skin him on the ice at the bell centre then wear his big nigger lips on a necklace , GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BRUINSSSSS !!!!

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