Silver Linings

As I write this, my IceHL Washington Sentinels are a mere 48 or so hours away from mercifully wrapping up our epic pasting at the hands of the Saskatoon Sharpshooters. And yet I'm not particularly unhappy.

Fresh off the draft and before the season started, Chris hosted a live chat here at Icethetics, and among his questions to those attending was simply "which team looks good?" Having looked over the rosters only briefly, Saskatoon was the first one to really jump out at me, and I said so. Top-notch scorers up front in Stamkos and St. Louis, some solid D, and better-than-average goalies in Quick and Halak. I didn't even realize at the time that they were my opening week matchup, but when I found out, I knew I'd have my hands full.

Did we ever.

On the strength of big weeks from the aforementioned Lightning, err, Sharpshooters, and a 3G/1A output from Brandon Dubinsky, the Saskatoon offense has already put up 104 points — more than enough for a comfortable lead over my motley crew all by themselves. But the goalies are what really did me in.

Right before opening night, Saskatoon swooped in and grabbed Flyers rookie Sergei Bobrovsky, and with Halak and Quick, the group has combined to go 6-1 with only 12 goals against. Their collective performance this week has produced a whopping 49.6 points ... and therein lies my optimism.

As I mentioned in my last post, I knew the goalie positions would be valuable, and these results have borne that out, I think. In fact, a big reason that we're not even close to being competitive is the performance of my own netminders — Miller, Rask, and Fleury have combined for a 1-5 record and 22 goals against, making their total output a measly 7.8 points (though Miller is playing right now, so hopefully we'll see that inch up a bit).

The Caps' Varlamov has been on IR to start the year, but even without him, I don't think anybody would have predicted such a poor start from these three guys. So while my rather embarrassing deficit is certainly due in some part to a talent deficiency on offense, a lot of it has simply been bad luck. My goalies will turn it around — my bet is sooner rather than later — and I expect we'll be much more competitive going forward.