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March 2, 2009

March 2, 2009

The Hockey News has been providing the most comprehensive coverage of the world of hockey since 1947. In each issue, you'll find news, features and opinions about the NHL and leagues across North America and the world.

In Every Issue

Starting from 5

FIVE As if the tip-ins weren’t bad enough, Ryan Smyth’s hair is a distraction unto itself. FOUR Like Smyth, Tomas Holmstrom spends so much time in front of the crease he should pay rent. THREE Any goalies in a shootout against Pavel Datsyuk will be the target of serious embarrassment. TWO Not only does Alex Ovechkin take about a dozen shots a game, but at least one often goes in. ONE Goalie equipment can only protect so much when Sheldon Souray’s cannon shot is loaded.…

Prospects Unlimited

Montoya still in mix

THE WORST THING ABOUT BEING the seldom-used backup goalie isn’t the effect sitting on the bench has on your game. Oh, sure, it’s obvious that facing shots only in practice isn’t best for development. Game action is where a goalie’s abilities are truly judged. But there’s still nothing worse for a goalie than having an idle mind. Especially for a goalie who has never been stuck in the backup role. Al Montoya has learned the hard way this season with the San Antonio Rampage. Once a can’t-miss prospect for the New York Rangers, Montoya, the sixth overall pick in 2004, is enduring the most trying season of his career. Between Nov. 28 and Feb. 8, he made just six starts and through the first four months of the season, he was 3-13-0 with a…

IN THIS ISSUE

First and goal

The evidence is there to suggest NHL teams avoid using first round draft picks to select goaltenders. For every Roberto Luongo (fourth overall, 1997) or Carey Price (fifth overall, 2005), the development highway is littered with Ari Ahonens and Brent Krahns and Craig Hillers. It’s too early to assess goalies drafted in 2006 and onward, but in the 10 drafts between 1996 and 2005, 25 goaltenders were selected in the first round. With teams willing to use that prime selection on a goalie, you’d expect at least half of them, maybe even 15, would have developed into NHL starters. Shockingly, just six of the 25 have answered the bell – Luongo, Price, Rick DiPietro, Pascal Leclaire, Cam Ward and Marc-Andre Fleury. Two others, Tuukka Rask and Cory Schneider, are still developing, while Kari…

In Every Issue

The first man out

ACCORDING TO MOST SOURCES, Art Ross was the first coach in NHL history to pull his goalie for an extra attacker. Ross did so on March 26, 1931, during a playoff game against the Montreal Canadiens. His Boston Bruins lost the contest 1-0. Frank Boucher of the New York Rangers is said to have been the first coach to pull his goalie “on the fly” on Jan. 14, 1940. Boucher had discussed the move with netminder Dave Kerr during the second intermission. He gave Kerr a signal with about 90 seconds remaining in the third period, but the Rangers still lost 2-1 to Chicago to end a 19-game win streak. However, a story in the Globe and Mail makes it clear that Maple Leafs coach Dick Irvin had pulled George Hainsworth on…