Much like a kicker who missed a big field goal, a struggling goalie exists in an unkind and lonely place. People tend to forget the mistakes of players around them when a netminder turns into Swiss cheese.
Roberto Luongo probably feels like Frankenstein’s monster in Vancouver, as Canucks fans seem like they’re a blowout away from gathering outside his home with torches. In a way he’s not really alone, though; Ilya Bryzgalov might feel the same type of heat at his door from Philadelphia Flyers fans after being dismantled by the limp Montreal Canadiens offense 5-1 on Wednesday night.
Much like Luongo, Bryzgalov is an expensive starter with a long-term contract and a well-documented cold streak. Breezy has dropped four games in a row while allowing 17 goals (and this is after he opened up about his individual struggles).
Each goalie also has a promising young backup to make their lives a bit more miserable, with Sergei Bobrovsky being Philly’s answer to Cory Schneider. It’s likely that every goalie and quarterback controversy gnaws at head coaches, but things get a whole lot tougher when the “unwashed masses” might actually be right.
A lot of fans probably want to push the big red button on both netminders right now, but the truth is that when it comes to crucial roster decisions, patience usually pays off. That won’t make it any less awkward when the boos start cascading down after the next soft goal, though.