Every Tuesday at PHT, we’ll pump a player’s tire. Because every player likes it when nice things are said about them.
This week’s tire pumpee: Curtis Sanford, Columbus Blue Jackets
Based on the Jackets’ past three games, it’s almost like goaltending is a really important part of hockey. Columbus is 2-0-1 with Sanford starting in net. The 32-year-old has a 1.46 goals-against average with a .943 save percentage, numbers that stand in stark contrast to Steve Mason’s 3.63 and .875, respectively.
Look, nobody’s about to say the Jackets would be a winning team if Sanford had been the starter from the beginning – Mason hasn’t been their only problem – but it sure makes you wonder where they’d be compared to now. Would making the playoffs still be a realistic goal? Because it’s not now. To match the record the Blackhawks snuck in with last season, Columbus would have to go 39-16-7 in its last 62 games.
In case you’re wondering why it took so long to get Sanford into action, it would’ve been sooner – unfortunately, he hurt his groin during a practice on Oct. 18 and had to sit out a month.
It’s been a long road back to the NHL for Sanford, who spent the past two seasons with Hamilton of the AHL. But now he’s back and bailing out his teammates with saves like these:
Curtis Sanford, everyone.