No Red Lights: Hockey: Holiday Hockey Recap - Goalie Duels In The South - Goalie News And Instruction By Roxanne Gaudiel

Holiday Hockey Recap - Goalie Duels In The South
Having had my annual turkey-fest down south in Florida, I got to watch some good ole' southern hockey, namely the Bolts-Panther and Stars-Canes game. Being born and raised near Tampa Bay, I'm an avid bolts fan so I try not to have that sway my opinion of their goalies, but it still might. Getting Dan Ellis was (in my mind) a huge pick up in the off-season; a bit below everyone's radar and a huge opportunity from a goalie that had had a glimpse of starting last year. I have to say though, I was not too impressed with his play when I first tuned in. Sure, he has skills to be in the Show, but it was not as impressive as a starter should be. His rebound control was a bit shakey and his stick control was loose at best. Instead of controlling rebounds into the corner, he left his stick over the right side pad allowing the puck to hit pad. Normally, I say, if a goalie makes the save, no big deal, but this lazy stick work came back to get him in the shootout. The game decider was on a five-hole shot that was tucked away while he slid to his glove hand side. Leaving his stick on the right side leg, the five hole was exposed long enough to end the game. So until I see a bit more control over his hands and movement, I'm not a Dan Ellis believer (even though I want to be!). There's still a lot of season left for Ellis to prove himself and he will be given the opportunity, so keep a close eye on him. Could use some help from his D-Man

As for the Stars-Canes, I was interested to see this game. Ward has been working with the great Pen's goalie, Tom Barrasso, who has a great old-school style, and I haven't seen Lehtonen for almost two years now. But I wouldn't really see much of the latter since the Stars dominated the play. Most of the shots on Lehtonen were from the point or from the outside, but it was nice to see him with good form and controlling the rebounds. The focus of the game was really on the Stars team. They looked great: forechecked well, moved the puck quickly through the neutral zone, and Brad Richards was a menace out there. Maybe Dallas' young crop of players really had the Canes spinning around, or the loss of Seidenberg (i.e. a solid stay at home defenseman) has hurt more than expected because the Canes were in desperate need of some control. Basically, Ward saw the puck from all over the ice: one-timers, odd man rushes and 3-4 shot flurries. But even after letting in a few goals (a bad bounce off the boards and some defensive lapses), Ward still seemed confident, making a huge save after a moderately weak goal (the goal was mainly a defensive breakdown). He was a bit off his angle during the game, but that is easy to recover from. The fact that he still played confidently, at the top of his crease and moved his body toward the puck gives me confidence that he'll steal some games for the Canes. I'd watch for more of slip by the team rather than Ward. If they play a high-octane offensive team and their defensive zone is continuing to breakdown, I might bench Ward but not ditch him completely. He usually gets hot for a month in the middle of the season, so as long as the Canes don't become a basement dweller, he should put up better numbers. And Lehtonen, I have him as my backup because I'm not convinced that he's believing in himself yet. Once he can take a beating and then rebound with a big win, then I'll be a believer.