No Red Lights: Hockey: Smith or Roli? - Goalie News And Instruction By Roxanne Gaudiel

Smith or Roli?

After an amazing series so far, we are left with only questions after game 5 -- who do you start, Roli or Smith? Since New Years I have been a huge proponent of Roli, but I'll explain why as well as the reasons to give the young goalie a look. I already lost a bet and owe a beer to a teammate so I might as well double up and make it public. So let's start with Smith.

Smith has been good in the playoffs. You can't deny that. Even though he lost, he still made some good saves, had good rebound control and the goals were not necessarily his fault. He looks calm and poised which are all very necessary traits in a playoff goalie. Also, as Barry Melrose says, he's a better stickhandler than Roli. Controlling the other team's forecheck can make a huge difference in a game and a series. And the last big reason could be because he's young. Roli is not the goalie of the future; this could very well be his last season. Why not give your goalie of the future something to think about and build off of for next year?

But that's just it, he's still a kid. He's been streaky at best in the regular season and actually needs the confidence. Roli's performance at the beginning of the playoffs against the Penguins is reason enough to play him. He has never been shy of confidence and composure in the playoffs. His never-lost-an-elimination game is anything but utterly ridiculous. For that alone, he will be started but to make even more of a case - Smith has not won a game he started in the playoffs. The lack of experience and his inability to win the game should make it easy for Boucher to go with his starter. Roli will get back to his form (unless he's injured, *fingers crossed that's not the case but I'm wondering if there's a reason he looked like junk in game 4).

So it comes down to this:/two games for Roli to win. Go get'em bolts!