Are you fucking kidding me? No, no. Seriously. This is not my funny tone of voice. Are. You. Joking? John Anderson, I am talking to you, sir.
"I don't think he was overly sharp tonight. A couple of goals he didn't stand a chance on, but the other ones, we need him to make big saves for us. We're that type of hockey team. We give up 30 shots or 40 shots a game. He has to be sharper." -- on last night's game.
I have been in a state of flux with this team for weeks. I'm disgusted by their "play" and I'm appalled at the "teammanship" and I don't know if that's a word but it is now. I'm ... curling my lip just thinking about how this is SO not a team, and then after Kari once again gets shelled, has a reaction, and is pulled, his COACH, his COACH, tells he and the media, "hey, this team fucking blows goats, and the only way we have a chance in hell to get off the ice without anyone dead is if Kari is PERFECT."
You know I was kind of blown away, not in a good way, when Anderson said during a pre-gamer that, right after his return from injury, the team needed Kari to be their saviour. My stomach rolls just thinking about that, about having that kind of pressure on you. And you know, there are definitely people who thrive in those kinds of situations, like the fishies that live in the oceanic sub-photic zones. Most of them work in the military, law enforcement, sales or the stock market. But here's a tip: Kari is not that kind of person. He's relaxed, he's chill, he loves hockey and wants to play it and have fun, and be the best he can be. But it's pretty damned hard to be the best you can be when no one around you is making that same effort.
High-strung, Type-A personalities are the goalies who thrive in those pressure situation. St Patrick. Eddie the Eagle. The Dominator. Ryan Miller is even a bit more high-strung and Type-A than is Kari. The kidding throwing his stick, kicking his blocker, cussing on TV, that's probably about as demonstrative and pissed off as he's going to get with his team. Do you think Patrick Roy ever held back from what he had to tell his team? I don't think that guy held anything back. But there doesn't appear to be anyone in the room who will do that, and it's definitely never going to be Lehtonen.
So I guess my point here is that, despite being one of the best goalies in the NHL, in terms of natural-born talent and technique, this is never going to be a team with which Kari will thrive. He will, however, thrive with a team that has equally skilled offence and defence. Because let's be completely honest. Kari can stand on his head and put on a show that will be referred to and recalled for years to come, and none of it will fucking matter, because he can't score the goals, too. I mean, he could, but in order to, the other team would have to pull their goalie, and even though the Thrash are kind of the joke of the league right now, I don't think any team would go that far in proving a point.
But even if Kari were sent packing, and in came a goalie who can handle that kind of pressure, who seeks being the cock of the walk, what difference is it really going to make, if half the time, the team can't score a fucking goal?
So all that said, here's my opinion on who needs to be replaced by the deadline, providing the team intends to keep Lehtonen. I don't have any suggestions for replacements, but there's most of a Cup winning team split between Atlanta and Chicago.
Bogosian - demote to Chicago (2.725)
Valabik - demote to AHL (0.729)
That frees up 18.213m, providing all are traded at current contract value with no half-year obligations. leaving total cap space of 29.848m, and 13.048m shy of the cap floor. Just as an example, Thomas Vanek and Kimmo Timmonen's current salaries are 8m/ea. Say the Thrashers signed them both. Team'd still have 13m to work with before they hit the cap ceiling, and there's not much you can't do with incentive bonuses to pick up the slack. I'm just saying, there's a lot of options, but I also think that whether Lehtonen and Kovalchuk stay or go is entirely dependent upon the rest of the moves made.
I mean seriously, would you want to stay at the job where perfection is not just required, but DEMANDED? We all like being perfect but to err is human, and all the money in the world can't change that.
And I'll also take a moment to point out, that while this most likely isn't directed towards anyone reading this, but rather the unwashed masses NOT going to or watching the games... It is god damned hard to go out and do your job every night, and not have anyone care. When a team is excited for roadies to hockey-loving towns, because they know the house'll be packed and rockin', and it's a radical change of pace - THAT is epic failure.