Glove Save and a Beauty
Originally Aired: Friday, May 1, 2009. This is a part of the 93-Second Sports Shot series. 93-Second Sports Shots air weekday evenings at 6pm.
Perhaps the strangest, yet most fascinating, aspect of hockey is the singular nature of the goaltender position. Hockey is a sport which requires the utmost in teamwork and chemistry, and yet undoubtedly the two most important players on the ice constantly find themselves on an island, with only their glove, stick, and blocker to assist them.
Due to this, each playoff series, no matter how unevenly matched, can be decided by the work of the men in front of the net. Take, for example, Dwayne Roloson, a journeyman netminder who stood on his head during the 2006 playoffs and probably would have delivered a Stanley Cup to Edmonton, the 8th seed in the West, had he not been injured during the latter stages of the Conference Championship Series. Or Jean Sebastian Giguere, a relative unknown who caught fire for the 7th seeded Anaheim Mighty Ducks and brought them on a Cinderella journey to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2003, where they lost in 7 games to the Devils.
Well, 2009 might be another one of those years. Yesterday, Jonas Hiller led the Ducks to an improbable 6 game victory over the Presidents Trophy winning San Jose Sharks. Hiller, a rookie from Switzerland, posted two shutouts against the league’s top scoring offense and will await the relatively banal scoring attacks of the league’s second top scoring team, Detroit. The Sharks were clearly the better team during the regular season AND during the playoff series, but Hiller shut the door enough times to bite the Sharks and lead his team to victory. Yet again, a dynamic scoring threat was shut down by a dominant netminder. The Ducks may continue to pepper their opponents with 25 shots on goal or fewer, but that won’t matter if Hiller continues to deny the competition.