Monday, 8 October 2012

Jets' Stopper Stinks

If you're a Winnipeg Jets fan, just be thankful the season hasn't started yet. If it had, you might be getting a Montoya jersey made up because I can't see coach Claude Noel standing for the play that goaltender Ondrej Pavelec has shown with HC Bílí Tygři Liberec in the Czech Extraliga. Honestly, he stinks this season. And while some of his poor play can be attributed to the team in front of him, there's something clearly wrong with Pavelec this season as his statistics are something more of what you'd find in the CHL rather than the NHL.

Pavelec has given up 25 goals in five games this season, clocking in at a 4.62 GAA. Again, some may say this stat is more about the team in front of him, but the one stat that a goalie can control is his save percentage. All he has to do is make saves, and a good NHL goaltender is looking at stopping nine of ten shots per night. Pavelec, though, is only stopping 86.34% of all shots sent his way. Backup goaltenders in the NHL are expected to be better than what Pavelec has shown in the Czech Extraliga!

So what gives? What's causing Pavelec to stink up the joint with his play?

It's not like Liberec doesn't have solid players. Former NHLers Petr Nedved and Lukas Krejcik play for the White Tigers, and they brought Ladislav Smid in during the lockout. While those three certainly don't make an all-star team, they are capable players. The problem, it seems, is that neither Pavelec nor Marek Pinc can stop a puck after a month of play.

If Pavelec simply isn't trying - which I'd hope isn't the case being that he's a professional - he needs to kick it into high gear. The Jets' coaching staff won't tolerate a goals-against average above 4.00, and I'm pretty sure the fans won't stand for it.

Piráti Chomutov bombed Pavelec for five goals. HC Škoda Plzeň hung four more goals on Pavelec. HC Slavia Praha added four more goals to Pavelec's ballooning total. HC Oceláři Třinec racked up five more goals. HC ČSOB Pojišťovna Pardubice dropped another four goals on Pavelec. So it's not like he's had a seven-goal game surrounded by a few two-goal games. Pavelec has not given up less than four goals in any of the five games he's played in this season. Horrible!

While Pavelec's NHL play has yet to resemble his Extraliga play, one can only hope that he isn't going to bring back that stank that he's dropping over in the Czech Republic. The Jets' MVP needs to be much better if he hopes to hold onto his starting job over here, especially after signing that big extension.

Otherwise, he might be one of those players that Ilya Bryzgalov was referring to about not coming back. He may not be invited back!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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