We just can't imagine a universe that will have Marc-Andre Fleury starting Game One of the Senators series. "We" in the sentence represents Derek and Adam. Rick, on the other hand, is all about Fleury.
Our preference for Vokoun boils down to some simple facts.
-- The man just won a series for you. He came in, settled everything down, stopped routine shots, and did exactly what was anticipated of him when he was signed last summer.
-- If Fleury starts and melts down, what have you accomplished? At some point in this run the Pens will need Fleury again. Why force it?
-- There is a precedent for this scenario. Something has stuck with us ever since we uncovered it five years ago. Read on as we repost something from our old Blogspot days.
Originally posted on March 10, 2008:
The 1995-96 season:
Barrasso and Wregget were goalie by committee during the season, playing in 49 and 37 games, respectively.
And then there were the playoffs...
Barrasso started off the playoffs, and the Pens were quickly down 2-1 in the series.
In Game 4, Barrasso left after one period with back spasms. Wregget stepped in and led the Pens to win a 4OT thriller. He stopped Joe Juneau in that game on the first OT penalty shot in NHL history.
Wregget went on to win the next two games, and the Pens advanced.
In the next series, Wregget humiliated the Rangers as the Pens steamrolled them 4 games to 1. He may have had an erection during that entire series, stopping 150+ shots in five games.
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
And now, the question must be asked:
Why wasn't Wregget in net for the Florida series?
After a 5-1 defeat in Game One of the Florida series, Wregget did not see the net again.
Pens lose the series 4 games to 3.
Wregget's playoff stats going into the Eastern Conference Finals:
7W - 1L
Luckily, we dug up an AP article written right before the Florida series.
[ The Sporting News article on Wregget's playoffs dominance ]
"Wregget, 32, is clearly making the kind of saves that could help the Penguins get back to the finals for the first time since they won the Stanley Cup in 1991 and '92."
"'We could see cracks in their game and tried to take advantage of them,' Rangers coach Colin Campbell says, "but every time it seemed like Ken Wregget was there to frustrate us.'"
"Even though Barrasso is healthy again, this playoff season has become Wregget time."
In looking up more stuff about this Wregget-Barrasso discussion, we found this article from Sports Illustrated leading up to the Eastern Conference Finals. Aside from a subtle jab at 66, you can read between the lines and determine which goalie the Pens wanted between their pipes.
Now, we're not saying it's Vokoun's net for the rest of the playoffs. But it is Vokoun's net until he has a disaster of a game. Ken Wregget's 5-1 loss may be the kind of game we're talking about, so maybe the Pens were right in bringing in Barrasso, and that scenario actually supports our theory that Vokoun should ride until he has a bad game.
It's Vokoun's ship. Let him run it.
Possible valid counterpoints:
End of valid counterpoints:
Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2009 with the Penguins, Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't broken a .900 save percentage in a single playoff year