Is Bryan Murray (Vice President and General Manager of the Senators) going to make the correct decision regarding his goaltenders or is he going to continue to ignore the fact that Alex Auld is having a brutal season with no signs of significant improvement? How brutal? In 14 games he has a Save Percentage of .884 and a GAA of 3.35.
After Craig Anderson lacerated a tendon in his pinky finger (while in his kitchen), 20 year old Robin Lehner was brought up from
(Senators AHL affiliate) and Auld started the next game which was at home
against the Bruins. Boston won by a score of 5-3 and Auld let in four goals in
37 shots, which gave him a Save Percentage in the game of 0.892—not impressive
at all. Binghamton
In the following game against the Islanders, Lehner was given the start and he performed outstanding, stopping 28 of 30 shots which equated to a Save Percentage of .933. He was the 1st Star in the game.
The Senators then went on the road to play the Bruins. The Senators had not beaten them this year and Robin Lehner was given his second straight start. He totally shut-down the Bruins by stopping 32 shots and earning his first NHL shutout! Once again, he was named the 1st Star in the game.
The Senators returned home to play the Blackhawks and Lehner was given his third straight start. He played great in stopping 37 shots in a 2-1 loss, and was named the 2nd Star of the game.
The Senators then traveled to
to play the Panthers. The entire Florida
team did not play well, including Lehner who was not as good as his previous
three starts. The Panthers won the game 4-2. Ottawa
Then Bryan Murray decided to send Lehner back to
and to bring up Ben Bishop. Binghamton
Regarding Bishop, I quote from my article on the Senators trade to get him:
“On Sunday, the Senators traded a 2nd Round draft pick in 2013 in exchange for Blues minor-league goalie Ben Bishop. Bishop is a tall guy at 6' 7'' but is only 215 pounds. He played seven games for the Blues in the 2010-2011 season and had three wins and four losses, and in those games his Save Percentage was .899, GAA 2.76, and he had one shutout. Two years prior he had six games with the Blues and did not do as well. Besides those two stints in the NHL, from 2007 and onward he was with the Blues AHL affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen. He posted good numbers for the Rivermen but he has yet to prove that he can be a regular NHL net-minder.”
Bishop deserved another chance at the NHL that is for sure but the move to bring him up only makes sense if
’s intention is to see if he can play
better than Auld so that Auld can be put on waivers. If Murray
does not already consider Lehner as his #1 healthy goalie then he is insane. It
is hard to read Murray because to complicate the matter he believes that
Anderson will be ready for the playoffs (Anderson is already skating); and, because
just after acquiring Bishop, Murray was boasting about Bishop’s AHL experience
and was suggesting that he had a good chance of winning a spot over Lehner. Murray
Bishop was given the start in the following game against the Lightning, in
. The Senators
beat the Lightning by a score of 7-3 with the help of two empty net goals.
Bishop let in three of 28 shots, thus giving him a dismal Save Percentage of
The Senators returned to
to play the Rangers on Wednesday, March 7 and Bishop was given his second
straight start. The Senators won by a score of 4-1 and Bishop played well in
making 25 saves. However, it was reported that he looked nervous at the
beginning of the game and that he allowed a poor goal. Nevertheless, he was
declared the 1st Star of the game. Many in the media could not help
but overdo the praise for one good game, with some saying that he was destined
to be a great NHL goaltender and they had to boast of his huge stature in the
net. Why not be honest and wait to see if he proves himself an NHL goalie,
rather than puffing the guy up more than he deserves? It was one good game and
he had never before proven himself to be NHL-caliber so why be deceptive?
Hopefully he will fulfill the undeserved praise and we shall see if he can
continue with another win today (Saturday) when the Sens host the Sabres. Ottawa
Who Deserves to be the Senators Starting Goalie?
According to performance, it is obvious that the starting goalie should be Lehner. If Bishop plays well in two more games then Brian Murray should have all that he needs to make a decision to put Auld on waivers. Auld has had 14 games and has yet to prove that he deserves the back-up spot. He played well for the Canadiens last year but that was then and this is now. The playoffs are coming and
had better make a decision based on giving the Senators the best chance to win
in the playoffs—period, rather than who has played the most NHL games or who is
making the most money. Murray
All said, Bryan Murray has some crucial decisions to make regarding his goaltending and it is going to be interesting to see what happens. If Lehner is not brought back up I would be extremely surprised and disappointed.