Monday, February 04, 2008

Iron Mike versus NHL goalies

Iron Mike Keenan has always had the reputation of pulling goalies, no matter how big their names are. In his first year with the Calgary Flames, he’s already yanked netminder Miikka Kiprusoff at least twice from a game.

He admits the mathematical equation he has established with all his top goalies, including Grant Fuhr and Eddie Belfour, is to tell them, “The odds are if you play 95 or 70 percent of the games, you’re going to get pulled two or three more times than if you play 60 percent of the games. Are you comfortable with that?”

The goalies will undoubtedly respond: “Absolutely. I prefer to play a lot more games.”

Keenan will pull a goalie whether it’s a psychological move to jumpstart the team, whether a goalie is a little bit off because he’s playing so much – or a combination of both, or maybe he’ll yank the goalie to throw the opponent off a little bit.

“Probably the biggest incident I can remember pulling a goalie was on a five on three on a power play in 1987 against the Edmonton Oilers. I took Pelle Lindbergh out and put Bob Froese in. I remember Wayne Gretzky spent the entire two minutes trying to figure out why we did that. The power play was over and we went on and won that game. I remember Wayne came over to Sather, asking, ‘What’s he doing? What’s he doing? What should we do?’ I don’t know how often I’d ever do that again. They had such a good team, we had to do something.”


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