Sunday, November 12, 2006

Boston's crease carousel silliness

The Boston Bruins called up Mike Brown from the Long Beach Ice Dogs of the ECHL on Sunday and assigned Brian Finley to their American Hockey League affiliate in Providence.

Brown had a record of 1-4-2 with a 3.15 goals-against average and a .892 save percentage for the Ice Dogs.

— Canadian Press

The saviour arrives in Beantown.

Honestly though, you have to wonder what on earth the management team in Boston is thinking because demoting and promoting three different goaltenders in the span of a few days makes it look like the club's bright new GM is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

The thing is, Finley came into last Thursday's game against Toronto in a difficult situation, allowed only two goals on 26 shots and probably deserves to ride the bench in Boston at least a little while longer. Finley at least was a first-round pick, a guy who's kicked around the AHL for a while; Brown has played all of 42 career minutes in the AHL and has struggled this season in Long Beach of all places.

All that said, it's likely Tim Thomas will be starting every game in Boston from here on out — at least until Hannu Toivonen can get in a few wins in the AHL and return to the big club (his save percentage in two minor-league games so far is worse than it was with the Bruins). I'm as surprised as anyone that he's struggled so early and often this year after showing glimpses of being a world-beater last season, but, then again, the young Finn is just 22 and 'young' and 'goalie' seems like a bad combination so far this season given the way some of them have struggled. (Those not named Miller, Budaj, Raycroft, Ward, Lehtonen or Fleury, that is.)

Speaking of Andrew Raycroft — it has to hurt (in a familiar way) for Boston fans knowing that another last-gasp move GM Mike O'Connell made last season is biting this team in the rear end. Signing Thomas to a three-year deal after the 32-year-old career minor leaguer reeled off a few strong weeks looks like a rotten decision so far, especially given the fact that the contract necessitated one of the team's younger goaltenders had to then be shipped out in the off-season.

Of course, hindsight is what it is, and Raycroft has played well in Toronto, but you wonder how things would have played out if Thomas hadn't emerged from his AHL slumber, hadn't 'earned' his big deal, and wasn't now the only option in the Bruins crease.

No disrespect to Mike Brown, of course.

Whoever he is.

UPDATE Heather fills us in in the comment section as to the reason behind the switcheroo: With Toivonen down with an injury, Finley was needed in Providence tonight, which mean the Bruins had to have — as per CBA regulations — a warm body in Boston to act as a backup. Enter Brown, who will probably on his way out nearly as quickly as he arrived.


At 12:05 a.m., November 13, 2006, Blogger Heather said...

With Hannu hurt so late in Saturday's game in Worcester, MA, there was no time to recall Mike Brown in enough time to get him to Providence for tonight's late-afternoon game against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Boston chose to send Brian back down to Providence (where he started and earned a 4-3 OT win), so that Providence wasn't left wanting for a back-up should cause arise. Because of the two-goalie rule in the new CBA, they had to recall Mike Brown to satisfy the rules. Finley will be back with Boston tomorrow, and Mike Brown will be sent to Providence once he has his luggage off the baggage claim carousel, if the announcement isn't made sooner. Not really the best way to handle things, but considering the few options they had in less then 24 hours, it wasn't too horrid.

At 12:08 a.m., November 13, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I knew there had to be a reason like this for the move... thanks for the update Heather.

At 3:42 p.m., November 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emery has played well this year. At least as good, if not better, than some of the other young goalies you listed.

At 4:19 p.m., November 13, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Completely agree.


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