Lombardi, on the goalies

Before I head out to practice, I’ve been saving this in reserve for a couple days. At practice, Dean Lombardi talked about the goalies, in particular how Erik Ersberg seems to have lost his way in the early part of the season, at least in the eyes of coaches and management…

LOMBARDI: “He wasn’t sharp right in training camp. He almost lost his swagger. That’s what I loved about him when we brought him in. He was small but he really battled. I don’t know happened there in camp, but it’s almost like he lost a little bit of that, like I say, swagger. Then it got reflected. You could see it in New York. He completely lost his… That wasn’t confident guy that said, `I dare you to beat me,’ that you saw last year in Philly and San Jose. This guy had some good performances last year in some tough buildings. But the last couple weeks, you can tell even in practice. That was the biggest adjustment Bernier made in February; he started practicing hard. That’s when his game started turning around. So it’s up to him.”

Next, Lombardi addressed the idea of competition, and the thought that the competition for the backup goalie spot seemed to be preordained before training camp in favor of Ersberg…

LOMBARDI: “It wasn’t preordained, but in a perfect scenario that’s what I wanted. I think Jon (Quick), what he went through last year was tremendous. That he had to look at himself and learn how to practice hard, and how it has carried over. His whole air, the coaches said it was totally different. Like he’s on a mission, and that wasn’t the case before. The minor leagues, it’s to develop physically and mentally. If you can’t handle the ups and downs down there, how are you ever going to win a playoff series?

“It’s unfortunate. A lot of times when you do things like this, or when you don’t make trades for big names, you’re doing it because you want to win a Cup. The reality is, you strike at the right time, and you do it so you can win a Cup. I’ve just seen too much. It’s like Nabokov and Kiprusoff. Nabokov almost quit. `I’m going back to Russia,’ blah, blah, blah, fought through it, and when he came up, he took off.”

Finally, looking at last night’s game shows how tough it can be to evaluate goalies. Quick’s save percentage was low, but looking back, it’s hard to say there was a bad goal allowed. Perhaps Hanzal’s goal, but what did you think?

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