Without a morning skate on Saturday and because neither goaltender remained on the ice for extra work following Friday’s practice, any assessment on who will start in goal against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre tomorrow afternoon was based mostly on hunches and speculation.
“We have six games in a short period of time here, so we need both goalies, not just one,” Darryl Sutter said after the team practiced at the MasterCard Centre in suburban Toronto.
If there’s anything that can be deduced from that statement, it’s that it wouldn’t be surprising if one goaltender started against the Senators on Saturday, followed by the other goaltender starting in Chicago against the Blackhawks on Sunday.
Ben Scrivens leads the league with a .943 save percentage, is tied for the league lead with three shutouts and ranks second with a 1.56 goals against average, and because of Martin Jones’ outstanding play to begin his NHL career, and because Scrivens was “dinged up” while things happened to be “slipping into his game,” per Sutter, he hasn’t been able to draw into a game since stopping 25 of 27 shots in a 3-2 win over St. Louis on December 2.
“It’s not my decision to make,” Scrivens said when asked if he was “itching” to get into a game.
“You’ve just got to stay ready. You’re going to get chances to play whenever it comes. You’ve just got to be ready, and that’s coaching decisions. Out of your control.”
He agreed that the team’s successes were paramount and surpassed the needs to continue to refine his own game after having embarked on such an effective stretch.
“It’s not a one-person organization here. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” he said. “We’re winning. Jonesy’s playing extremely well for us. That’s the biggest thing. We’re getting two points a lot of nights that we’re playing.”
The “needs of the many” was to put on scarves, mittens and heavy jackets upon deplaning in Ottawa Friday afternoon. An uncomfortable five degree afternoon was made even colder by a stiff wind.
Was it colder than anything Scrivens experienced when living in Toronto?
“I don’t know. I think I’m getting soft from living in the California weather there,” he said. “I’ve got to sit in the batting cages and take some softballs to the sternum. Toughen up.”
Scrivens, on wanting to build off his success:
I mean, I want to play every single game. I want to play 82 games a year. Obviously that’s not the case, and like I said, I can only control what I do in practice, what I do in the gym, stuff like that. Everything else is out of my control…Just keep working hard, and let the chips fall wherever they may.
Scrivens, on returning to Toronto:
It’s been nice being able to catch up with some good friends you’ve got around here. It’s obviously a pretty [big] whirlwind. But, that being said, it was a lot of fun. Again, the biggest thing is we got two points the other night.