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18 April 2007

Thrashers should go back to Hedberg...

After tuning in to last night's MSG Rangers-Thrashers broadcast transmitted on TSN, I noticed that Kari Lehtonen was in net and I was actually very surprised.

Lehtonen had a paltry Game 1 playoff debut, in which he allowed 4 goals on 38 shots, respectable but what wasn't respectable was the two softies he let in, which ultimately cost him his Game 2 start.

Johan Hedberg, a respected figure in the dressing room and a decent goalie, got the nod from Bob Hartley in Game 2, the last game at the Phillips Arena before Atlanta would head to the Big Apple.

Hedberg ended up having a monster of a game and was unlucky on two un-stoppable goals as the Trashers lost 2-1 and went down 2 games to none in the series.
I actually thought Hedberg played more than a monster of a game...but a HELL OF A GAME!

The guy was phenomenal and it looked as if he was the only one willing to win as the Thrashers put up another less-than-stellar performance for their anxious fans.
Had it not been for him and his acrobatic saves-which have followed him through one end of the continent to the other (and no, not like Hasek, his acrobacy was more systematic if you like), the game would've had a similar ending to last night's horrific and certainly embarrassing 7-0 loss to the Rangers.

I understand Hartley's logic to go back to Lehtonen in Game 3, he's their man, and he thought that his young Finnish netminder had understood the message sent to him once he found out his backup goalie would start Game 2.

He obviously didn't, and it made Hartley look like a total fool for putting him in.
I think his going back to Lehtonen after Hedberg's awesome performance was mainly because he wanted to be perceived well by the media and the fans.
Look, I played Hedberg in Game 2 and he played great, but, I'm going with Lehtonen for Game 3.

He was going through with one of those high-risk decisions, kind of like Guy Carbonneau putting Cristobal Huet in net after missing 2 months for the most important game of the season, so if the gamble was pulled-off succesfully, he would be praised, and if not, end up like Carbonneau.

This Cristobal Huet move backfired and Carbonneau's been getting burned by many ignorant fans, and Hartley is almost certainly being seen the same way.

And I can tell you one thing, if the Thrashers want to salvage that last ray of sunshine, Johan Hedberg better play, otherwise, you know Hartley's just being plain stubborn.

And on top of it all, it's a back-to-back situation, with the Thrashers playing tonight at the MSG after playing 24 hours earlier.

Lehtonen is 0-2 these playoffs with a 7.11 GAA and a .849 SPCT%, kind of worse than last season's version of Marty Turco.
Hedberg is also winless but with a 2.04 GAA and a .949 SPCT%.

Is it really that hard to decide who will play?

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