Mar 22, 2010, 10:25 AM EDT
Francis of the Ottawa Sun isn’t too happy with Brent Sutter’s
decision to go with Vesa Toskala yesterday against the Wild and says the
gamble was not worth the risk, considering how the Flames are fighting
for their playoff lives right now.
Two of the three goals Toskala allowed on 12 shots were questionable
efforts — the type a Vezina candidate like Miikka Kiprusoff hasn’t made
in a long time.
The odds of a Flames playoff berth just got steeper, and for that,
critics will rant even louder today.
Starting a backup at the best of times is a no-win move for a coach,
and in hindsight, it’s easy to second-guess the decision. But with no
room for error and no back-to-back games until next weekend, Kiprusoff
A couple of things here.
Starting Vesa Toskala against anyone at anytime is a giant risk to
take. In this case, I can completely understand Sutter’s decision and
I’d make the exact same one if I were in his shoes.
Before last night, Toskala had actually been playing better than
Kiprusoff, who had a 4-3-0 record since the trade deadline. Toskala has
won both games he’s started, has played great in both and was perfect in
mop up duty after Kiprusoff laid a giant egg against Vancouver. Then
you factor in that the game was against the Wild, whom Toskala has owned
(4-0-0 lifetime) in his career and the decision at this point was
clear. Start Toskala now, let Kiprusoff start against tougher opponents.
Hindsight is always, always much clearer than when you try to predict
the future. Was starting Toskala a gamble? Of course, but you can’t
fault Sutter for it. Of course, everyone will.
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