8.19.2008

Poor, poor, Manny

I hope I'm not the only one who's noticed that Manny Fernandez has had the worst luck of any NHL goaltender throughout his career.

No, he hasn't been stuck with a horrible team, or played behind an ultra-porous defense (as a matter of fact, he was with one of the notably stronger defense's in the NHL with Minnesota).


Poor Manny has played alongside a competitive co-No. 1 in each of his 6 full seasons with No. 1 status. From 2000-01 to early 2005-06, Fernandez was fighting to control the starting job with Dwayne Roloson. In fact, during 05-06, when Fernandez became the solid starter after Roloson departed, the 58 games played by Fernandez that year were the most he has ever played in one season.

And unfortunately for Fernandez, the Wild decided to bring over highly touted Nicklas Backstrom, a Euro standout, to be the "back-up" goalie. Backstrom promptly played amazingly in his first few starts, and, thanks to an injury to Fernandez along with his exceptional play, split the starting time in half.


Over the summer, Fernandez became a Boston Bruin. As if it were fate, he suffered a season-ending injury early into the season during which he might have actually been the clear No. 1.

Now fully healed, Fernandez will split the playing time with Tim Thomas, the ex-European-journeyman-turned-NHL-starter. Thomas proved himself to be a legit starter last season, helping catapult the Bruins into the playoffs, albeit losing in the first round. Both Fernandez and Thomas will be motivated to prove themselves in net in order to win a strong contract as UFA's next season.

Maybe if Fernandez wants a secure starting job, he can keep his eye on Columbus and Los Angeles. Everybody has their eyes on Pascal Leclaire and Jason Labarbera/Erik Ersberg to see if they can handle the pressures of being a starter.