Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jeff Deslauriers & Inspiration

I've got goalies on the brain. More than usual. Which is a lot, if you know me by now.

I realized last night, that with Brusty not playing, I've got no "inspiration" goalies to watch, and I find myself really missing that, both as a fan and a player.

I realized this while watching Jeff Deslauriers in goal for the hapless Edmonton Oilers last night. He was unbelievable. Doing everything I find completely charming in a goalie. He battles his ass off and does everything he can to get in front of the puck. Some saves are so unreal, I think opponents don't capitalize on rebounds because they're so shocked it didn't go in.

Not to mention the personality stuff... scrum near the net and he doesn't wander off. He gets in there and pokes a guy with his blocker. A couple of quirks I've noticed is that he lifts his mask a LOT, and he wedges his stick in the thigh rise of his pad rather than under his arm when he needs to free his hands up.

Silly stuff, I know, but man, so many NHL goalies are so boring, it's a complete delight to discover one who is a little different.

But bless his heart, he's not perfect. His team is a putrid mess and no matter how focused and disciplined he is, it's really hard to to hold up under that kind of pressure. And as this excellent article points out, he can be his own worst enemy at times.

But he's a rookie who has truly been thrown to the wolves. It's one thing to be thrown into the #1 spot on good NHL team (Hi Jimmy Howard), but another thing entirely to have to make your name backstopping a disaster like the Grease.

And yes, I know they beat the Wild. That's not the point.

The point is, I'm impressed as hell with this kid. The Oilers have bent and bent and bent him and he doesn't break. Compare him to Carey Price last year. Beat down by his bad team, the Montreal media, etc. Swept up in the high profile nature of his position. He lost focus badly. But Deslauriers, though not in the fishbowl of Montreal, does his work in a hockey mad Canadian city and still exhibits confidence and moxie and competitiveness this late in a futile season.

To me, it's glorious. I don't know what will happen with him down the road, but I'm completely inspired and I can't wait to see where his career goes.


NickyR  March 10, 2010 at 12:21 PM  

He also has the most mind-bendingly bright pads since Fleury gave up his yellow ones. It takes some moxie to wear those things!

hipchecks  March 10, 2010 at 8:45 PM  

The last time we played Edmonton, I was very impressed by him. I can't wait to see more of him!

Sunshine36616  March 11, 2010 at 8:40 AM  

OMG the goalie LOLz is great. I love noticing goalie quirks. "Flipping their lid" as I call it is one I notice a lot. Some goalies rarely ever remove the mask. I've noticed that Moose has stopped doing one of his quirks lately. He used to flip the puck in his glove after making a glove save until the ref did it, he doesn't any more.

Speaking of Deslaurier, I think I might have some good pictures of him from when the Oilers were in town and practiced. I'll check. Glad you found some inspiration!

Ms. Conduct  March 11, 2010 at 9:01 AM  

Awww, that's a shame! I LOVED that little Moosey quirk!

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