While perusing this morning's links I happened upon that rarest of finds, a David Climer column on the Nashville Predators. Sure, it's nice that the Tennessean's senior sports columnist deigned to write about hockey, but I couldn't help but note a whopper that he tries to foist upon local sports fans towards the end.
The goaltending of Carter Hutton has been one of the main story lines in Smashville this season, due to the fact that he was a complete unknown coming in, and has had to handle a much higher workload than was anticipated. He seems like a likable guy, and it's heartwarming to root for the underdog to do well in such circumstances.
#30 / Goalie / Nashville Predators
Dec 19, 1985
|2013 - Carter Hutton||31||1627||14||9||4||77||2.84||801||724||.904||0|
This, however, raised my eyebrows (the starting quote is from Barry Trotz):
"He's come a long way in a year. He's surprised he's a No. 1 goalie and we're surprised he's a No. 1 goalie."
It is not unlike the situation in 2006 when Chris Mason stepped in for Tomas Vokoun and exceeded expectations.
"Because of his work ethic, he's gone from just trying to find his way into the league to a Chris Mason-type player," Trotz said. "He's earned the respect of the room because of his work ethic and play. ... He's grown to the point that he can handle what's expected of a No. 1 goalie."
Chris Mason came to the rescue in 2006-7 when Tomas Vokoun went down, and delivered a stellar performance. In 40 games that season, he posted a .925 save percentage, 2nd best in the entire NHL behind Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom.
Carter Hutton, on the other hand, has put up a .904 save percentage, ranking 34th out of 41 goalies with enough work to show up on the NHL's list. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this is not at all like the situation in which Mason "exceeded expectations". Give Hutton a tip of the hat for hanging in there and doing his best, but let's keep things in perspective, shall we?
I'll yield my remaining time to Senator Lloyd Bentsen:
Sorry, Senator Bentsen, but I just noticed this story as well. Apparently the Carter Hutton PR Machine is in full effect, as John Manasso offered up a very similar puff piece Thursday afternoon, that included this whopper:
At a certain point during the season -- maybe those last 11 games he has started, beginning on Jan. 14 -- he underwent a transformation from having a backup's mentality to having that of a No. 1. Before Jan. 14, he had a 3.08 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage. In the 11 games since, he has shaved nearly half a goal off that average and has a .907 save percentage.
Whoa, he went from a .903 save percentage all the way up to a stunning .907? That's a mind-blowing difference of 1 goal allowed over the course of those games. He doesn't deserve credit for the Goals Against Average drop, because that has more to do with the number of shots the Preds are giving up in front of him. The team has done well (7-2-2) in those 11 games, so that glow rubs off on the goalie, but come on - Hutton is what he has been all season.