Tuesday, March 16, 2004


Is this how a goaltender controversy gets its start? The recent Senators swing through Western Canada saw a healthy Patrick Lalime sit on the bench while his understudy Martin Prusek faced back to back action in the Sens net. The question making the rounds of the Ottawa media now is will he get a third start in a row.

Prusek was pulled in the Senators 3-1 loss to Edmonton due to a sore back, as usual with these situations there’s not a lot of information coming forward about the extent of that injury. But with a game against Minnesota Tuesday night, many are wondering if Prusek will again get the call.

It’s a difficult situation for Coach Jacques Martin and GM John Muckler to handle, having given their unconditional support to Patrick Lalime prior to the trading deadline, they don’t want to appear to be abandoning him as they get closer to the playoffs. Lalime has had a few shaky appearances in the Sens net this year, but still is considered the solid choice as starting goaltender in the playoffs.

Perhaps, Martin is just giving him a rest and a chance to watch the flow of the game. Maybe he doesn’t want to waste Lalime’s outings on the Western Conference teams, preferring to get his game back on track against those teams he’ll possibly face in the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup Drive.

Regardless of the thinking the media speculation is out there, with many considering Martin’s options for him, should there be a Bruins/Sens match up. Should that come to pass, many say the puck should be given to Prusek who has a better records against the Bruins than Lalime.

Lalime says that the increased playing time for Prusek doesn’t bother him, saying he can’t let these kinds of questions sidetrack him from the job at hand. His best strategy to do that then is to not pick up a newspaper for a while and stick to the all music stations around Ottawa’s radio dial, with the playoffs fast approaching the chattering Ottawa fans needs something to chew on, a goaltender controversy should fit the bill nicely. For Lalime a strong start to the first round of the playoffs will go a long way to keeping a lid on the bubbling brew being stirred up by the Ottawa media.

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