Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Underrate Craig Anderson At Your Peril
Why is everyone so anxious to give Craig Anderson the boot?
That might be overstating the facts but the sentiment is out there amongst the Ottawa Senators fans. They see Robin Lehner and Ben Bishop tearing up the AHL and are quick to believe they’d do the same in the NHL.
To them, Anderson is old news. Yesterday’s paper. The guy who hasn’t played all year.
Be careful what you wish for.
It’s very easy to get caught up in the wayward throes of “prospect porn”, as the hip kids like to call it, because there’s no excitement factor around veterans anymore. It’s ingrained in the hockey culture now. Most fans look forward to the Entry Draft more than they do the Stanley Cup finals. Vets are already associated with failure and impatient fans always sense the solution is just one draft pick away. Hence the fretting when picks are moved for real bodies. People freak out.
But when’s the last time a true number one goalie coming off a great season was booted for an unproven rookie? It doesn’t happen. At least not before a game has even been played.
Craig Anderson was the best goalie in the organization last year and stabilized the position, leading to a playoff berth. He’s now a respected veteran in the league and will have plenty to offer in a shortened season when every single game is cranked up to double-pressure.
Are fans really that eager to see the Senators experiment with Lehner when a playoff berth could be on the line in just a matter of weeks? That’s not to say Lehner wouldn’t be able to handle the pressure and the workload, but there is still nothing out there that suggests to me Anderson won’t be the number one goalie, at least in the short-term.
It’s easy to see a day when Lehner and Bishop are the duo in net for Ottawa but what’s the rush? The main goal is to make the playoffs – the only goal – and playing Anderson is surely the best way to get there right now.
If Anderson falters for more than five games, then maybe that crease opens up and one of Lehner or Bishop gets on a roll. But there’s no reason to think we’ll get to that point.
I can’t fathom why fans should have lost any confidence in Anderson as a starter over the summer. Lehner and Bishop’s play has been encouraging but until they prove it at the NHL level, I’ll take Anderson as my starter every day of the week.