The Boston Bruins gave young goalie Dan Vladar his NHL debut in game 3 with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Unfortunately they waited until Tampa was 4-1 up.
Rather than essentially throw Dan Vladar to the wolves on his NHL debut, the Boston Bruins would’ve been much wiser to give him the start. Instead, they missed that oppurtunity.
Now, there’s no saying that giving Dan Vladar the game start results in any different outcome, but it does potentially gift him a little more time to settle into his game and not enter the game when Tampa are already firing all cylinders.
It’s very easy to make Jaroslav Halak the scapegoat in all of this; after all, he was the one given the game start and more was expected of him, even in the second half of a back-to-back.
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Equally, you can scapegoat Tuukka Rask, who would’ve split that load with Halak if he opted to stay within the NHL’s quarantine bubble.
However, the decision lies with the coach so if anyone should be the scapegoat here it’s Bruce Cassidy. He made the call to put Jaroslav Halak back in net less than 24 hours after the last contest ended.
Dan Vladar became the first Boston Bruins goalie to debut for the team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs; unfortunately on this occasion it meant facing a team that had already scored four with a side in front of him that already looked defeated.
Give the kid a chance; start him in the game and maybe your players respond by actively trying to defend and protect the rookie. Maybe he becomes that rallying point that takes this from a 7-1 result to maybe a 3-1 result. Something a little less ugly at the very least.
It’s not saying that Vladar starting changes the game result, but you never know. Stranger things have happened.
Unfortunately, fresh off signing a nice new three-year deal, Dan Vladar has had an NHL debut that he’s sure to remember. Unfortunately it might not be for all the best reasons.
For once, it’d be nice not to err on the side of caution with these game-time decisions, be bold and opt to start the rookie goaltender. Hopefully it’s a lesson learned.