Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Ascension of Curtis McElhinney

Curtis McElhinney in training camp
Today the news broke that Sergei Bobrovsky, the Blue Jackets Vezina trophy winning goal tender is out for 4-5 weeks with a bad groin, pulled last night in the Tampa Bay game.  Enter Curtis McElhinney who now assumes the reins of the starting goal tender position.  This is a tremendous opportunity for CMac, and as a fan, I'm actually pretty optimistic about how he will perform.

Yes, I do tend towards optimism, undeniably.   Though to balance that, I did jump on the 'Fail for Nail' bandwagon before Halloween in Arniel's last year.  I know a dead horse when I see one.  And CMac is no dead horse.

Consider the magnitude of this opportunity for CMac.  We picked him up at the trade deadline in 2011-12 as part of the Antoine Vermette trade to Phoenix, along with a 5th round pick and a bag of pucks, or something like that.  You see McElhinney was on injured reserve at the time, recovering from hip surgery.  He finished the year on injured reserve, and his contract expired.  That summer, with the lockout looming, he signed a two-way contract with Columbus, and when labor strife emerged, he started the year in Springfield.
Mike McKenna, called up to back up CMac

And things went well for him in Springfield.  The Falcons were winning, with Joey, Cam, Prout, and others bolstering the lineup.   Then finally the lockout ended, and the abbreviated 2012-13 season started.  McElhinney remained down with Springfield as the starting goal tender.  He needed to prove he was durable.  He posted a .923 Save Percentage and a 2.32 Goals Against Average (GAA), and backstopped Springfield to their first playoff appearance in a long time.  Pretty good numbers, a very creditable performance.

At the end of the year, with his two way contract expiring, Jarmo signed him to a one year-one way NHL contract, because basically, he earned it.  CMac has played well through camp, and in the games he has played in this year.  This has been a very long road for McElhinney, and now he has an opportunity to show that he can be a winning NHL goal tender.  And I think he is ready to seize this opportunity.

Mike McKenna has been called up to back-up CMac.  He is coming off a goal tender of the month award in Springfield, and currently is sporting a 1.91 GAA I believe (couldn't find his numbers at the last minute).  I thought McKenna played well in camp, and this represents a great opportunity for him as well.  I think he is poised to make the most of this chance.

So all is not lost in CBJ land.  We have guys who are ready to step in and do the job.  Now we get to see how it works out, but there is no reason at this point to be unduly pessimistic.

Good luck Curtis.  This is a great chance!  Make the most of it!

GO JACKETS!!

2 comments:

  1. For Curtis to overcome his pelvic injury is testimony to his grit. Good luck, Curtis, our playoff fate is, in your glove and stock hands.

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  2. I've watched every game this season. I prefer McElhinney over Bob based on their play thus far. I know, money, trophys and all that. McElhinney seems more confident in the net. He's a dam good goalie. He'll do great. -shmoono2

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