I have to admit that I do not envy the difficult decision that Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rob Brind'Amour is currently facing.
The Carolina Hurricanes head coach is coming off back to back losses to the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Final, and his team is going to need to muster one hell of a comeback if they want a chance to get back into this series. On Monday Brind'Amour spoke to reporters following a routine practice for his Hurricanes and he made a few interesting comments about their ugly loss in Game 2. Brind'Amour openly admitted that he felt "fatigue" had played a significant role in their struggles and added that he was surprised it had not caught up to them prior to that moment.
Of course the biggest question of the day for Rob Brind'Amour was the one regarding his goaltending. Veteran goaltender Petr Mrazek has clearly been the organization's #1 goaltender but he is coming off the heels of a very poor performance, one in which he allowed the Boston Bruins to rack up the score with 6 consecutive goals. In fact if you go back to Game 1 Mrazek had allowed 10 straight goals before his team had the chance to respond with a goal of their own. Although it is unfair to completely blame Mrazek for the loss, the Hurricanes forwards and defensemen have plenty to answer for in their own right, there's no question that he contributed to Carolina's downfall. The very first goal of the game was a weak one and that put his team on the back foot right away, although it must be said that he also made some unbelievable saves during the course of the game.
It looks like it will be Mrazek for the Hurricanes in Game 3 as well. Sportsnet's National Hockey League insider Chris Johnston reported earlier today that Mrazek was in the "home" net at practice which usually indicates the starter for the next game. When you consider just how strong backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney has been for the Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup Playoffs however you have to wonder if this is the right choice. Yes, the sample size is small but McElhiny has been clutch.
For example: Mrazek has Mrazek has appeared in 11 games during the STanley Cup Playoffs and has recorded a 2.73 goals against average and a .894 save percentage. That works out to 660 minutes of time played for Mrazek in the playoffs thus far.
By comparison McElhinney has just 3 appeareances which work out to just 154 minutes of play time during these playoffs. However his 1.54 goals against average and his .947 save percentage have been outstanding.
When asked directly today about a possible switch Brind'Amour would only say "we've certainly discussed the options."