PRINCIPE: Goalie Oriented Team
Gene Principe takes a closer look at the battle in the crease for Edmonton between newcomers Viktor Fasth and Ben Scrivens
I really like my job on Sportsnet and I would not want to lose it. For that matter I really don't want anyone challenging me for it either. I know there's a kid somewhere who will eventually take my job and that's the way it works in life and in sports. You hear the athletes say it all the time. How there is someone just waiting to take their job. Now that makes sense if your successor is in the AHL or WHL but it's a little different when they are in the NHL and sitting right beside you. I can't imagine broadcasting a game and then someone else doing the next game. Then it's my turn again and back and forth we go. I'd be wondering about a mistake or slip up in words and what that might mean to get another 'start' in a broadcast. For now, as far as I know, I don't have to concern myself with someone bumping me from the lineup. However it's a different scenario if you are an Edmonton Oilers netminder.
Yes, welcome to life in the 'Fasth' lane for Viktor Fasth and Ben Scrivens. The two began their seasons Cailfornia Dreamin' of success with Anaheim and L.A. and now they have come to the Great White North and been, in a word, great. First came Ben Scrivens. On a day where the organization cut ties with Devan Dubnyk and started something new with Scrivens, who was bumped as the backup with the Kings. It could have been a short-term get together but the 27 year old's play guaranteed the Oilers wanted him. Ben felt the same way and a two-year deal sealed it for both sides. Not satisfied with simply adding one more goalie Craig MacTavish went hunting for another.
Just like on the day he acquired Scrivens. MacTavish again made two swaps. One sent away Ilya Bryzgalov. The other brought in Viktor Fasth, a netminder who was pushing Jonas Hiller for playing time until he was hurt and pushed out the door. Two netminders who were extras in California now have a leading role in Edmonton.
They sit beside each other in the room and watch each other in net. The goaltending for Edmonton has been a tennis match. Back and forth, back and forth they go with each netminder making a racket when they play. The competition hasn't hurt but instead helped their play. Along the way the two have also, in short order, built a working relationship that's budding into a friendship. I'm not sure I could make 'friends' with someone who was trying to take my job but Scrivens and Fasth have found a way to do it. They are professional in their play and their approach. We always try and teach our kids good sportsmanship and that's towards the other team. We don't often think of it as a quality within your own team and teammates. Sitting back and enjoying this all is the head coach and his team. Different goalies and yet same netminding. No clear cut number one has emerged and it appears that everyone, for now, is just fine with that. They are both in the infancy of their careers and trying to prove they can be 'the man'. Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth have provided Edmonton with great goaltending and great attitudes to match.