Islanders: The Tale of Five Goalies

By Jeff Klein
This season’s training camp at Lake Placid, NY is an all-out battle of men hungry for jobs and a place in that “dream” game. There is almost nothing more pure in the world. The situation is set up for a fall of three, but here we have the tale of five goalies.

First, there are five capable people in the mix, though some are greener than others.

Echoes of Philadelphia’s import Roman Cechmanek are waived at us through the media. Dusan Salficky is the first guy since Tommy Salo was exiled to Edmonton to bring international experience in net for the Islanders. This slippery net-minder played the typical Czech sprawled out style, and was 10th overall with 2.63 goals against, after 52 contests in the Czech Republic Extraleague. At 27, this Long Island hopeful is a big question mark. He raises the bar significantly.

The first to feel this could be Rick D. He had his fair share of bumps and bruises last year in white, blue and orange. Considering the company that has been invited to camp, one has to believe that Rick D. will be ushered intentionally to their minor league affiliate. Though he was impressive most of the time, his weak 5-hole and concentration lapses are signs of needed seasoning.

Stephen Valiquette has been a pleasant surprise, though he could be viewed as a long shot at the moment considering his competition. Stephen is a large man at 6’5”, and obviously keeps himself light at 212 pounds. Islander fans in general like this guy as he represents the hard working pro, not willing to quit. That sounds like the Islander credo from years’ past.

When there’s Snow around, it is time to play hockey. Even though Garth has shown that he can be a number one goalie, this guy has been bussed around more than the Partridge Family. His resume includes time under the Lindros administration. There he went an overshadowed 40 wins, 25 losses over three seasons and a very respectable 2.63 goals against average. Then he was shipped off to endure the long Vancouver winters. As a Canuck he fell well under the accolades performed in Philly.

The last guy that comes to mind is a relatively new face in the organization in David St. Germain. He was an undrafted, over-aged QMJHL player whom the team has stumbled upon during last years preseason. His role in the training camp might not be more than making sure the ice is slippery.

It appears that there is only one vacancy to fill between the pipes since the obvious man in is Garth Snow. The question then becomes does he lead, or follow from the bench.