Laurent Brossoit isn’t going to settle any arguments about whether he’s a bonafide long-term option in goal for the Edmonton Oilers behind Cam Talbot no matter what he does in the crease against the Buffalo Sabres tonight. That said, it’s about time he at least made a case that he deserves a longer look.
With Talbot battling the flu after fighting the puck far too often this season, Brossoit gets the call against the struggling Sabres. Tonight will mark the 20th appearance and the 13th start of his NHL career for the 24-year-old former Edmonton Oil King, who hasn’t exactly wowed coach Todd McLellan when he’s given Talbot a night off and put the kid in the blue paint this season.
Through five appearances this season, Brossoit is 0-2-1 with a .865 save-percentage and a 3.62 goals-against average. All told, Brossoit takes the crease with an NHL resume that reads 4-8-2 with a 2.92 GAA and .900 save-percentage. Here and now, Brossoit gets the pipes with the Oilers absolutely needing a win against the Sabres, who have lost seven straight.
In the big picture, the Oilers need to find out if Brossoit has what it takes to spell off Talbot for 16-20 games a season without the team veering off into the ditch and losing games they should win when the back-up starts. Brossoit already has his share of critics within the Oilers’ fanbase and it’s not unfair to suggest McLellan and the coaching staff likely aren’t sure about him either. If Brossoit can’t do it, they’ll find somebody who can.
Brossoit came on in early relief of Talbot in the 8-3 ass-kicking the Oilers took against the St. Louis Blues Tuesday, allowing six goals on 37 shots on a day nobody had anything going. Brossoit’s last start was Nov. 12 in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals. He was sharp, stopping 18 of 19 shots through regulation and overtime. The Oilers could use an encore tonight.
“My preparation felt good,” Brossoit said of his start against the Capitals. “I felt ready when I stepped in there. That game, the boys were very structurally sound. It helped me a lot and helped me get into the game.” As for tonight. Brossoit isn’t weighing himself down with big picture stuff or about a Sabres team you’d expect to come at the Oilers hard with this losing streak on the go.
“I don’t take the opposing team as a consideration based on the fact I’ve just got to focus on what I’m going to do and that’s what I’m going to do,” said Brossoit, who’ll be making his third start of the season.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve got no great record when it comes to getting a read on how young, developing goaltenders are going to turn out – you might recall I had my money on Jeff Deslauriers years ago and that ended badly. I can’t say with any certainty how Brossoit will turn out, especially when the vast majority of his time is spent as a cheerleader on the bench. It takes a special kind of stopper to be an effective back-up. Go in, win. Sit.
What I do know is the Oilers are already up against it in the standings with an 8-12-2 start in the books and they desperately need two points tonight against a team that’s no great shakes. That falls to Brossoit and the Oilers in the line-up tonight who aren’t coughing and puking their way through the end of this road trip. Tonight is an opportunity for Brossoit to make a case for himself. He’d be wise not to squander it as this point in his career.
WHILE I’M AT IT
- Brent Saik, the founder of the World’s Longest Hockey Game, is at it again and today announced the dates of the next hockey marathon to raise funds in the fight against cancer. It’ll go Feb. 9-19 out at Saiker’s Acres at the hockey rink he’s built on his Sherwood Park acreage. If you haven’t been out to watch, mark the dates down and try to get out there to support the cause. If you’ve gone, you know how much the participants appreciate the support. You can read more about it here.
If you’re looking to stock up on some fresh NationGear for the holidays there is no better time for wardrobe upgrades then today. Check out the brand new designs that are exclusive to the Black Friday weekend. Don’t wait, though. Quantities are limited.