Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Rise and Fall of Patrick Lalime

It was 10 years ago. 10 years ago many people were marvelling at the stellar play of Patrick Lalime. With both Pittsburgh starting goalies out, Lalime was called up to start for them. He went 14-0-2 in his 1st 16 games in the NHL and had an overall record of 21-12-2 with a GAA of 2.94. He was looking like the best thing since sliced bread, but it wasn't all roses throughout Lalime's career.

After his 1st year in the NHL, the Penguins couldn't get a contract extension out of Lalime. He spent most of that year with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the IHL. Later in the season, he was traded to the Mighty Ducks. The next year he failed to make the NHL roster and was sent to the Kansas City Blades of the IHL. That year he lead the league in wins, minutes played and saves.

On June 18th, the Mighty Ducks traded Lalime to the Ottawa Senators, where he would split the goal-tending duties with Ron Tugnutt. He open the season with a shutout against Philadelphia and went on to get a 19-14-3 record, a GAA of 2.33 and save percentage of .905. The Sens season was then ended by the Leafs.

In the 2000-01 season, the Senators gave Lalime the starting job where he did not disappoint posting a 36-19-5 record, 2.35 GAA, and a save percentage of .914. He also lead the Senators to the North-East Division title, but would then be given an early exit by the Leafs. In 2001-02 Lalime had a 27-24-8 record, 2.48 GAA and .903 save percentage. He was 2nd in the league with 7 shutouts and set a club record with a 149:41 shutout streak from October 23 to November 10. After a 1st round win against the Flyers (thanks to Lalime's phenomenal play), they, for the 3rd straight year got eliminated by the Maple Leafs. In '02-03, Lalime led the Senators to the Presidents Trophy. Lalime finished the season with 39-20-7 record. They finally got past the early rounds of the playoffs and made it to the Conference Finals, where they were eliminated by the eventual champion New Jersey Devils in 7 games. Lalime had an O.K year in 2003-04 having only 2 more wins than losses and playing weakly in a 1st round loss against the Leafs.

In the off-season of '04, the Senators traded Lalime to the Blues. During the lockout year, he would not play any hockey. In his 1st year with the Blues, he contributed to the Blues league worst 57 points. In July 2006, Lalime was signed by the Blackhawks and now backups Nikolai Khabibulin.

Throughout his career, Patrick Lalime has been the hero and the goat. But now, it seems he will never be either of those again. At least he won't in the NHL.


Oracle said...

Goalies are strange animals. Anyone remember Vezina and Hart winner Jose Theodore or Calder winner Andrew Raycroft?

gobudz said...

One needs to rise in order to fall. Lalime IS and has ALWAYS been a worthless goalie in the NHL. His weakness was masked by a Jacques Martin defensive minded team, and wonderfully exposed by the Leafs in numerous playoff series.