Is it time for a new approach to the Ducks' goalie rotation?
With a string of one-goal defeats, Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle's "you win and you're in" goaltending rotation has amounted lately to "'T'was close, but you're toast."
Neither Jean-Sebastien Giguere nor Jonas Hiller is comfortable anymore with the approach, which started out as a way for each to control his own fate by playing well. But it has turned into a momentum-deadening cycle as they alternate with each loss, some of them hardly the goalie's fault.
Carlyle, who likes to keep his goaltending decisions close to the vest, sounds as if he might be close to changing his policy. The proof will come if Giguere starts Tuesday against Dallas despite losing to Ottawa in a shootout on Sunday.
Both goalies said the revolving door isn't ideal.
"Especially when you're playing well, and you feel you're rolling a little bit, sometimes you can't help it, you lose games," Giguere said. "You feel like if you kept going, good things could happen. Sometimes a judgment call is more appropriate than that.
"It's fair for both goalies, I guess, but obviously it's not the ideal situation for Jonas and I. But we have to make the best of it. We're both in the same boat. At least you know where you stand."
Hiller said the situation is "not easy."
"It kind of challenges each of us to win every game," Hiller said. "I don't think it's a bad thing, but it's probably not the best thing either."
Hiller has a 3.13 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage. Giguere a 2.63 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage.
Carlyle went with the plan at the start of a season he began with what looked like two solid starters who would push each other. With the team's other struggles, it hasn't turned out that way. When he abandons the plan remains to be seen.
"As I've discussed before, we were going to start that way," Carlyle said after the Ottawa loss. "When we make that change, when we make that determination, we'll make the selection based on who we feel will give us the best chance to win, versus, 'you win, you're in.' We'll have to make a decision when that changes."
-- Robyn Norwood
Photo: Randy Carlyle coaches the Ducks during a game against the Calgary Flames on November 23. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images.