I don't agree with playing Rutledge over Racine and Janecyk simply because he's the scholarship goalie. That's like saying Red should have been playing Milne over the other walk-ons because he was on scholarship, too. Red doesn't just hand out playing time--you have to earn it. Heck, he benched Guptill for a weekend last month because he said he didn't like the way he practiced all week.
Rutledge hasn't had as many starts as Racine, but he hasn't done anything game-wise to earn them, either. I would think, given our goaltending situation, when he is given a chance he would step up to the plate and show why he should be starting more often. Instead, he ends up doing just the opposite. In his five starts he's given up 5, 4, 1, 7, and 5 goals (not to mention another 5 goals against the NTDP). Red's going to play the players he feels gives the team the best chance to win. I know this season is at a loss right now, but the boys are still going out there trying their best to turn things around, and I don't think it would be fair to he rest of the team to be forced to play with the goalie who is struggling most simply because he's on scholarship.
As for that scholarship, I agree with Red in honoring it. Look at what's going on with football this past week with Tuberville yanking scholarships of Cincy recruits (without telling them, no less) and a USC recruit and I'm sure there'll be more. Pulling a scholarship because the kid is underperforming sets a dangerous precedent, IMO. It can cause a lot more damage in the recruiting world than good. On top of that, why are we only targeting Rutledge when there's about 15 other players on scholarship underperforming this season?
I still think it's important to keep Rutledge around for another year and see if he can pull a Billy Sauer or Brendan Gibbons and turn things around. Remember, Sauer crashed and burned his freshman and sophomore years (and most memorably got publicly hammered by T.J. Hensick for it during the NCAA tournament with his "I don't know what's going on there..." remark). But once those guys graduated and new leadership took over (Porter/Kolarik) and the whole team attitude seemed to change (IIRC, Kolarik made remarks about lack of team unity off the ice), Sauer's game improved dramatically, to the point he was setting U-M records. Even his senior year, though the team couldn't score worth a lick in front of him, Sauer wasn't necessarily playing bad (he still put up good numbers despite not winning).
Remember, there's no new goalie help coming in next fall, so if you force him out, you're still left with Racine and Janecyk, and neither of them have proven to be a #1 goalie, either. I think Mike said in another thread that the talent is still there with Rutledge, but his confidence is shot. Maybe he's just not ready to handle the D-I level this year (IIRC, he also had a setback prior to the season with eye surgery or something...not sure if that has had an effect on his play). I don't think putting Jared out there giving up five goals a game is going to help him. Not every goalie is ready to step in as a true freshman, even though we've always kind of made that the norm at Michigan. Perhaps benching him and giving him more practice time and hitting the reset button over the summer would better serve him, and hopefully he can rediscover that talent he showed while with the NTDP.
1/15 8:46 AM | IP: Logged
I don't think you play him because he's the scholarship goalie. I think you play him because he's, at least theoretically, the most talented goalie. You brought him in to be the starter, he's been terrible, but he's only played back-to-back games what? One time this year? Maybe he needs to get in a groove.
Do you give a guy more playing time if he hasn't earned it? Not typically, but it's not like the other guys have earned the job either. You'd have problems in the room if one of the goalies was playing well and they put in Rutledge because he was the scholarship guy, but I don't think anyone could really fault them for saying "Okay, this season has gone terribly. Rutledge was going to be the starter. It didn't work out in the early going, but nothing we've tried has worked. We're going to give him another chance and see if he can play like the guy we thought we were getting."
You have a point about "Giving up 5 goals a game isn't going to help him", and that's where they have to weigh the kid's psyche and use some information about him that the coaches should be aware of that the public doesn't have. I could see shutting him down for the year and rebooting next year with hopefully a clean slate, but I could also see playing him if you think he can give you anything.
I'm a fan of experimenting over the next 10-12 games so that by the time the tournament rolls around, hopefully they're playing their best hockey. They have not killed the tournament streak yet. Even if they lose the next 12 they're going to have a shot to win their way in. The goal should be to do whatever they have to do to be playing their best hockey in 6 weeks' time.
Rutledge has been awful, but he's also got a track record of success against quality competition. If there's one guy out of the three that's capable of getting hot, it's probably him, don't you think?
1/15 12:40 PM | IP: Logged
I agree Packer and why I suggested you just keep playing all 3 goalies and go with who's playing the best come playoff time. Sit them all down and say look your each getting 4 more starts this season. I'm waiting for one of you to step up and become the goalie we want and need right now. After the season I am going to determine, by your play, who is going to be our playoff goalie and that is who we are going to ride for as long as we can. You do well in the playoffs and your our #1 going into next year.
I think this approach gives all 3 guys the chance to step up and be that guy. It shows the rest of the team that competition is still in place and you expect everyone to work hard and you'll find out who is your best goalie. The team will definitely know after the next 12 games and I suspect one of them will step up and shine brighter then the rest. You hope then your team rallies around him and you can have a successful run in the playoffs.
But, up to now no one has taken charged and IMO doesn't deserve to be called the guy. All three are on the team, because you have had some confidence/faith in all of them. Time to man up and step up and let them know they are all on equal footing now, but after 12 games it will be shaken out so make the best of your next 4 chances while you have it. To me it's a little bit of a reset button for all 3 guys.
I know we aren't in the practice of running off guys, but there comes a point where you have to do what's best for the program and if you have 3 goalies and they all suck, do you just keep all three around because your nice? To me it doesn't have to be a scholarship guy, but after another 12 games who ever is the worse of the three you basically say look your not going to play here anymore so you might want to move on. I'm not going to be able to get you anymore ice time. Heck you could pick up another walk-on if your in need of three guys and I don't see how it's going to get any worse. Maybe even find that diamond in the rough somewhere and bring him in.
I just feel like this is top tier D-I hockey and competition should always be part of the equation and if these guys need their ego stroked or some comfort level they are the man, then maybe there are in the wrong place. There is always added pressure with being a goalie and you need to learn to perform under that pressure.
1/15 1:31 PM | IP: Logged
At least IMO. Giving each of the 3 goalies 4 starts in the next 2 months isn't going to give any of them enough PT to fix their problems or give the coaching staff enough observations to decide who is good - either for the CCHA playoffs or next season. At a minimum (unfortunately), 1 of the 3 needs to be set aside for the rest of the year and the other 2 split the weekends for the rest of the season.
1/15 5:59 PM | IP: Logged
Maybe, maybe not. They all have had at least a few starts each already. You give them each another 4 starts and I would say each one will have a minimum of 7-8 starts for the entrie season. I think that's a pretty good body of work to see if any of them are really worthy of being the goalie UM can count on.
4 more starts with them knowing what's on the line will also show if anyone is stepping up. At this point in time I'm not expecting a Montoya/Turco type of performance. Just one of them to make the routine saves, maybe occassionally a special save. Are they cutting down angles properly, moving well. Doing what a goalie should be doing. Find the one who gives you the best shot and move on with him and hope you can get the best one to take the next step for next year.
It has just been a long, crappy year and I think it's time for some accountability and guys to know their jobs are on the line.