In this week’s week in review, we’ll take a look at some top performers from the previous week, and we’ll name the Backup of the Week. We’ll also get a glimpse of a very unique goalie mask.
Weinberg’s Metal Mask
If you grew up in Middletown Township, New Jersey during the 1990s and 2000s, chances are you’re a fan of the New Jersey Devils and Martin Brodeur. If you’re already a fan of great goaltending, you’re probably a fan of great goalie masks, too. And if you play drums for the band Slipknot, you need a mask anyway, which provides an amazing opportunity.
Jay Weinberg, who now serves as the drummer for Slipknot, wanted to wed two passions in his life: his work and his favorite sport. He already played goalie for an adult rec league hockey team, and his band are famous for wearing masks on stage. As he told former goaltender Mike McKenna on his podcast: “I basically had the mindset where I said ‘I play in a band where I wear a mask. I’ve got to have [his goalie mask] be my Slipknot mask.”
If Weinberg’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he is the son of legendary Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band drummer and Conan O’Brien bandleader Max Weinberg. Born in 1990, the younger Weinberg has already accomplished incredible things, including touring briefly with Springsteen in his father’s stead.
Weinberg has been with Slipknot, a heavy metal band known for hits like “The Devil in I” and “Psychosocial,” since 2014. He told McKenna about the similarities between goaltending and drumming:
As goalies, we have something in our brains that’s just a little bit off that get something out of that pressure. I think that translates to drums as well. The drummer has a lot of the same responsibilities that a goaltender does.Weinberg on the similarities between drumming and goaltending
So if you’re ever organizing a charity hockey event that needs a goaltender and musical entertainment, Weinberg is waiting by the phone. McKenna’s podcast, “6 Degrees with Mike McKenna,” is growing in popularity and is available wherever you get your podcasts.
The St. Louis Blues have a resurgent backup goalie in the form of Jake Allen. Recovering from a disastrous 2018-19 and a rocky start to this season, he is now 7-2-2, with a .931 save percentage (SV%) and a 2.36 goals against average (GAA). He also just started consecutive games for the first time since the middle of last season, and won them both, allowing only three goals. But the Blues tweeted about something even cooler that Allen does.
Allen’s relationship with the fanbase has been rocky at times, as many fans gave up hope on Allen earlier in his tenure. But he never gave up on the community of St. Louis. It’s a part of his disposition that made the Blues so keen on keeping him this offseason, despite the fact that their goaltending tandem costs them more than $8 million against the salary cap. Bravo, Jake, and keep up the good work.
Week in Review
Since the start of December, James Reimer has been fantastic for the Carolina Hurricanes, albeit in limited opportunities. He has started four games, going 3-1, with a .954 SV% and a 1.51 GAA. Taking nothing away from him, starting behind that stout Carolina defense must feel like a vacation after trying to bail out the Florida Panthers from 2016-2019.
Speaking of the Panthers, though, Sergei Bobrovsky may finally be heating up. He’s started seven games in December, and though he’s only 4-3, his numbers are much better: his GAA for the month is 2.02, coupled with a SV% of .943. That should come as a huge relief for Panthers management, who took a massive, $70 million gamble on Bobrovsky this offseason.
Mike Smith’s hot start with the Edmonton Oilers has come to a screeching halt. He has allowed ten goals across his last two starts and is 0-2-1 in the month of December. He carries a 4.35 GAA and a .826 SV% in 207:00 during the month. Martin Jones has posted an identical GAA and is 0-6 in his six starts, but at this point, picking on him seems unnecessarily vicious.
There are a number of surprising names that have had bad months of December as well, though. John Gibson, Marc-Andre Fleury, Jordan Binnington, Tuukka Rask, and Pekka Rinne all have a sub-.900 SV% in five or more starts. All of those goalies have also started 20 or more games for their team this season, so fatigue may be playing a role. Fortunately, the Christmas Break is almost upon us, which should give these goalies some additional opportunities to rest.
Backup of the Week: Pavel Francouz
We mentioned Pavel Francouz of the Colorado Avalanche earlier this week, but it bears repeating: the 29-year-old Czech goalie has been phenomenal. He has gone 8-0-1 in his last nine starts, for an incredible 17 out of 18 possible points. Goaltending was a major question mark for the Avalanche entering the season, but Francouz and his teammate Philipp Grubauer are putting those questions solidly to bed.
P.S.: For all of your goaltending history, trivia, news, and notes bookmark the THW Goalie Page and check back frequently for daily updates!
Stephen Ground is an author with The Hockey Writers and is co-host of the Two Guys No Cup Podcast. He enjoys studying the numbers and providing fresh looks at various stories.