Sunday, January 28, 2007

Three of five, because Boston has a whole set of goalies.

The Boston Bruins have five goaltenders currently in their system, because like me, GM Peter Chiarelli wants to collect the whole set and thensome. I'll let Sasky type to you about the two on Boston's roster, and I will tell you today about the three that are in Providence- Boston's minor league affiliate. And I will tell you about them alphabetically, because that is the most fair.

Brian Finley signed with Boston over the summer as an unrestricted free agent. Canadian-born, he was a first-round draft pick by the Nashville Predators, and he will be 25 on his next birthday, making him the youngest goaltender in Providence. He has been recalled to Boston a couple of times this season, and currently sits on the IR list with a groin strain, first acquired this season in November on recall to Boston, and re-aggravated in December with the pBruins on their end-of-2006 roadtrip through Pennsylvania. Wearing number 34, Brian seems to be a pretty quiet guy and very private, which probably makes him the most odd of the trio.

In November 2006, about the same time that Brian went down with his groin injury, Boston traded away forward prospect Tyler Redenbach to the Phoenix Coyotes for Phil Sauve. Trading for Phil upped the panic level around here (my apartment loooooves it some goaltenders) to Code Red: Constant Alert, because see, no sane organization needs five goaltenders between the big club and the minors. Things have relaxed around here somewhat, to maybe a Code Maroon: Ever-Vigilant, But Relaxed. The only thing I knew about Phil coming into the organization was that his dad had been Jonathan Girard's agent, back when Jon was playing hockey. I was immediately at conflict, because here I was, convinced that Phil was someone's ticket out of the Boston organization and therefore representative of heartbreak and misery, but he represented a link to one of the players I'd absolutely adored earlier in my hockey fandom. For a long time, I wasn't sure what to make of him. Phil is personable, and the only married goaltender in Providence (though, who knows what Brian is hiding), as well as the only American-born (Buffalo!) goaltender on Providence's roster. He will be 27 on his next birthday, making him the eldest of the goaltending trio. He wears number 31.

Jordan Sigalet is the other goaltender in the trifecta. When he plays, people who don't follow Providence/Boston as religiously as I do are often confused because his younger brother Jonathan is a defenseman with Providence, and they wear the numbers 56 & 57. Jordan and Jonathan have played together professionally for two seasons on top of the few seasons spent together in their amateur careers in college, and deities above help the GM that breaks them up, because I'll be on the warpath. As far as I am concerned, the Sigalets are a package deal, which is why telling you about Jordan is going to be difficult to do without mentioning his brother, and it will also be difficult to talk about him unbiasedly, because he and his brother are two of my favorite people in Providence.

Jordan hails from British Columbia, and will be 26 on his next birthday. In college, Jordan collected awards and honors like some people collect stamps, culminating in a nomination for an ESPY (Best Comeback- more on that in a minute) the summer before he turned pro. Jordan's first NHL game came just over a year ago, when Hannu went down with an ankle injury with less then a minute remaining in a game against Tampa Bay. Jordan and my roommate are probably the only two goaltenders to never allow a goal on TD Banknorth Garden ice. I have no desire to research and check if that fact is accurate. With the addition of Brian and Phil to the organization, Jordan has yet to get the opportunity to build into a full minute played in his NHL career, but he'll get there. Of the three goaltenders in Providence, Jordan gets the most media attention fixated on him because he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in March 2004, after a tough divisional weekend in college where his entire body went numb and the boy still went out and started both games for his team. If ever you wanted an underscore on the statement that goaltenders are maybe slightly crazy, there it is. There rarely goes by a story about Jordan without the writer needing to mention that he has MS, because everyone is amazed that he's able to keep his disease under control and continue to play hockey at such a high level. If he wore a cape and a giant S on his chest (for Sigalet; duh) while he did it, I would be more impressed. Otherwise, his ability to manage his disease and perform so well on the ice is just a testament to the kind of person he is. He is very active as a spokesperson for MS, moreso during the offseason. Off the ice, Jordan is friendly and never afraid to go the extra mile to help make someone's day. He and his brother both have endeared themselves to many a fan because they are so personable. Bastards!

If you want to read more on Jordan's battle with MS, you can start here with his website, Shut Out MS. If you still want more, do a Google search.

If Sasky passes on telling you about Boston's goaltending duo of Hannu Toivonen and Tim Thomas; I'll come back and type at you about them.


Heather B. said...

Hannu Toivonen freakin' KILLED one of my fantasy teams this season. Some magazine told me he'd have the starting job by December, but does he?! Nooooooo, he does not.

It was really interesting reading about some minor leaguers! Thanks, Heather!

Paige said...

I didn't realize they hey 5 goalies! That's sort of crazy. Tim Thomas is probably the best. Miller said they were "two american boys", he's really great. He's the only one I remeber seeing in action.

Heather said...

Thomas is good, but Hannu is better. He's more positionally sound then Tim. Tim has a tendency to flop around, and while it's getting it done in Boston right now, it's not going to get it done down the stretch. When Hannu is on his game, as he was in the loss to Ottawa Jan 20, he is phenomenal. Sadly, he has yet to get a solid chance to prove it.