There are two things that you need in a backup goaltender. First, the ability to come in and play-and do so well-after not getting in the net for a while, keeping the GP for the number one guy to a minimum. Second, in case of injury to your number one (please God no), he would give your team the ability to still win a Cup.
I hate to say it; Conklin fails on both accounts this year.
Hit the jump for why.
There’s no question that he’s struggled this year. But unlike those who proclaimed that the game against Chicago was a turn-around of his season, I simply saw the same goalie who’s been a well paid sieve all season long, with a little luck on his side. The puck bounces off him rather than getting sucked in like Howard’s gotten so well at lately. His recovery and quickness simply doesn’t seem to be there. He’s never been great at recovery or standard pro-fly style which dominates the NHL lately, but he’s had that ability to just stop the puck. However, his flexibility appears to have suffered significantly since his last stint with Detroit, probably just a sign of age.
Anyway you look at it though, Detroit, with Howard in goal, has a chance to win #12 this season. But if things come to pass and Conklin is in net? I honestly don’t believe there’s even a chance. He can still make the big saves, but not consistently enough over a 7 game series.
From what I saw from Nabokov last night, he could still provide that level of goaltending. Hell, Osgood still could provide a chance to win the Cup. I don’t think Conklin could provide either of the two things we need him to on a consistent basis and I think we officially need to cut ties soon or otherwise risk it all in one of Nick’s final few seasons.