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InGoal daily update: Grahame detained at border

InGoal daily update: Grahame detained at border

Plus Flyers goalie carousel may stop at Boucher, Rask going back to goalie school, and more

Colorado Avalanche goalie John Grahame

John Grahame was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons before a shutout Saturday. (Photo by Kevin Woodley)

John Grahame turned a lot of heads – and left more than a few of them being scratched – when his new mask, complete with pin-up girl tributes to both the Air Force and his grandmothers, debuted here at InGoal Magazine last month.

The colourful stories behind the rest of his mask details, including the word “Rorschak” and an inkblot on the back for what turned out to be his own lineup of fine wines out of Napa Valley, provided one of our more interesting mask stories of 2010. Now it may also hold a clue into his run in with the law

Grahame was at one point this week reportedly arrested at the border while trying to get back to Cleveland on the team bus after a game in Toronto with the Lake Erie Monsters, the Colorado Avalanche farm team. But as Grahame explained to reporter Dennis Manoloff of the The Plain Dealer after making 30 saves in a 3-0 shutout of Hamilton this weekend, it was just a “minor, private, personal business matter.”

“There was no arrest,” Grahame said. “The only reason I had to go to the holding center was because you couldn’t wait that long at the border It was a small misunderstanding – a miscommunication, really.”

John Grahame New MaskGrahame insisted there was no legal issue back in Vegas (because nothing unusual ever happens there, right?) and considering he told InGoal during the mask interview that his small boutique brand of wine is only served at high end steakhouses and hotels in both Las Vegas and Denver, it is possible there is now yet another story to go with his nice new lid. Of course nothing will top pin-up girls and grandmothers.

Boucher’s 34th birthday present was a turn in Flyers carousel

It seem unlikely a lot of people would pick a trip to Detroit to celebrate a birthday, but Philadelphia’s Brian Boucher was happy his 34th birthday present Sunday was a start against the powerful Red Wings.

With Michael Leighton winning in Los Angeles, and Russian rookie Sergei Bobrovsky playing (and losing again) the next night in Anaheim, it may have simply been Boucher’s turn in what has become the NHL’s most literal and overcrowded crease rotation (at least until Mike Smith gets healthy in Tampa Bay). If Boucher keeps playing like he did against the Wings, however, a lot of observers in Philadelphia believe the carousel will stop at him.

That’s exactly how long-time Flyers beat writer Sam Carchidi sees things playing out at after Boucher made 25 saves, highlighted by the momentum-shifting third period glove stop on Johan Franzen below, to help end a 0-13-2 run at Joe Louis Arena that dated back to 1988 (not including two losses in the 1997 Cup Finals).

“I though Boosh was in control from start to finish,” head coach Peter Laviolette said.

That’s about as far as Laviolette will go with his rotation, but the expectation is Boucher, on a 6-0-1 run before getting lit up and lifted in Vancouver Dec. 28 when his team didn’t show up to start the road trip after a week off over the holiday. InGoal Magazine already documented the work Leighton is putting in to get back in the lineup more with practice video and an interview, but after hearing arguments Bobrovksy is struggling because he’s not playing enough, we will take a close look at how Flyers goalie coach Jeff Reese is managing his three-headed monster later this week.

Rask going back to goalie school in Boston

Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask prepares to make a save. Photo by Scott Slingsby

Tuukka Rask was one of the NHL’s best goalies last season, but after losing the starting job to the rebuilt hip of a rejuvenated Tim Thomas early in the season, the Finnish phenom has struggled with limited playing time, going just 2-7-1 despite a .922 save percentage. His last ended early after three goals on 16 shots in 20 minutes Saturday before Thomas took the loss in relief of a wide-open game with Buffalo.

Rather than play his way out of it, reports in Boston indicate Rask will sit out for the forseeable future, or at least until Bruins goaltending coach Bob Essensa arrives mid-week for some quality time with Rask.

Head coach Claude Julien told the Boston Globe opinion he doesn’t think the problem is technical, but rather an issue of lost confidence, something he hopes Essensa can help with.

“Head stuff,’’ Julien told the Globe. “Mechanically, he’s a sound goaltender . . . he needs to build his confidence back up.’’

Of course the easiest way to do that might be to play a little more often without the fear of a bad period leaving you on the bench the rest of the week, but the Bruins aren’t the only organization that has let a quality backup gather confidence-zapping rust this season while overplaying a hot No.1.

Montreal may be the most extreme example, though Alex Auld is a more established veteran who has done well to play well in limited action (he won on New Year’s Eve in just his fourth start and fifth appearance all season!), something he recently told The Hockey News is not easy to do as a goaltender.

Auld talked with InGoal earlier this season about how he uses practices to stay game ready. You can check out the full interview in an audio clip, but among the key advice for goalies everywhere was not getting frustrated by the frequent forward drills in practice that can actually be detrimental to goalies:

“Even in drills where it is not focused on goalies and can even be bad for goalies you have to force yourself to focus on one thing maybe and work on it rather than worry about ‘this drill sucks for goalies’ or worrying about whether the goal is scored,” Auld said. “Pick one thing in that drills that you can focus on and do it. Maybe recovery in slower drills it can be recoveries after a save.”

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