With the 2008-09 NHL season approaching, I'll be doing a Red Wings player-by-player preview leading up to Opening Night on October 9th. Rather than go in order of jersey number or depth chart position or our favorite players, I figure it would be more compelling to just pick guys at random.
Hence, we have backup keeper and newcomer Ty Conklin to kick things off.
Save %: .923
Conklin was signed by the Penguins before the start of last season to play behind Marc-Andre Fleury, but was called upon in December when Fleury went down with a sprained ankle. He played an intrigual part in Pittsburgh's run by filling in admirably, wnning his first 9 starts from December 20th to January 10th. As a backup you can't do much better than what Conklin did last year, keeping that team afloat while Fleury recovered. Even though he's playing for a loaded Cup Champion now it's still a reassuring feeling to have him as the insurance policy to Osgood knowing how well he did last year.
Ken Holland showed why he's the best GM in the biz by not missing a beat this summer. Picking up the best available backup goalie in Conklin wasn't the heart-stopping news that Hossa was but it could prove to be a very important move nonetheless.
Fun Fact: Conklin started in both of the NHL's outdoor games; in 2003 as Edmonton's starter and last season when the Penguins beat the Sabres on New Year's Day. He's an Osgood injury away from playing at Wrigley when the Wings take on the Blackhawks this year, which would improbably make him 3 for 3.
Additional Fun Fact: Conklin was known affectionately as "Conkblock" by Pens fans during his stay in Pittsburgh. I'm not a thief, but dammit that name is almost too perfect to not steal. In an era that fails in the nickname department when compared to gereration's past, "Conkblock" might be in a class of its own.
2008-09 Pointless Statistical Guess:
Save %: .909