Switching Goalies For Shootouts

There’s been a fair bit of talk among the media and Leaf fans about Ron Wilson’s decision to pull Vesa Toskala out of the game in favour of Curtis Joseph for the shootout against the Ducks on Tuesday. I’m not sure what to make of it, and from the sounds of it, I’m not alone. Everybody I’ve talked to about it has had pretty much the same response to the move as I did. Basically, that was weird. I understand wanting to play the odds since Joseph is statistically quite a bit better than Toskala in shootouts, but bringing a guy in cold like that and then making him face penalty shots puts him in a really tough position. Defending shootouts is quite a bit different than coming in in the second or third to replace a guy who’s having a bad night, or even coming in to play overtime.

Ahh, overtime. I think that’s my biggest problem with the decision. If Wilson worries about Toskala’s shootout performance, why not give him the hook at the end of the third and let Joseph play OT in case the game winds up going to the shootout? The way I look at it, that would be a much better way to do things. Joseph gets a chance to face a few shots and get himself warmed up rather than just being thrown straight into the fire like he was the other night. There’s nothing to lose that way. You get Tosk out, and even if Curtis gives one up in OT you’ve still got the point you would have had losing in the shootout.

What do you all think? Gutsy move or bad decision? Could it have been done better? Should Joseph have played OT or should they have taken their chances with Toskala? Leave a comment, send an email, whatever. I’d love to hear more opinions on this.

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