The Duel in the D is about a week away, give or take a few days, my anticipation is building, I’m watching the weather more closely (traveling from Grand Rapids to Detroit is no cakewalk in a blizzard), and I’m debating whether or not to get team-related gear… I might just stick with a Wings jersey. Aside from my apparent wardrobe stresses, I’ve been sorting through the line ups, the stats, and the footage between these two teams. Focusing my attention on the goaltenders, the last line of defense, I have decided to do a little side-by-side assessment of the two whom my gut tells me, will be starting.
If I had to guess who will be standing guard in the crease on the 10th would be, I’d have to say Zach Nagelvoort of Michigan University and most likely, Ed Minney of MSU. Both players’ talent is evident. Looking plainly at the stats, its apparent that Nagelvoort, a senior and well-seasoned guardian between the pipes, has established a solid .917% save percentage and a modest 2.94 GAA. Serving well over 3000 total played minutes, his college career has managed to draw the eyes of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers; an impressive feet for the Holland, Michigan native. At the other end of the ice, standing at 6’5,” is Ed Minney of MSU. Recently, the junior has been making waves and impressive saves. Logging a 2.27 GAA and .891% save percentage so far this year, he’s making his own mark on the ice. Ever increasing speed, vision and confidence is what separates Minney from the rest of the pack. Both goaltenders battle hard for their team, making what would-be decisive games, hair-raising battles to the end.
Let me break from character for a moment to say that goalies get a bad rap from fans. Often being the heroes when championships and titles are won, but the target of blame and mockery when failure happens. For that, I am sorry, but I digress.
With the upcoming Duel in the D at the famed Joe Louis Arena, my eyes won’t be on the scoreboard as much as it will be on boys in the net. I am a neutral, and perhaps that gives me a more objective view, but I am looking forward to seeing more than just numbers, but the net-minders responsible for leading their teams. They may not wear the “C” or get the limelight as often as goaltenders deserve, but they protect the dream one puck at a time.