What was Biron thinking?
I have spent the last two days pondering the curious play that led to Pittsburgh’s game-winning goal in Saturday’s edition of the Keystone Klash. I’ve read the articles, watched the interviews, scanned the chatrooms, and discussed with friends. Truth be told, I’m still asking the same exact question that I asked as Crosby and Dupuis celebrated that tally: What on earth was Biron thinking?
Watching that play from my perch in section 210 of the Wachovia Center, it felt like a scene out of some C-level sports movie, in the range of The Cutting Edge for example. The instant I saw Biron moving away from his crease, I knew we were in trouble. The play he made earlier this year against New Jersey, giving the puck away directly to Brian Gionta which led to a Patrick Elias goal, has stuck with me all season; the memory flares up each time Biron comes out to handle a puck. Why he chooses to leave the goal empty when facing the best players in the world astounds me!
After that goal, I received a text saying that Marty Biron sure knew how to kill the buzz in a building. I believe, however, that the play did more than just destroy one afternoon’s excitement for Flyerdom. That type of play destroys fan confidence in a goaltender, particularly in an intense environment like Philadelphia. This city will not stand for subpar performances from a goalie, let alone gigantic blunders in the face of enemy #1 Sidney Crosby. But it also chips away at team confidence in their netminder, and that is the worst thing that can happen as the drive to the playoffs begins.
Whatever the cap issues are, whatever the rumors say, and wherever the Flyers’ scouts may be this evening, I suspect that Paul Holmgren may be looking for a new goaltender. Martin Biron and Antero Niittymaki have both had ample opportunity to show they can hold the job. And neither is convincing anyone right now that he is the best man to earn the nod.