Good afternoon, readers:
I know most people reading this post are Penguins fans, and for whatever reason, you choose to dislike Bruce Boudreau, presumably because he once had the audacity to accept the job as Capitals coach.
Well, I understand, but you need to get over any animosity that you might feel.
Boudreau is the man. He likes pastries, he swears like a sailor, and he’s one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met in hockey. (And hockey is filled with friendly people…)
So, on Sunday, after Boudreau answered a few questions about his team, I asked him about John Gibson. Local hockey fans know Gibson as the local goaltender from Whitehall who is already remarkably accomplished internationally. He’s playing in Norfolk for Anaheim’s system, and really, it’s a shame he’s in Anaheim’s system.
No team in hockey has more goaltending depth in its system. You know how the Penguins are somewhat obsessed with drafting defensemen? Well, the Ducks view goaltenders in a similar way. They’re ridiculously loaded in this department.
Still, I had to ask Boudreau about Gibson. I saw Gibson play in Hershey a few weeks ago, and it was pretty evident that he simply was too good for that level.
Boudreau didn’t seem to disagree with me. Here’s how he answered a question about Gibson’s development and performance in training camp.
“He was good,” Boudreau said. “Especially in a preseason game in Colorado where he said, ‘I’m not going to allow any goals,’ and he stopped a dozen point-blank shots.”
But Barbeque Bruce was just getting started.
He had a smile on his face that Dan Bylsma gets when he talks about Olli Maatta. You know, the one that says, “Holy crap, this guy is going to be great.”
Boudreau continued his lavish praise of Gibson in a special way.
“His future is like a supernova star,” Boudreau said. “He’s going to be a solid, solid NHL goaltender for many years. We don’t want to rush him and we do have other quality guys here.”
Boudreau wants Gibson to learn his craft even more before he finally reaches the NHL. It worked for Braden Holtby and many other goaltenders in Washington, where Boudreau was coach, and he believes it will work for Gibson.
If Gibson is frustrated by not being in the NHL, he’s not letting on. In an interview with the Tribune-Review two weeks ago, he said, “I’m not worried about what I can’t control.”
That’s a good attitude for him to have, because it’s pretty clear that his time will come very, very soon at the NHL level. The smile on Boudreau’s face said it all.
“The more experience he gets in the American League, the better he’ll be,” Boudreau said. “I’ve seen it help many, many goaltenders and it will help him.”
So, soon enough, we’ll be seeing Gibson playing at Consol Energy Center when the Ducks come to town. And I promise you, he’s the real deal. Just a special, special goalie, and a good kid.
But until then, we’ll just have to enjoy Teemu tonight. Should be fun. See you at the rink.