The best I can see for McCollum is for him to be a mediocre backup for a team that's not the Wings. I hate to say that because I like the kid and his only NHL experience was such a dumpster fire, fuster cluck that I won't even bring it up in detail. McCollum has ok skills but he's not great by any stretch of the imagination, but his weakest point is his mental game. For a first round pick I'm a bit disappointed, and I doubtful that his career will be with the Red Wings organization much longer. I don't think the Wings sending him back down is the last straw for him, although it's clear the organization has lost some faith in him and isn't comfortable starting him. Bringing Mrazek up is a great opportunity to the Wings to play him in a game and sort of gauge what they have. Mrazek played 3 years in the OHL for the Ottawa 67's and started this season off in Toledo for Walleye (ECHL) he played a grand total of 3 games there (2-1) before being called up to Grand Rapids because both McCollum and Pearce left much to be desired. Mrazek has played 25 of the Griffins 44 games and has a 2.24 GAA, .916 SV% and 1 shutout (That I was in attendance for on Saturday!) .
|Mrazek warming up right in front of me. I call this "Mrazeking". He also looks darn good in the Wings Red and White.|
I think the Red Wings are taking a serious look at what they have in Mrazek, not only because of how good he is, but because Jimmy is the only healthy NHL goaltender we currently have, and also because we only signed Gustavsson to a two year contract and Jimmy is a UFA at the end of this season and there are going to have to be some serious decision made in the goaltending department. I never thought I'd see Mrazek even get a sniff at the NHL for at least a couple years, so his being called up caught me completely by surprise. That surprise quickly turned to excitement, glee and an indescribable urge to run around the room screaming and fist pumping. Of course there's no guarantee that Mrazek will get to play, but it sounds like Gustavsson is more than a few games removed from being ready to play, and Jimmy needs a rest. If Gustavsson isn't ready to play by this weekend, we will see Mrazek start a game, probably Sunday against the Kings.
Should I be concerned about throwing Mrazek into an NHL game so soon? What if he gets the McCollum treatment for his first game and yet another goalie is ruined? Just hold on to your panic panties I say. Mrazek's mental game is rock solid, that's a big part of what makes him the complete package. Even if Mrazek has been in McCollum's skates and gotten hung out to dry and absolutely shellacked , he wouldn't have let it get to him like McCollum did. I'm not worried about treating Mrazek like he's fragile, because he most certainly isn't. He's incredibly talented, skilled, and works his butt off, he's also rock solid mentally and that's essential for a goalie. Mrazek has been on the fast track to the NHL and he deserves to be. OHL -->ECHL-->AHL-->NHL in only a few months? That would be an accelerated pace for any goalie or team, but it must be unheard of in the Red Wings organization. I know he hasn't started a game yet, and if Gustavsson heals and is ready to play by this weekend, I may cry bitter bitter tears of disappointment.
If you want a little Mrazek porn to get you in the mood, may I refer you to some Goalie Porn I posted earlier.