Collin Delia made 30-plus saves Saturday for his third win since being called up from the AHL earlier this month. But has he done enough to take the start in net from veteran Cam Ward for the Blackhawks against the Bruins at the Winter Classic?
The numbers point to Delia being the clear choice, but let’s have some fun with this. Delia and Ward both participate in a shootout during Monday’s practice — as shooters in full goalie gear. Let’s have goaltending coach Jimmy Waite in goal. Whoever wins out of Delia and Ward gets the start.
Side note: You can’t spell Colliton without Collin.
Usually, I’m not one to throw a guy into the fire so quickly, especially with goaltending, but Delia is ready. It might be because the choices right now for the Blackhawks are slim, but the combination of talent and hard work is really clicking right now for him. I feel comfortable with him between the pipes, and I’d love to see him out there on New Year’s Day at Notre Dame Stadium. He might be a little nervous at the start, but once he settles in, he has a chance to be great for this team.
“Brevity is the soul of wit.”
Ward has a .886 save percentage and a goals-against average of 3.90.
Delia is at .957 and 1.66, respectively.
This ain’t rocket science.
Delia has been impressive in his three starts this season, and he has earned playing time going forward while Crawford is in concussion protocol. However, I think Colliton is going to give the nod to Ward, who is a veteran coming to the end of his career, has never played in an outdoor game and has played admirably even when the defense in front of him was still trying to figure out Colliton’s new systems. Of course, Delia has earned the right to be in net, but the right thing to do as an organization is to give the start to Ward.
Delia obviously has the hot hand. Statistically, he’s the best goalie the Blackhawks have right now. They play much better in front of him rather than Ward or Corey Crawford. Delia gives the Blackhawks a much better chance to win. He’s done well twice against Colorado, who have the most potent line this season. The Bruins have a lot of firepower and they need a goalie up to the task. I’d go with Delia, but my only concern is whether or not the stage will be too much for him to handle early on.