Kiszla: Goalie controversy for Avalanche? Philipp Grubauer is here to take Semyon Varlamov’s job.

There’s a new goaltender in town, and he wants to take Semyon Varlamov’s job.

“That’s the next step for me, taking over as the No. 1,” Philipp Grubauer said Thursday, as he stood in the Avalanche dressing room on the eve of training camp. Make no mistake, Grubauer wants to own the room.

Colorado has a goaltender controversy. And that’s a very good thing.

The Avalanche is a team on the rise. In Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado has a superstar that’s half magic and half mercury, so mesmerizing quick he can change the course of a game or a playoff series in the blink of an eye. “He’s the best player in the world,” said teammate Nikita Zadorov.

Fresh off a season in which the Avs shocked the NHL, qualifying for the playoffs with 95 points in the regular season, the team’s young core is fearless and ambition. “We can’t underestimate ourselves … We can’t sell ourselves short,” captain Gabriel Landeskog said. “We’ve got to make sure we come in with some swagger.”

So what’s missing? A truly elite goalie Colorado can ride all the way to the Stanley Cup.

You say Varlamov is that goalie? I say check your calendar; it hasn’t been 2014 in a very long time.

Yes, Varly was once a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. During the past two seasons, however, he has been hurt way too often.

It’s time to rip-off the Band-Aid.

If the Avs are done messing around, waiting for the kids on the roster to grow up, then let the best goalie win the job and go chase the Cup in earnest.

When Colorado traded for Grubauer shortly before the opening the NHL draft in June, it was a very encouraging sign. He is 26 years old. He not only appeared in 35 games for a team that won the championship, Grubauer led the Washington Capitals in goals-against average (2.35), save percentage (92.3) and shutouts (three).

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How much bigger workload is he prepared to handle?

“It’s up to the coach,” Grubauer said. “But I want to play every one.”

Game on? Oh, it’s so very on. Varlamov knows he’s being nudged toward the door. Grubauer wanted out of Washington because he wants a team to call his own. Let the competition begin.

How will the Avalanche divvy the time between the pipes for 82 games?

“I don’t know anything about that. How many games …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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