Injuries have forced the Sharks' Evgeni Nabokov (7-1-1), the Senators'Jani Hurme (5-1-3) and the Bruins' Andrew Raycroft (3-5-0) into starting roles. Several other teams with Cup hopes have entrusted backup positions to rookies, including the Avalanche ( David Aebischer), Blues ( Brent Johnson) and Stars (Marry Turco). While cost cutting is a factor in most cases—the rookies tend to earn about $400,000 less than veteran backups—a more salient reason is the skill level that Holland refers to.
The highly regarded Johnson, for example, makes about $1.1 million, a lot more than St. Louis would have spent on an experienced backup. Johnson, 23, beat out veteran Dwayne Roloson in the preseason and at week's end had gone 5-0-0 behind 30-year-old first-stringer Roman Turek. The Blues like having a young goalie with No. 1 potential developing in the NHL.
So do the Avalanche. "I'm not concerned about having a rookie in that spot," says Colorado general manager Pierre Lacroix, who recalls rookie Patrick Roy's leading the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup in 1986. "We're as confident having David Aebischer as a backup as we would be with, a second-string goalie who's 33."
Twins Are the Rage
Good Things Come in Twos
The Canucks' rosy-cheeked 20-year-old rookies, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, may be the NHL's twin sensation, but they're hardly the only former wombmates to arrive on the NHL scene over the last year. During the Stanley Cup finals fans saw double when Devils goalie Martin Brodeur's fair-haired four-year-olds, Jeremy and William, came to games to cheer Dad and often were the focus of TV cameras. More recently the wives of Avalanche center Joe Sakic and Stars forward Jere Lehtinen gave birth to twins, while the wife of Kings winger Nelson Emerson is expecting a pair in March.
"Tell them that twins are twice as much fun, twice as much work," says Blackhawks enforcer Bob Probert, whose wife, Dani, delivered daughter Declyn and son Jack on May 2. "My kids aren't as good as the Sedins, but they're learning. If I put a teddy bear on the floor, they both scramble over to pick it up. Usually my little girl grabs it first. Then she bonks my son on the head with it."