Tobias Stephan Gets His Second NHL Start

by Kristine

Since this kind of news spreads like wildfire around the Stars bloggosphere, I’m sure this is already old news to most of you, but Tobias Stephan is getting his first start of the season – and second NHL career start – tonight against the Wild. The Wild, who is the only team left in the league without a regulation loss. Theories abound as to why Stephan is starting when both him and Turco have been working so closely with Andy Moog in practice. Some people think Tipp just plain wants to bench Turco; a time-out, think about what you’ve done type of thing. Some think our defense is relying too much on having a great goalie there and that playing in front of somebody who is basically – to use the word of the day – unproven will force them to step their game up in a big way.

Personally, I’m not even going to pretend to know what goes on in Tippett’s head. I just know that I’m a little conflicted about this. On the one hand, there are plenty of reasons this could be a good idea. Allow Stephan a chance to prove himself (or alternately, a chance not to, but thinking positive here). Plus, we’ve given Marty every chance to work through this and he obviously hasn’t been able to. Maybe the embarassment of being pulled so early into the season will motivate him and he’ll be able to come back on fire. On the other hand, this is a big game. The Wild have been on a roll all season, it’s our last home game before a two-week road trip, and worst of all? If we lose, we’ll be at 3-5-2 for October and that is not pretty. So having our back-up goalie come in and play only his second NHL start makes me a little nervous.

However, for the record, Stephan is apparently a big deal in Switzerland, where he is known as a very good goalie. His track record here, though short, thus far concurs. He did a fantastic job in his only NHL start, stopping 38 of the Blackhawks’ 40 shots. Last season in Iowa, he had a .910 SV% and a 2.55 GA. He’s even done decently well this season, stopping 14 of 17 shots total when he’s been thrown in to clean up Marty’s messes. I’ll be the first to admit that the numbers don’t always tell the whole story, but I think here they at least shows that taking a chance on Stephan isn’t as risky as it might seem.

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