The best part of the Avs series win over the Wild was the play of Theo. He was simply awesome and is now playing like his 2002 Hart Trophy season in Montreal.
Theo has struggled in the net for the past few seasons. I think there were a number of off-ice situations that contributed to his poor play. Frankly, there were games with Montreal and Colorado were if the coaches put a orange cone in the crease they would have received better goaltending.
I was surprised (and pleased) the Avs did not buy him out last summer. I found it hard to believe a goalie as dominating (and young) as Theo had been a few years earlier could not play at an elite level again.
Through the season Theo worked hard and kept believing in himself hoping his fortunes would change. Just after the New Year, according to Theo, his play improved remarkably. He seemed to get better every game and came into the playoffs on a roll. The “roll” has not stopped. He was stellar, particularly in the last three games of the Minnesota season.
Whenever a hockey player is struggling, only determination, hard work and belief in ones ability can turn the ship around. It’s easy to feel sorry for oneself and stop working hard in practice. Most people’s nature is to take the easy way out and drift through practices when they are struggling thinking there is nothing to do but wait the slump out.
If you seem to be playing below your standards, remain calm and realize you may be in a slump. Every athlete goes through a slump – there is no exception.
So, understand you are just experiencing the norm then dedicate yourself to working particuarly hard in practices. Work on the fundamentals (movement, watching the puck all the way into your body, proper save selection, rebound control). With fundamental work slowly you will start to feel better. Once you feel better, your play will improve. Next thing you know, slump is history and you are back!!