December 6, 2007, was the date of the game that Penguins’ star goalie, No. 29, Marc-Andre Fleury, was injured with a high-ankle sprain while playing the Calgary Flames. Most of us Penguins’ fans were worried about what was going to happen to the team after that. Would they be able to make the playoffs without Fleury? Would the Pens’ backup goalies, Dany Sabourin and Ty Conklin, get them through those long 6 to 8 weeks that Fleury would be out?
After Dany Sabourin made an unimpressive start after Fleury’s injury, the team put Ty Conklin in goal. “Who the heck is Ty Conklin?” a lot of people thought. Well, this guy really made an impression. With Conklin being the go-to goalie for the Penguins, he has been having the best season of his career so far.
Ty Conklin is an Alaskan native, from Eagle River, Alaska. He began playing in the NHL in the 2001-2002 season with the Edmonton Oilers. He played only 4 games that year. He played on and off in the NHL and AHL, and other leagues through the NHL lockout year in 2004. For some of the 2006-2007 season, he played for the Columbus Blue Jackets, playing 11 games with them. Then he moved to the Buffalo Sabres, playing 5 games there. After a season with 2 NHL teams and playing in the Syracuse AHL, he was signed as a free agent. He was the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Baby Penguins’ goalie before being called up by coach Michael Therrien to be the starting goalie for the Pittsburgh Penguins after Fleury’s injury.
Ty Conklin went on a 10 game winning streak, not counting an overtime loss in Atlanta on January 12th. He ended his regulation game winning streak on January 18th, in the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Conklin has 3 shutouts so far this season, a save percentage of .936% and a GAA of 2.07. He has racked up 12 wins, and 3 losses. I’d have to say that Ty Conklin’s season has been quite incredible. I’ve seen him make some incredible saves on some incredible shots by some incredible hockey players!
The question is now, will Ty Conklin remain the goalie when Marc-Andre Fleury returns from his injury? It still hasn’t been decided; it’s a controversy among the team and Penguin fans too. This is what I think. I’m a Fleury fan, I enjoy watching him play as much as the next fan, but I want to see the Penguins win games and make it to the playoffs, rather than jeopardize those chances with a goalie who hasn’t played in 2 months. Who knows how good Fleury will be when he does return. Therrien might as well keep Conklin in goal while he is still hot and winning games. When he starts losing (if he starts losing), then put Fleury in. I think Conklin has the ability to take the Pens to the playoffs this year, from the looks of it. I don’t think the Penguins could have asked for a better back up goalie than Ty Conklin. Thanks for the great games! Let’s go Pens!