Yes, I too have fallen victim to use of a cheap pun with Alex Auld's name. But you know me, let no cheese go unused!
Funny thing happened the other night while watching the Sens game. The opposition took a clear shot on net from well out.. and I didn't wince, my hands didn't begin to shake and I didn't expect it to go in! I realized that that is what I've come to expect as a Sens fan, that any shot on net, no matter how weak, could potentially elude our goalie.
But things have changed lately. Alex Auld has given us something we haven't seen in along time: solid, dependable goaltending. And what a pleasant surprise it is! I can finally relax a little watching a game and not feel this impending dread that the roof will fall in at any moment thanks to a softie slipping past a glove hand or under an arm. I cannot think of a single goal he has allowed that he should have had. This is new territory for me and I gaze with wonder as I travel through it.
Auld has not been brilliant. He has not been spectacular. I think the key to his success has been that he hasn't had to be because from what I can see, he is just a very solid, positionally sound goalie that always seems to be in control and never gets himself hung out to dry. Oh, and he's freakin' huge. That helps too.
Not to go unmentioned is the fact that he has benefited from much better play by the team in their own zone. There are very few second opportunities being given out these day. Now, that may be a result of the team simply getting better or it might very well have to do with being confident in the keeper behind them. Maybe both. Probably both. Certainly both.
The fact that the Sens' recent success started the same time as Auld took over the crease from Gerbs is no coincidence. He has given them exactly what they needed as they struggled to adapt to a new game plan, a new coach and find their game: just some solid, dependable performances.
We can't see the future and we don't know if this is a flash in the pan or if Auld can maintain this play for a full season. I do know that my hands shake less these days while watching the game and that means fewer beer stains on my shirts. That is truly Auld I can ask for. (What can I say, I am weak for the cheese.)