Bruins hope Riendeau's style is a winner

January 25, 1994|By Boston Globe

BOSTON -- One thing has been discovered in watching goaltender Vince Riendeau's first practice with the Bruins on Sunday -- he's no Daniel Berthiaume.

Thank goodness for small favors there. Berthiaume, the last goaltender the Bruins traded for (from the Kings on Jan. 20, 1992), was a total flop, not only in style but in performance (1-4-2, 3.16 goals-against average).

Riendeau, 27, who came to the Bruins from Detroit for a reported fifth-round selection in the 1995 draft, depends mostly on getting the angle on the shooter and then standing his ground, not providing the puck-handler any holes in his view of the net.

"He's not going to be out there deking and diving or anything like that. You're going to see an old-style type of goaltender," said coach Brian Sutter, who coached Riendeau for three seasons while with the St. Louis Blues, including the 1990-91 season, when Riendeau had his best season (29-9-6 regular season, 3.01 GAA).

"He does nothing flashy when he's on top of his game. He just stops the puck. He's not your typical goalie in the league now. Goalies are now out there and they're down and all over the place and handling the puck. I don't care what they do, quite frankly, as long as they stop it. They're paid to stop it and give your club a chance to win a hockey game. That's what we've got to have," Sutter said.

But Riendeau, who alternated taking shots with Jon Casey and John Blue in Sunday's workout, says he's not against hitting the ice every so often, in particular on the low shot.

"You can't do that [stand up] all the time anymore with all the talent there is. The game has changed a lot. Guys used to come down the wing and just shoot, but now there are so many passes, so many good plays, you just can't stand up all the time. You have to adjust to the situation," said Riendeau, who got in eight games (2-4, 4.00) for Detroit before being sent to the Red Wings' AHL franchise in Glens Falls, N.Y., to work on his game.

Sutter says he's not sure whether he'll start Riendeau tonight at Washington or later this week. "I'd say there's a good chance he'll be in there one of the next couple of games," is all Sutter will say of Riendeau, who last played Jan. 15 and was traded for on Jan. 17.

No one likes having three goaltenders on a team. It is why Riendeau asked to be traded from Detroit early this season. He shared playing time with Tim Cheveldae last season in notching 17 starts, but this season rookie Chris Osgood, just out of the juniors, grabbed Riendeau's share of the playing time.

"[Detroit] wouldn't play anybody who asked to be traded, and from there, I never got to play anymore," said Riendeau.

Now it's up to him. Sutter says he's not making any promises to anyone, that he's just looking for results. This type of show-me challenge is looked upon as being nothing but healthy in Sutter's eyes.

"Obviously, we want somebody to step to the forefront -- one, two, it would be nice if all three of them step in and become sharper than ever," Sutter said. "It's up to them to dictate to us who's going to be in there the next game.

"Obviously, there's something for [Riendeau] to grab. But you don't promise anybody anything. Goaltending is an area we obviously want to upgrade. We're not asking the goaltenders to make the big save all the time, we're just asking them to make the normal save all the time and the big save some of the time."

Riendeau doesn't want to waste any brain cells worrying about where he stands on the depth chart.

"You just go out and just hope everything's going to work out the best for everybody. Hopefully, my game will be on top so I can help the team win some games and from there we'll see what happens. In our job as goaltenders, we wish we could stop them all, whether they're easy, hard shots or whatever."

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