2003 - 2004
January 6, 2004
Generals iron man Berthiaume plays on
The team's search for a reliable backup to the 37-year-old continues after Jamie Hodson is recalled.
BY LARRY KEECH
GREENSBORO - Perhaps age is a relative term, as the saying goes.
Nonetheless, 37 seems like an advanced age for a man to spend the better part of a couple of hours a day crouching on ice skates and wearing heavy pads. Let alone defending a 24-square4oot area from hard rubber projectiles traveling at speeds well above the posted limit on most highways.
Even though the Greensboro Generals' Daniel Berthiaume remains one of the most accomplished goaltenders in the ECHL, he probably could use some occasional relief.
But as the Generals approach the second half of their schedule, relief remains in short supply for Berthiaume, who leads ECHL goalies in minutes played with his 38th birthday less than a month away.
Berthiaume's 1,658 minutes in the Generals' first 31 games is 19 more than any of his counterparts in the 31-team league have played. He also ranks second in saves (848) and is one behind the co-leaders with 18 of the Generals' 19 wins. And he's the league leader with four overtime wins.
On the other hand, his goals-against average of 3.15 per game doesn't quite measure up to last season's 2.90 figure.
Despite Berthiaume's age and workload, Generals coach Rick Adduono believes he's playing at least as well as he did a year ago.
"Our defense was better last year," Adduono said Monday. "By this point last season, our defense was settled. Right now it's still unsettled."
Adduono has tried to find a reliable backup goaltender. He thought he had one last month when Jamie Hodson, who played 14 games for the Generals last season, returned to Greensboro after a stint with the American Hockey League's St. John's Maple Leafs.
But after Hodson helped Team Canada win a gold medal in the Spengler Cup international tournament late last month, he was recalled by St. John's on Monday.
With Hodson gone, Adduono has turned to 24-year-old Martin Kresac, who played one game before he was released earlier in the season.
"With Hodson, we'd have two No. 1 goalies," Adduono said. "Marty (Kresac) is a prospect who can get the job done if he gets the right opportunity. But it seems like every game we've played has been too important to take a chance."
Consequently, Berthiaume's heavy workload is unlikely to diminish until Hodson is available again.
"Bert's age hasn't kept him from remaining a dominant player," Adduono said. "He's a competitor who expects nothing less than dominance and is willing to carry the load as long as he needs to. He's just going to have to carry the load until Jamie comes back or until he tells me he's too tired or hurt to play."
Contact Larry Keech at 373-7080 or email@example.com