Markstrom Keeps Working With Vladar Set To Start Again
Dan Vladar looks to be the starter for the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night against the Minnesota Wild, with Jacob Markstrom continuing to work on his details.
It looks like Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom is going to get at least one more night off.
Dan Vladar didn’t skate Wednesday, leaving the traditional starter’s net empty during a very optional morning skate ahead of their game against the Minnesota Wild.
Markstrom was manning the other crease, getting some extra work in.
Extra work is what the Flames’ top goaltender has been doing since declaring that he “sucks at hockey” during an emotional moment last week.
But he’s been Vladar’s biggest fan and ally during this stretch, which will see the backup start a third straight game on home ice.
He’s racked up three straight wins at the Saddledome overall, beating the Florida Panthers on Nov. 29, then the Washington Capitals last Saturday and the Arizona Coyotes on Monday.
“It’s been awesome to see Vladdy in net. That’s really inspiring. We push each other every day, and he’s been unreal,” Markstrom told reporters on Tuesday.
“We’re a team. I love Vladdy. The progress he’s made the last two years is unbelievable, and I think he’s going to be a really good goalie for a really long time in this league. It’s great for our team. He’s standing on his head right now, and I couldn’t be more happy every time he makes a save or every time we score a goal.”
There’s no reason to doubt that.
Markstrom’s face has been the subject of many camera zooms over the past couple of games. He’s been a mentor and provider of advice to Vladar during exchanges from the bench, illustrating their relationship.
It looks a lot different than the visibly frustrated and emotional version of himself that made that stunning declaration following a 2-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens that started with a bad decision by Markstrom that led to a Habs goal 13 seconds in.
“Sometimes, you’re still upset and still angry and frustrated, and that carries over into an interview 15 minutes after a game. If you wait an hour and ask me the same question, you would get a completely different answer,” said Markstrom, who has had time to reflect on his words.
“But that’s my competitiveness. That’s what made me who I am today, and that’s going to be there.”
With the extra practice time with coach Jason LaBarbara to focus on the details of his technique and approach, he expects to be better when his next opportunity arrives.
The Calgary Flames play back-to-back nights on the road on Friday and Saturday in Columbus and Toronto, so it’s likely Markstrom gets one of those two.
“If you put in the reps, it’s going to show in games,” said Markstrom. “It’s all about details and putting in the work. It’s always been that way, and I was always taught that way. If I play 62 games or 15 games, my mindset doesn’t change.”
With an 8-6-2 record, a 2.97 goals-against average and an .889 save percentage, it’s fair to say things haven’t been great for last year’s Vezina runner-up.
Vladar, meanwhile, has gone on a little tear while starting five times in two weeks, posting a 1.98 GAA and .935 save percentage in that span. He might be the future of the Calgary Flames crease as a 25-year-old in his second full season, but the 32-year-old Markstrom is a critical piece for short-term success.