PuckDaddy- Jake Allen was pulled in a 7-3 loss to the Capitals. Twice. And for the fourth time in his last six starts.
“I don’t know how far it sets him back. There’s a lot going on right now. A lot in his head. He’s locked up mentally, and he’s going to have to fight through this,” said coach Ken Hitchcock.
Allen was pulled after allowing two goals on three shots in the first period. Backup Carter Hutton came in for 2 minutes and 22 seconds, and then Allen returned. It’s something Hitchcock has done before to give him goalies a mental break.
But then he was forced to completely pull Allen after giving up a fourth goal, 7:33 into the second period. He’s now been pulled in three straight starts.
“It went south when it went to 4-1,” said Hitchcock.
“We gotta get him unlocked. He’s just locked up right now,” he said.
Damn, I'm a little stunned this move didn't work out in the Blues' favor. Who would have thought that making your mentally compromised goaltender leave the net in front of an arena full of fans to serve - what essentially amounted to - a two minute minor for sucking wouldn't settle him down? I don't know where Ken Hitchcock goes from here, but maybe he should try another form of punishment like bending Jake Allen over his knee and giving him three televised whacks on the bum with a wooden spoon and praying that a little impact correction can help beat his act back together against a team as immensely talented as the Washington Capitals. Honestly, it's too bad that the Blues don't keep a chalkboard behind their bench, or Ken Hitchcock could have helped his completely exposed goaltender take his mind off giving up two goals on three shots by writing "I solemnly swear not let 66% of pucks by me" as many times as possible during the commercial break.
Making tough decisions as an NHL Head Coach is generally a high risk/high reward proposition, but I can't think of anything that lends itself to a better rate of success than the oft-used therapeutic strategy of throwing hobbled prey to a pack of hungry wolves. If almost immediately putting Jake Allen at risk of getting pulled more than once per start over his last three starts isn't the "key" to "unlocking" the psychological fortress that is keeping from living up to his potential then maybe he St. Louis needs to hire a hypnotist to trick him into thinking the entire opposing team is playing naked. That sounds more plausible then just giving him the remainder of a tough night off...