By Ed Kimberley
When Cardiff signed 3rd round pick and former Columbus Blue Jacket Dan LaCosta, the EIHL world spat out whatever it was that they had in their mouths at the time in either: joy, disbelief, excitement or worry that he will be a bit good.
In two consecutive games the star goalie was ran by two different teams, from two different countries, playing in two different leagues, leaving him with a concussion that will see him sit out 2-3 weeks. I don’t condone running of goalies at all. I find it a deplorable tactic that is an acknowledgement, intentional or not, that the goalie is causing you trouble and you need to try and throw him off his game. This might be quite important psychologically for LaCosta who said that he was strongly considering retiring before the season and being able to study for a Masters Degree led him to sign in Cardiff. I played a bit of hockey and I remember a Latvian goalie I played with got run in an incident that broke his helmet. He was fine but I never saw him ice again. He said “I have a wife and kids, I don’t need this shit.”
LaCosta is clearly thinking about his future. He sat a year out after a failed try-out in Austria and went from being on the cusp of playing in the NHL to going to the CIS to play and study. Now no doubt Dan has poise, you don’t keep an NHL shutout without having a calm head on your shoulders but at this point he might be worried and especially for a goalie who according to one scouting report that “lacks rebound control” this might not be good.
What is to be done? LaCosta needs to feel as safe as the little piggy in the brick house and the Devils have the toughness to do this. They have Lord, Plumton, Conboy, Ross, Marsh and even coach Gerard Adams who don’t mind a fight, with additional toughness coming from big brit Josh Batch and Max Birbraer. Now if anyone does this to LaCosta:
They need to obviously pay the consequences but the Devils need to put up a brick wall back there and make sure no one gets even near that close. They have the size to clear that crease night in night out and this for me would be a priority, now more than ever. They do need to be careful. Conboy already had a reputation and lengthy bans I feel are only a step, sucker punch or headbutt away from landing him in deep trouble. EIHL refs are often accused of assessing players penalties simply for being that player, something Cardiff are used to: “Cardiff Penalty to number 26 Brad Voth, 2 minutes for, being no26 Brad Voth.”
A rink they, and in fact every other team, will have to be careful in is Sheffield’s due to this blunder:
North American style goalies tend to go out of their net to play pucks and LaCosta is no exception, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone gets run and I will be even less surprised if it is a goalie that gets the hit.
This Cardiff team has the potential to be a contender for some silverware. With the size especially on small ice they’re ferocious. But, to get anywhere near having their hands on the trophies on offer, their goalie needs to be confident, safe and at his best. If we thought we were going to see a lot of fights in Cardiff games before, we sure are now!