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So we all know goalies are weird, but when did they collectively acquire such severe yo-yo tendencies?

Two years ago, Cam Ward stands on his head, wins the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy, then his play slips last season, which partially triggered the Canes tripping out of the playoff picture. Now he's back, fitter, faster and better than ever.

In Montreal, Cristobal Huet was at or near the top of the charts in save percentage and goals-against average two seasons ago, but last season? Injuries and softies.

Four starts into this year's campaign, however, Huet's play would probably have landed him a perfect record if not for the fact he plays on such an offense-challenged team.

On the flip side, there's no guarantee Martin Brodeur (.879 save percentage, 3.26 goals-against average this year) and Miikka Kiprusoff (.877 SP, 3.39 GAA) would be first picked if they both wandered out their front door and joined a neighborhood street hockey game.

Chris Mason (.875 SP, 3.75) took advantage of an opportunity to be Nashville's No. 1 last year; but early on it looks as though he'd prefer to be back watching things happen from the end of the bench.

There's definitely some correlation between being heavily padded and inconsistency.

• As much as the Flyers' resurgence is being led by some fresh faces, Philadelphia has to be cautiously optimistic two of its first round picks have finally maneuvered around what was starting to seem like a very long corner.

Mike Richards has three goals and six points through five games, while Jeff Carter has four goals and five points over the same stretch.

The two third-year NHLers arrived in Philadelphia following the lockout after winning a Calder Cup and World Junior Championship gold medal together with Team Canada.

Richards, who many think is still the Flyers' captain-in-waiting, also has a Memorial Cup on his resume. But both players had forgettable starts to their big-league careers, their sophomore campaigns coinciding with the worst year Philly's had since Richard Nixon was in office.

The Flyers were counting on frontline performers such as Kimmo Timonen, Daniel Briere and Martin Biron to get them back on the map, but breakout campaigns from Carter and Richards could carry Philly to the top of the charts.

• Joe Motzko, a 27-year-old winger who has played just 12 regular season NHL games since turning pro in 2003, started this year in the American League, but could start on Alex Ovechkin's line when the Caps host the Islanders Thursday night.

That's the real-world job equivalent of being promoted from janitor to special assistant to the CEO.



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