Struggling Blues place porous goaltender Lalime on waivers

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Acquired before the season in a trade, the veteran has been a major disappointment.

ST. LOUIS -- Two days after another shaky outing, the St. Louis Blues on Monday waived goaltender Patrick Lalime.

Lalime, 31, was expected to lend stability after years of revolving goalies. But he has struggled all season for the team with the NHL's worst record, going 3-11-4 with a 3.97 goals-against average -- 40th among 42 goalies. His .866 save percentage is the lowest of any goalie with 15 or more games played.

"He's been struggling and the team is starting to play better," coach Mike Kitchen said. "It's just a matter that we thought it was time to make a change and see if that helps out, and have Patty step away just a little bit so he can work on his game and get back to where he was when he was at Ottawa."

Curtis Sanford, who got a starting stint last month when Lalime was benched, becomes the Blues' No. 1 goalie and Kitchen said he'd start tonight against the Penguins. He's 2-4 with a 3.35 goals-against average.

The team called up 23-year-old Jason Bacashihua from Peoria of the American Hockey League as a backup.

Lalime was 25-23-7 in 57 games in 2003-04, with a goals-against average of 2.29. Before this season, his career goals-against average was 2.39. He was an all-star in 2003-04.

Kitchen speculated that Lalime has had difficulty adjusting to the NHL's new rules after the lockout year. Among the changes, goalie pads are smaller.

"I think in today's game you have to be very athletic to move from side to side," Kitchen said. "In fairness to him the adjustment might be bigger for him than another goaltender.

"I think once he gets that he'll be a better goaltender."

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