I got further clarification of the Steffen Soberg situation today after an interview with Broncos Coach/GM Mark Lamb and an article from the Washington Times. It sounds like the spokesman for the Capitals made a mistake yesterday when they said Soberg was in Norway contemplating whether to play in Europe or North America. Coach Lamb makes it crystal clear the young goaltender’s absence has nothing to do with hockey or even being homesick.
It appears clear from both Lamb and Capitals goaltender coach Dave Prior that assuming Soberg is able to clear up his personal issues the plan is for him to return to Swift Current this season. There is no timetable for that and when it comes to personal matters there shouldn’t be. It will take as long as it takes.
Lamb also says Soberg can’t play anywhere else as his rights belong to them this season.
As far as I’m concerned that is the last word on the issue unless the story changes. The young man deserves as much time as he needs to take care of whatever it is that he needs to take care of it. Hockey will be waiting for him when he’s ready. The Broncos will have to move forward for now with Austin Smith, Steven Myland and an eye to other options if they aren’t able to carry the load. We all hope Soberg will be back because from everything we hear and see it will be a treat to watch him. It sounds like he will return. It’s just a matter of when.
Here is the interview…
Broncos Coach/GM Mark Lamb (Download)
So that is where we stand. The Broncos are not being abandoned here but a player who decided he just didn’t like the city. It is hopefully a temporary disruption of Soberg’s playing career and as such a big opportunity for Smith and Myland to have more time to establish themselves.
Has Smith taken a major leap? His save percentage is 0.935% in the pre-season so far. It’s hard to imagine him keeping up that pace. If he ends up even close to that we’re talking about a legit starter.
Is Myland adjusting to the WHL level? He was the top goalie in his league last year. The 17-year-old says he is getting more comfortable every time he gets out there against WHL level competition. He looked quite good in the final 40 minutes against Regina.
Only time will tell.
By the time Soberg returns hopefully one of them has established themselves as a reliable starter if not both. It could give the Broncos some serious strength between the pipes that would have come as a result of some extra development for guys who were going to be battling for the back-up spot otherwise.
If you listened to the whole interview you also got Lamb’s take on the state of the game and the fighting issue. Every media guy is asking every available hockey person to comment on the fighting issue so I gave Coach Lamb a chance to speak on it. As you heard there he is decidedly in the camp of keeping it in the game. It ends up being a brief but interesting discussion in my opinion.
Adam Lowry and the Jets are going to be in action on Sportsnet coming up here shortly int he young stars tournament from Penticton. Check it out on TV or on the official Jets website. Fromer Bronco Captain Justin Dowling and the Calgary Flames lost to Vancouver 4-3 in overtime just a few moments ago. It was nice to see JD in action again.
I might have some links, pictures and video from Broncos at NHL camps a little later tonight. Talk to you then.