Sep 132009
 
Daren Machesney

Photo credit: Japer’s Rink

Daren Machesney had an up-and-down year for the Hershey Bears last year. He appeared in more regular season games than any Bears goalie, played for Team Canada in the Spengler Cup, and was then unseated come playoff time by Calder Cup MVP Michal Neuvirth. (I’m sure you Manitobe Moose fans remember Neuvirth’s performance.)

More on Machesney from Stack the Pads:

Daren played in more games during the regular season than any other goalie on the team. He appeared in 36 games and went 19-12-1. That equates to a 52.8 winning percentage (the same as Neuvirth had in the regular season). He led the team with 3 shutouts and had a gaa of 3.24 and a .876 save percentage. Cheez was highly touted by the coaches and the staff this season for really helping Neuvirth and Varlamov learn to adjust to the AHL. Almost in a role similar to Frederic Cassivi in the past. A huge feather in Daren’s cap was his performance for Team Canada in the Spengler Cup. He took a leave of absence from Hershey to represent his country this past winter, and he did so in fine fashion. Machesney was arguably the best goalie in the tournament.

Daren would be the first to admit his save percentage was not what he wanted it to be. He discussed in interviews how he dealt with a span of play that wasn’t up to his usual standards and he worked through it and still managed a very solid season.

Machesney – they called him “Cheez” in Hershey – is a victim of the numbers game. With Neuvirth and Simeon Semyon Varlamov ahead of him on the Washington Capitals depth chart, he decided a move to Manitoba would be best.

With the Moose, Cheez is pencilled in to back up Andrew Raycroft or Cory Schneider. But should Schneider get traded, then Cheez perhaps gets a better shot at regaining a starting job.

Recently, in the 2007/2008 season, he posted a pretty impressive 22-10-2 record with a 0.916 save percentage. And despite his up-and-down 2008/2009 campaign, the Capitals seemed to remain high up on him. For now, it looks like the Capitals’ loss is the Canucks’ gain.

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