Reflecting on the start of the 2005-06 campaign, Jason LaBarbera was the talk of the NHL over the season's first few weeks. And while fellow goaltender Mathieu Garon has seen most of the action in net recently, the comfort level for Kings fans is certainly heightened knowing they have not one but two goaltenders capable of carrying the team to the playoffs and beyond.
A third round draft choice of the New York Rangers in 1998, Jason LaBarbera took the long road to get to the NHL. The British Columbia-native played in just five NHL games in his first eight professional seasons before joining the Kings. However, heading into this season, LaBarbera had certainly caught the attention of the league's top GM's. In 2003-04, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound goalie won the AHL's Most Valuable Player Award, the Baz Bastian Award for Top Goaltender and a spot on the AHL All-Star roster. A year later, LaBarbera earned his second All-Star invitation and solidified his status as one of the league's hottest prospects.
Since joining the Kings organization prior to this season, LaBarbera has established himself as a gifted netminder with the ability keep his team in most games. LaBarbera, who turns 26-years old on Sunday, started the season by winning seven of the first eight games he appeared in, only allowing more than two goals in a game once. And while his playing time may have diminished recently, his passion for the game remains intact.
Have a question for the Kings star? Now is your chance to get it answered. E-mail LaBarbera at firstname.lastname@example.org
. The young goaltender will answer your questions and lakings.com will post the answers next week.