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09-01-2009, 12:39 AM
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Clint Benedict Counterpoint III

Originally Posted by Hockey Outsider View Post
Okay, it looks like seventieslord beat me to this by about five minutes (and he did a great job at it, too).

It looks like you've excluded many years that have data contrary to your argument. Let's fill in the blanks.

1918: 63 first half, 51 second half
1919: 37 first half, 16 second half
1924: 24 first half, 30 second half

Based on the numbers we have, it looks like Benedict got worse in 1920, 1921 and 1922, the same in 1923, and better in 1918, 1919 and 1924. Overall there's no evidence to suggest that Benedict got worse as the season went on -- it looks like you just selected three years to "prove" your point without looking at any of the years with contrary data.

(Note 1: I don't have time to look through 1925-1930. If somebody does, let me know there's any evidence of Benedict getting worse as the season progresses).

(Note 2: My source is; click on "Game Results" for the Ottawa Senators for these three years and add up the first half & second half goals against yourself).

Saying that Benedict had an "inability to adapt to new rules" is demonstrably false and borders on historical revisionism. Benedict was the first goalie in hockey history to wear a mask (done in 1930 after being sent to the hospital after taking a Howie Morenz shot to the head). (Source). Benedict was the goalie to pioneer perhaps the most important change in goalie equipment in history.

Perhaps even more importantly, Benedict was the first goalie to drop to the ice to make saves. Historically, goalies were given a two minute penalty if they dropped to the ice but Benedict did that so often (under false pretenses, i.e. while pretending to pray) that the NHL finally gave up and allowed Benedict to continue with his major change to goaltending strategy. (Source).

Benedict pioneered the face mask and dropping to the ice. He didn't just adapt to new rules -- he forced the NHL to change its rules to recognize his newer, more advanced style. He was the most creative and influential goalie of his era.

According to hockey-refence, the defensemen on that roster were Francis Cain, Albert Holway, Hobie Kitchen and Dunc Munro. Are you seriously suggesting that they were the key to Benedict's success?

Your comments about having three of the forwards playing defense are factually wrong. Here are some sources to back up my claims.

Babe Siebert would become a defenseman in the future, but he wasn't a defenseman in 1926. He didn't make the switch until he was 32, in 1936. (Source).

Reg Noble would become a defenseman in the future, but he wasn't a defenseman in 1926. He didn't make the switch until after he was traded to Detroit in 1927. (Source).

Nels Stewart was usually a centre. I can't find any record of Stewart playing defense, outside of the 1926 playoffs when Dunc Munco was injured. (Source).

It appears that Benedict played poorly here (and I say "appears" because we have nothing other than GAA to judge him by). Does digging out a three game sample, before his prime, represent anything meaningful about his career?

You hold the fact that Benedict played with Hall of Famers against him. Should we not take into account the fact that his opposition in the 1915 finals had seven HOFers on their team?

You're right to an extent. I don't like using GAA, wins and shutouts when better data is available. Still, I've given some strong evidence that Benedict wasn't a product of his team.

As soon as Benedict left the Senators, they became immediately & noticeably worse. In 1924, the Senators were the best team in the league and were 2nd best in goals against. The next year, the roster was similar aside from Benedict leaving. The Senators fell to 4th (out of sixth) in both points and goals against. We don't know for sure, but based on the evidence we have, it looks like Benedict was probably the cause of that change. This implies that Benedict was an important contributor to the Senators' success.

Like you did with the 1915 playoffs, you're picking an extremely small sample size, outside of Benedict's prime, and are trying to pretend that it's meaningful.

It's worth mentioning that Benedict was injured in 1930, having been sent to the hospital by the aforementioned Morenz shot to the head. (Source). I don't blame an injured 37-year-old goalie, who had absolutely nothing left to prove, for retiring.

When Plante was up for voting, you never brought up the fact that he had a GAA over 5.00 in the playoffs in 1972 and 1973. Thatís probably because you realize that it was a small sample size at the very end of Planteís career. Why, then, does a 14 game sample of Benedict, at the absolute end of his career, suddenly become meaningful?
Thank you for filling in the additional years, thereby clearly illustrating that Clint Benedict lacked consistency. Which definitely should be considered when reviewing his career.

Clint Benedict dropping to the ice. Not a style but against the rules of the day. So the NHL made a choice between penalizing only him or letting everyone do it.

Small sample size. That was the sample size as determined by the rules. He gets credit for double shutouts against Toronto in the NHL final in 1921, two game total goals and he loses credit of r1915 and 1919. Which again raises the consistency issue which cannot be avoided.

Product of his team. !916-1918 the Senators were not as strong with fewer HHOFers than 1920-23. Did Benedict become the difference maker? No. When the team improved - 7 - 8, HHOFers between 1920-23 his stats improved yet he stumbled in 1922.

1924. Benedict was moved to the Maroons after the second place Canadiens upset the first place Senators in the NHL final 5 - 2 two game total goals. The 1924-25 Senators featured Alec Connell in goal, a fairly good goalie but the team was somewhat older and facing financial problems.

Plante's results in 1972 and 1973 were not the result of a rule change. Benedict's results during the 1929-30 season are ther result of a rule change. Also the injury happened in 1930 after the forward pass rule had been modified as scoring was getting out of hand. Still his pre injury numbers reflect a GAA that showed that Benedict was having problems adapting. The Maroons were a legit contender that season as evidenced by the success Flat Walsh had replacing Benedict.

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