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09-01-2009, 05:37 PM
Kyle McMahon
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Clint Benedict played in a high scoring era, low scoring era or a blend. Which is it?

1917-18 the TG/G was 9.50 but had shrunk to 2.92 by 1929. Hardly high scoring. Of course the 1917-18 season was a WWI year.
Benedict played in an era when scoring steadily declined.
And his GAA's were almost always better than his contemporaries regardless of scoring level. That should be the point here. He was consistently better than 2.50, which is a splendid average in the late teens early 20's era, and when scoring dipped to the point that a 2.50 average was poor, his had shrunk down to about 1.00.

Conversely during the 1952-53 thru 1962-63 era when Jacques Plante played with the Canadiens it ranged from 4.79 to 5.95 taking the book end seasons with minor seasonal variances. Plante's core performance saw a 1.35 - 3.17 GAA during the playoffs without disasterous series like Benedict had. No 5.2 or 8.66.Plante well into his forties did better than Benedict.
Interestingly, a 3.17 GAA would be considered weak during the Plante era that your scoring average figures encompass. So Plante didn't have a disasterous series. So what? Nobody here is going to argue that Benedict was better than Plante, who is arguably the best of all time.

Now a sub 2.50GAA, 80% of the time is not exactly consistant when you include some of the weak series. 5.2 GAA or an 8.66 GAA or in an era where the TG/G is plummeting towards 2.92.
And as I pointed out above, Benedict's average had dropped well below 2.50 by the time that mark was no longer a sign of greatness. Oddly, his average remaining static during that era would have been a sign of inconsistency.

Again focus on Benedict'c contemporaries and show me an NHA / PCHA / WCHL / NHL goalie with a SC final 8.66 GAA or an NHL goalie with an NHL final GAA of 5.2 pre 1930. The small sample space or it can happen to anyone cop out does not work. Afterall, why did it happen to him?
Great performances counter-balance poor ones. Benedict had many more great ones than poor ones. If he did not have any of those blemishes, we are probably talking about him being a candidate for top-20 on the list. He's been punished for them accordingly by virtue of not being up for discussion within the top 50.

Clint Benedict did not have to worry about the lead forward, tip ins, deflections by the opposition, screens, etc. nor the increased speed of the game for the vast majority of his career. When confronted with the modern forward pass game he did not adapt.He was one of the better goalies of the pre forward pass era but others like Holmes, Hainsworth, Vezina amongst others achieved results that indicate they should be at part of the debate as opposed to seeing Benedict as the token goalie for his era.
Whether or not he had to worry about those things is besides the point. He should be getting evaluated based on performance compared to his peers, not in an absolute sense. If that were the case, any goalie presently in the NHL today is better than him. If he failed to adapt when he was 25, your argument for that would have merit (and it would probably be moot anyway since he never would have had the career he did), but he was in his late 30's. Are you going to punish Wayne Gretzky for not adapting to the dead puck era in 1999?

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