Round 2, Vote 5 (HOH Top Goaltenders)
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12-06-2012, 08:49 AM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: The Triangle
Originally Posted by
What's the case that Lehman was a "distant third" behind Benedict and Vezina?
In looking over bios to answer that question, I came across this quote of yours, which I think makes a very good case for Lehman as part of a great generation:
Originally Posted by
Typically speaking, discussing the 1910's generation of goalies (Clint Benedict, Hugh Lehman, Georges Vezina and Harry Holmes) have been compared in a zero sum game. If Georges Vezina is close to Clint Benedict, as shown in my bio last year then Benedict must not be a top ten goalie. Which has been shown to be balderdash in vecens' bio this year. So clearly what we should be doing is viewing them as a positive sum game. If Vezina is around the same as Benedict, and Benedict is a top 10 goalie, then Vezina is at least top 15. And if Hugh Lehman is the best of the Western leagues, which were a peer of the Eastern leagues. Then Hugh Lehman is also a top 15 goalie. And if this seems like an oversell, then I look at this fact. Lehman, Benedict, Vezina and Holmes were all elite goalies, arguably the best in the world, for over 10 years, closer to 15. A generation of goalies having that degree of consistent success over a stretch that long happens two other times in history, those being: Sawchuk, Plante, Hall & Worsley and Roy, Hasek, Brodeur & Belfour. The top three from those two generations are almost always rated as the top 6 or 7 goaltenders of all time. So why is the 1910's generation rated so low? They changed the game. Playing low, handling the puck and countless other ways they defined the position. They created a clear gap between haves and have-nots in goalies.
So instead of viewing Benedict as an all-time great and his peers somehow not top 20, we should view Benedict, Vezina and Lehman as a generation that is close to Sawchuk, Plante and Hall or Roy, Hasek and Brodeur, and Holmes as a Worsley/Belfour of the generation.
I end with a quote reminding us that past generations can be the peers of, or superiors of latter generations, and that that is one of the key tenants of the work we do here.
Looking back over everything that's easily at hand, I see no question that Vezina and Benedict were significantly ahead of Lehman in reputation, but it's absolutely legitimate to question whether team factors and geography (say, being the long-term goalie on a great team in Montreal) had as much to do with those reputations as anything. And typical of the era, there really aren't any objective measurements that don't boil down to team performance. So I'd say it's kind of up in the air whether Lehman was behind the other two, and if so by how much.
If you go purely by reputation, Lehman seems to be the Brodeur of the group. I'd like to do a little better than parroting the common wisdom, but I'm not sure where to look for reliable evidence that would trump the common wisdom.
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