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01-23-2013, 10:09 PM
Dennis Bonvie
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Originally Posted by Mike Farkas View Post
In addition to what C1958 said. This is the part that prevents one from getting sucked into the numbers and the hype and all that noise. I'm concerned with style and skill because that factors into sustainability and adaptability. Many goalies can play in Boston's system as it stands right we see Tuukka Rask's start with a 0.96 GAA and .958 save pct. though it's only been two games, it's just a sign of things to come there. It doesn't matter who really, it's gonna happen. The GMs were right when they left Tim Thomas out of the league for a decade, he's not a late bloomer, he's not any of that, he's just a right-place-right-time goalie that has since quit that right place, right time team...look back at the 2011 playoffs, look at some of the goals he gave up...they're just awful. He makes some terrific saves, sure, but they're often a product of his own messes. I'm not buying it.

It fits in the numbers game that many people play here...before Julien/after Julien, Isn't Tuukka Rask's save pct. higher under Julien than even Thomas'? I mean, no matter how you spin it, he's right there with a supposed top-40 goalie of all-time over the course of four years or whatever it's been. And I'm sure if everything stays the same, Rask will break Thomas' save pct. record* (just like Brian Elliott did). It's a hoax, I hate to say it. The only reason why Thomas is here is because he had one playoffs (in 18 years since being drafted) where - again - he made more work for his team and himself along the way. Through every series but the Philadelphia one...he outright lost many games in that playoffs...that's not something Jonathan Quick, for instance, ever allowed to happen to his team. His performance was a cut above that of Thomas' in 2011. Quick never put a series in serious jeopardy, was excellent in almost every single game and when he wasn't excellent he was superb. Thomas - like his entire career to date - was very inconsistent, up and down, soft goals, hard saves, massive gaffes, gets a goal to bail him out, whatever the case was...whether it was the President's Trophy winning Canucks or the average Montreal Canadiens, teams got to him big time and put the whole thing in serious peril for the Bruins at every pass.

But what's gonna happen is, we're gonna take a guy that could be in his 18th NHL season and go, "well, two good seasons out of a potential 18...give to him, look at his default Conn Smythe and those shiny save pct. numbers" I know it's a history board, but we got pick our head up here and look forward just a minute. Don't we see these numbers spiking up here and there with some weird names? Two goalies that were pushed out by their former teams, Brian Elliott and Mike Smith both went over .930 last year. A goalie with no NHL experience went over .930 in 2010. Career backups and fringe NHLers like Jason LaBarbera, Dan Ellis and Ty Conklin have a few .920 seasons or better while playing a fair amount of time. Brian Boucher's shutout streak. Giguere's playoff shutout streak was awesome when it happened...until what felt like 24 hours later when his backup beat it...

Is it really going unnoticed that these weird things are happening, usually on the same handful of teams? We're really that laser-focused on statistics and not the on-ice product that we can't pump the brakes and go, "well, hold on, let's think about this a minute" - Roman Cechmanek has more elite seasons in the NHL than Tim Thomas does, but Cechmanek is rightfully regarded as a joke, while Thomas is regarded as a top-40 goalie of all-time? What the hell are we talking about here? Maybe if Cechmanek's team could score for him in the 2002 playoffs (2 goals all playoffs long - well, not very long) maybe he could have strung together a flimsy playoffs and made this list too...based on Tim Thomas, Cechmanek might have been just goal-support away from being on this list already...(Thomas got 3 and a quarter goals per game in the 2011 playoffs, for reference, a meaty number that wasn't aided much by the power play). I know you can sit here and play the "what if" game all day, but we're gonna realize in a few years just how badly we compromised our list with a goalie like Thomas' inclusion. You know what, maybe even Alec Connell too...what is our pursuit of him really? That goals against average? He's rarely regarded as a difference maker on his teams (minus one great playoffs in 1935, hmm, this is sounding familiar...) - it's a numbers grab and we'll get our finest writers on the case to develop a plausible backstory. Connell was probably Osgood-esque...looked awful, product of the system, no fundamentals, but numbers.

Price and Fleury, as a for instance, are far more talented than Thomas / Giguere, it's not remotely close either. Fleury has some issues with consistency, which probably the most important goalie trait right now, but Thomas is the opposite of consistent and Giguere has limited adaptability, so I'd still easily take either of the two younger goalies - far more upside there. Fleury plays on a team that pretends their the 1983 Edmonton Oilers, Fuhr didn't have great numbers, neither does Fleury. The one year the Pens actually attempted something structural on their side of the red line was in 2008, let's see when Fleury had his best save pct. numbers...of course he's not gonna be up there numbers-wise with these Thomas', Rinne's, Smith's etc. They don't play the same way...just like Fuhr didn't have Billy Smith's numbers, the Islanders played a more conservative game, better defense, were more careful with the, why, is he on the list? He must have impressed someone that's paying attention...look at the adaptability to play in different eras, different teams, different schemes, etc. Smith was never exposed to the elements, though he was very good in his own right. This is another instance where you must have an idea of how to evaluate talent to make the proper read. Why not just throw Smith out as a "system goalie"? Why not just throw Fuhr out as a goalie that couldn't allow fewer than three and a third goals per game? Why not Cechmanek? Why not Osgood? Why not Giguere?

Thomas and Giguere are far from flawless under pressure. This is another thing that is lost in the numbers game that is played. Fleury was remarkable in 2008, for instance. And a positive difference maker in all but one series in 2009. When the chips were down for Giguere, he crumbled, surrendering 20 goals in the Finals to New Jersey. Wasn't a top-3 player on his team in 2007. Thomas handed off many games to his opponents in 2011, has one playoff series win in his career outside of 2011 despite playing in the same conditions that produced favorable regular season results (including being managed to a minimum number of games) but could not be duplicated in the playoffs despite 4 additional seasons under those conditions - one playoff series win...quit before he allotted himself another chance.

No, it's not enough to just have the ability to do something. Fleury has actually done it, and Price has never been on a team that allowed him a way to do it (still, took Thomas to the brink of brinks in the first round in 2011...which we're a single deflected shot away from not having this discussion at all...that's how you can tell you're not talking about an all-time great, because he was one shot away from not being brought up at all...can any other goalie say that on this list?). The "plus" is a reference to ability not career stats, of course, and we'll see in the long-term what's worth more...but I think we'll look back on the list after we see what the next 5 or so years have in store and go, "damn...what a goof we made with [this], [that] and [the other]"
Where did these imaginary 4 additional years of equal conditions come from?

Tim Thomas has only 4 seasons total in the playoffs. The first one, in 2008, the Bruins were 25th out of 30 in scoring. In the 4 losses to Montreal in the playoffs the Bruins scored 3 goals. In 2009, the Bruins scored 5 goals in their 4 losses to Carolina. Thomas GAA was 1.85, the best in the playoffs.

Yes, it will seem a goof in five years. We should have just gone with the obvious best list available.

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