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Round 2, Vote 6 (HOH Top Goaltenders)

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Old
12-12-2012, 10:16 AM
  #101
Hawkey Town 18
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I tend to give Fuhr credit for playing for the type of team he did...run-and-gun team's seem to give up more high quality scoring chances because of all the odd man rushes that occur, and Edmonton was the biggest run-and-gun team of them all. Has anyone done any kind of analysis to demonstrate this effect?

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12-12-2012, 10:23 AM
  #102
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Adaptability

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Originally Posted by Mike Farkas View Post
I also value Fuhr not only playing in different situations and under different coaches, different teams, and all that. But also demonstrably different eras...80's hockey into the dead-puck era...I think that gets overlooked a tiny bit sometimes. But maybe not many value that like I do.
You are correct. Adaptability is a very important factor when looking at goaltenders and players. Looking a how a goalie plays against in season opponents with different skills and styles is a major factor in team success.

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12-12-2012, 10:23 AM
  #103
Mike Farkas
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This is where stats are left in the dust I think...

Watching those 80's Oilers games, one thing that you notice besides some pretty lackluster and inattentive defense/backchecking, is the turnovers committed on the breakout. You couldn't count on two hands how many times the Oilers turned the puck over in their own zone and with no puck support (everyone is streaking up the ice, Air Coryell offense) it led to some pretty dicey situations for Fuhr to have to do deal with...

He got some goal support out of the deal for sure...but maybe some of the old goalies here can back me up on this...not too many worse things than making a few saves being in your stance for nearly a minute and then just when you think you're about to get relief, an easy breakout is botched and your guys are hemmed in for another whole shift...that wears on you...

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12-12-2012, 10:40 AM
  #104
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Transition Game

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Originally Posted by Mike Farkas View Post
This is where stats are left in the dust I think...

Watching those 80's Oilers games, one thing that you notice besides some pretty lackluster and inattentive defense/backchecking, is the turnovers committed on the breakout. You couldn't count on two hands how many times the Oilers turned the puck over in their own zone and with no puck support (everyone is streaking up the ice, Air Coryell offense) it led to some pretty dicey situations for Fuhr to have to do deal with...

He got some goal support out of the deal for sure...but maybe some of the old goalies here can back me up on this...not too many worse things than making a few saves being in your stance for nearly a minute and then just when you think you're about to get relief, an easy breakout is botched and your guys are hemmed in for another whole shift...that wears on you...
Making a pact with the Devil. Explains very well some of the issues Scotty Bowman had with Paul Coffey and Bowman's opinion of Coffey. Also explains Fuhr's high assist totals since he had to handle certain situations on his own.

The Oilers never had the harmony in their transition game that the Canadiens did with Harvey or the Big 3 or the Bruins with Orr. Their spacing left them very vulnerable. On a defensive or neutral zone turnover this exposes prime scoring areas for the team benefiting from the turnover. Creates tough save situations for the goalie.

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12-12-2012, 10:49 AM
  #105
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Agreed. Coffey was a known and documented risk-taker. But he wasn't alone on that team. Some passing on good offensive teams I call "creative"...with those Oilers teams, I'd call some of them downright "adventurous" - backhand passes across their own defensive zone, no look backward passes against the flow of the action, outlet passes into areas (a race created, "intended" receiver vs. pinching point man)...

Spacing is a very good point. The separation between the blueliners and the rushing forwards was really as far as the two-line pass rule would allow them. Harkens back to my point on puck support defensively and in transition - non-existent. Not an issue with the Islanders. Always three men back. Capable breakouts even if their defensemen were not as offensively gifted as the Oilers, they broke out successfully a higher percentage of the time. At least in the time when their paths crossed meaningfully.

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12-12-2012, 11:15 AM
  #106
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Spacing

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Originally Posted by Mike Farkas View Post
Agreed. Coffey was a known and documented risk-taker. But he wasn't alone on that team. Some passing on good offensive teams I call "creative"...with those Oilers teams, I'd call some of them downright "adventurous" - backhand passes across their own defensive zone, no look backward passes against the flow of the action, outlet passes into areas (a race created, "intended" receiver vs. pinching point man)...

Spacing is a very good point. The separation between the blueliners and the rushing forwards was really as far as the two-line pass rule would allow them. Harkens back to my point on puck support defensively and in transition - non-existent. Not an issue with the Islanders. Always three men back. Capable breakouts even if their defensemen were not as offensively gifted as the Oilers, they broke out successfully a higher percentage of the time. At least in the time when their paths crossed meaningfully.
Sadly very little footage is available of the Harvey Canadiens or Bruins with Orr. More is available with the Big 3 Canadiens.

You are correct about the Islanders. Throw in the Harvey Canadiens and Orr Bruins with support and spacing and the transition is more efficient and faster. Proper spacing easily converts the stretch from a maximum two lines with the Oilers to a 3-4 line pass with quick relays that are created by spacing.

Less risk and less exposure for the goalie as well.

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12-12-2012, 11:17 AM
  #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Farkas View Post
but maybe some of the old goalies here can back me up on this...not too many worse things than making a few saves being in your stance for nearly a minute and then just when you think you're about to get relief, an easy breakout is botched and your guys are hemmed in for another whole shift...that wears on you...
Not only that, but the defense tends to be more strained and scrambly after that kind of turnover. So you have a worn-out goalie and a frustrated defense... that's the kind of situation where even just freezing the puck counts as a big save.

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Old
12-12-2012, 03:31 PM
  #108
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
If you include the complete body of work Cheevers is well ahead of Giacomin and Esposito:

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...cheevge01.html

Cheevers had a winning record while facing better competition. Look at Esposito's and Cheevers sv% in SC finals and deciding games and Esposito pales badly.
Go ahead and do that, then. I bet it's not as big a difference as you think.

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That sounds like a shortcut around a lot of context.
That's exactly what it is.

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The impression I get is that Tony Esposito was usually above average in the playoffs, but above average was still a drop from his regular season play. And in both his Stanley Cup finals, he bombed, which is why there is such a lasting memory of him being so poor in the playoffs.

Ed Giacomin, on the other hand, appears to have been below average in the playoffs more often than not.

It was controversial when I said it in the preliminary thread, and it probably still is, but I still don't see what makes Giacomin any better than Roberto Luongo.
I 100% agree with all of this.

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This was done for Tony Esposito earlier in the project and is referred to by TDMM above.


A quick glance at other SC Finals from the seventies shows that Tony Esposito was unequaled or matched in his futility, especially in 1973.
And what percent of his career-long playoff performance does this represent?

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But I'm pretty sure I'll have Grant Fuhr over Smith.
You had me until this. Because although Smith was typically 1% worse than his understudies, Fuhr was 3% worse than his in Edmonton, at least by the way I calculated it.

I'm saying put Fuhr over Smith all you want, I'm still not sure how I'll have them, but the "vs. backups" numbers are not a compelling reason why, or even a reason why at all.

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I also value Fuhr not only playing in different situations and under different coaches, different teams, and all that. But also demonstrably different eras...80's hockey into the dead-puck era...I think that gets overlooked a tiny bit sometimes. But maybe not many value that like I do.
Good point.

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Old
12-12-2012, 04:27 PM
  #109
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\

You had me until this. Because although Smith was typically 1% worse than his understudies, Fuhr was 3% worse than his in Edmonton, at least by the way I calculated it.

I'm saying put Fuhr over Smith all you want, I'm still not sure how I'll have them, but the "vs. backups" numbers are not a compelling reason why, or even a reason why at all.



Good point.
If the only thing Smith has over Fuhr are his save percentage stats, then it is relevant that the stats are so team dependent. Like I said in response to MadArcand when he made this point, you need to give Fuhr SOME credit for being something of a workhorse, but I'm not sure how much. The reason Smith vs his partner is so interesting is because he was in a tandem situation, so it really was the case that neither Smith nor his partner appeared to be more important during the regular seaosn.

I'm open for arguments to rank Smith over Fuhr - as I said, they are probably the two hardest goalies to rank yet, at least among NHLers.


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12-12-2012, 05:09 PM
  #110
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Smith vs Fuhr

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
If the only thing Smith has over Fuhr are his save percentage stats, then it is relevant that the stats are so team dependent. Like I said in response to MadArcand when he made this point, you need to give Fuhr SOME credit for being something of a workhorse, but I'm not sure how much. The reason Smith vs his partner is so interesting is because he was in a tandem situation, so it really was the case that neither Smith nor his partner appeared to be more important during the regular seaosn.

I'm open for arguments to rank Smith over Fuhr - as I said, they are probably the two hardest goalies to rank yet, at least among NHLers.
The better question is why Billy Smith had a better SV% than Grant Fuhr.Previously Mike Farkas described some of the problems of the Oilers transition game in contrast to the simple efficiency of the Islanders transition game.

Fuhr was the more athletic eye catching goalie while Billy Smith was by far the more technically sound goalie.

Smith quarterbacked the defensive zone, excellent communication skills and puck movement. He was excellent at re-directing shots to the corners, clearing rebounds with his stick(avoids faceoffs), eliminating passing and shooting lanes. These attributes made the work of the Islanders more efficient in their own zone.

While Smith was part of a regular season tandem, he was the go to goalie in the playoffs during most of his career since his game was ideal for playoff hockey.

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12-12-2012, 05:15 PM
  #111
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I'm open for arguments to rank Smith over Fuhr - as I said, they are probably the two hardest goalies to rank yet, at least among NHLers.
I suppose the major crux of my argument would be that the Islanders did not find success in the playoffs with any other goaltender after 1975 (Smith's first - and probably only bad playoff) despite occasionally giving Resch and Melanson several games, whereas the Oilers did well without Fuhr. From 1983-1987, Andy Moog was 18-5 in the playoffs for the Edmonton Oilers, which is to say that he pretty much won every game that was not the 1983 Stanley Cup Finals. And then they trade Moog for Ranford, and Ranford wins a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe. I mean, you don't see Chico Resch walking around with that on his resume. I think Smith had a bigger role in the Islanders dynasty than Fuhr did in the Oilers dynasty.

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12-12-2012, 06:11 PM
  #112
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I suppose the major crux of my argument would be that the Islanders did not find success in the playoffs with any other goaltender after 1975 (Smith's first - and probably only bad playoff) despite occasionally giving Resch and Melanson several games, whereas the Oilers did well without Fuhr. From 1983-1987, Andy Moog was 18-5 in the playoffs for the Edmonton Oilers, which is to say that he pretty much won every game that was not the 1983 Stanley Cup Finals. And then they trade Moog for Ranford, and Ranford wins a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe. I mean, you don't see Chico Resch walking around with that on his resume. I think Smith had a bigger role in the Islanders dynasty than Fuhr did in the Oilers dynasty.
that's compelling.

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12-12-2012, 06:40 PM
  #113
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Originally Posted by quoipourquoi View Post
I suppose the major crux of my argument would be that the Islanders did not find success in the playoffs with any other goaltender after 1975 (Smith's first - and probably only bad playoff) despite occasionally giving Resch and Melanson several games, whereas the Oilers did well without Fuhr. From 1983-1987, Andy Moog was 18-5 in the playoffs for the Edmonton Oilers, which is to say that he pretty much won every game that was not the 1983 Stanley Cup Finals. And then they trade Moog for Ranford, and Ranford wins a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe. I mean, you don't see Chico Resch walking around with that on his resume. I think Smith had a bigger role in the Islanders dynasty than Fuhr did in the Oilers dynasty.
Not sure why you're calling me tarheelhockey but anyway

I agree with you that Smith was a bigger part of the Islanders dynasty than Fuhr was of the Edmonton dynasty. I thought that even before you showed me Moog's record with the Oilers in the playoffs (which really drives the point home in a big way).

But on the other hand, Fuhr did more outside of the dynasty right? Whether it was starting two Canada Cups or simply being an above average NHL starter for a period outside the dynasty years. Smith is being considered pretty much solely based on what he did in the playoffs, isn't he? Whereas Fuhr (who I agree wasn't as important in the playoffs to his dynasty as Smith) at least did something of note outside the playoffs.

Maybe ranking the two of them back to back is the way to go, though that feels like a cop out.


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Old
12-12-2012, 07:02 PM
  #114
Mike Farkas
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I've watched nothing but Islanders games from that era the past few days - chiefly the 1982 and 1983 Stanley Cup Finals. I'm not prepared to present a meaningful report, though I don't think a couple extra games will change what I've seen so far.

Let's get this out of the way right now. I always default to the view of a scout or a coach when watching a game. I sat and watched and took notes on things as if I had never seen these players before ever (that #99 on Edmonton can play, watch out for him in the next draft...). Let me say this right now, because I had my doubts going in, Billy Smith is a very good goaltender.

Now, unfortunately, by the time I looked at the game analytically, goaltending had already evolved into what it has today. Cookie cutter. Watching these "pure" goalies from before the butterfly proliferated play is a treat. It's no wonder it's definitive who was the top tier and who was the bottom, there were good goalies and bad goalies. Just like there were good centers and bad centers, good defensemen and bad defensemen. Those elements still exist today, except all the goalies are basically the same. And moreover, the worst ones seem to end up winning. That's for another time...

So, I said that to say this: I didn't grow up in the era in which these goalies developed. I don't have that first-hand experience of the evolution of the position. Killion could probably do a better job pointing out the technical aspects of what I'm looking at with the old guard of net guardians. So I fell back on fundamental principles. Some say "positioning" - I say, "kind of..." ...the thing I look for is anticipation. I love a goalie that reads a play well, show me a goalie that can do that and I'll show you a pro.

That's why I get into trouble sometimes being called a hypocrite because I rail against "system" goaltenders like Thomas and Giguere and Osgood but am a heavy proponent of Martin Brodeur.

Brodeur has maybe the best anticipation I've ever seen. His read of the play is phenom status. That's why he was successful. That's why he's successful now, that's why he was successful when he started. Stevens or no Stevens. DPE or not. Trap or no trap. Multiple eras, all success. All from anticipation.

Anyhow, Billy Smith's anticipation impressed me a great deal. He's not flashy (as C1958 alluded to), he's not a gumby in the nets. It's really terrific and so easy to appreciate the different styles that clashed in the 80's there. The Oilers are a roller hockey team. It's up and back, here and turnover and back, and score and backhand pass and no-look and all this...it's all excitement. With the Islanders, it's all very deliberate. Controlled breakout, three men back at all times (sometimes you feel like they're playing with an extra one...every time the camera pans over you're thinking "ok, I think I saw four Islanders back that way, this should be 1 on 1" and then they pan over and sure enough: it's always two. Always. It was uncanny).

Billy Smith is great at anticipating. His saves don't look amazing to anyone not paying close attention. But he tracks the puck so well and understands what kind of shot is coming and reacts. Some goaltenders from that era "throw a glove" at it and hope for the best. Smith put his glove in the right spot and made a save. I was very impressed. He catches it and quickly keeps the play moving to a d-man, they go D to D to ward off the forecheck and they're off. Only after it's sure that safe possession has been maintained does Bryan Trottier or Butch Goring or Anders Kallur leave the zone.

Smith is a fine skater and a fine goaltender.

Now with that said, I'll still take Fuhr over him for reasons already mentioned. Smith was not exposed to the elements on Long Island. This is what I always talk about, "don't let the stats create the narrative...the story unfolded, now see if the face-value numbers back it up and if they don't, something is amiss..." As we see by the style of play and the success of other goalies that played for the Isles during that time, the Isles were gonna make it work to some degree regardless. Smith was not a liability to the team though like, say, Osgood was to Detroit (can it, Wings fans, we know, he was the greatest and it's a conspiracy and the league is out to get him, we know... ). Or even if not a liability, a weak link. The weakest. There, that's better than liability. Less hate mail that way. Smith isn't that. He's very much a positive influence and a major cog in that dynasty.

This changes for me, not that Smith is over Fuhr...no. That's not gonna happen. That's incorrect, I feel. However, it changes that Smith will get his due from me sooner rather than later. I was feeling out as to how close to the "cliff" (40) Smith is going to get before I finally bend. That won't be the case anymore. This was a good goalie in a good situation. As much as I like to support goalies that out-performed backups and were on bad teams and weren't protected with left wing locks and neutral zone traps and kitties barring doors...there's no reason to discount Billy Smith like some of the other system goalies that will probably come up at the tail end of this project.

Sorry for the long post, I didn't want to discuss all this much yet, but it'll save me from making a longer post when my film work is done I suppose.

I want make it clear once more though...I don't think we should be prepared to put him on the list yet. But this isn't a goalie we should let sit and wait around for too terribly long either. Honestly, I was wondering if he was top-35 before I did this homework. Top-30 is no longer a question for me.

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12-12-2012, 07:23 PM
  #115
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Originally Posted by quoipourquoi View Post
I suppose the major crux of my argument would be that the Islanders did not find success in the playoffs with any other goaltender after 1975 (Smith's first - and probably only bad playoff) despite occasionally giving Resch and Melanson several games, whereas the Oilers did well without Fuhr. From 1983-1987, Andy Moog was 18-5 in the playoffs for the Edmonton Oilers, which is to say that he pretty much won every game that was not the 1983 Stanley Cup Finals. And then they trade Moog for Ranford, and Ranford wins a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe. I mean, you don't see Chico Resch walking around with that on his resume. I think Smith had a bigger role in the Islanders dynasty than Fuhr did in the Oilers dynasty.
Sure, but the counterargument is that the Islanders team offence had little success outside of the Cup years, while the Oilers were dominant in scoring throughout the decade. Yes, other goalies in Edmonton with similar levels of support also won games, but it can be argued very easily that no other goalie in New York got anything near the level of playoff support that Billy Smith did from 1980 to 1983.

Here are the Islanders' goals per game and goals against average in the playoffs, all adjusted based on the regular season average to a scoring environment of 3.6 goals per game:

YearGPGGAA
19752.943.00
19763.473.15
19773.272.91
19781.992.44
19792.752.14
19804.183.09
19815.122.53
19823.932.40
19834.452.51
19842.742.61
19852.292.48
19861.243.11
19872.342.60
19882.823.60

What's amazing is that the Islanders had a below-average playoff offence in every single playoff season of Billy Smith's career, with the exception of the four Cup years when they suddenly became Edmonton Oilers-level dominant. It seems awfully hard to say that had much to do with Smith's goaltending. In contrast, Chico Resch had a career playoff GAA of 2.49 in New York, a better rate than Smith, but his win/loss record was only 17-17 because he never got much offensive support. I see no reason at all to believe that Resch couldn't win a Cup if his team was scoring 5 goals per game in front of him. It is notable that the Islanders' goal prevention was very consistent from 1978 to 1987, and what made the difference was almost entirely based on their goalscoring.

Compare that to the Oilers, who were above league average in scoring in every playoff season from 1982 to 1990 except for 1989 (same average-adjusted stats to the same 3.60 scoring level as above):

YearGPGGAA
19813.673.57
19824.074.60
19834.742.84
19844.632.76
19855.172.90
19863.822.70
19874.162.63
19884.572.89
19892.853.42
19904.022.55
19913.183.30
19923.243.57

Ranford won the Conn Smythe in 1990, but he still got a ton of offensive support in doing it. The Oilers were pretty consistent both offensively and defensively throughout the 1980s, making it very unsurprising that they won with different goalies in net.

I don't think either Smith or Fuhr were crucial to their team's dynasties. Smith seems to get a lot more credit for his contributions in New York, but unless somebody is able to prove he was unusually clutch or he majorly helped his team offensively it still looks to me like he was a major beneficiary of circumstance in that he happened to be the goalie in the early '80s when for four years Trottier & co. scored goals like Gretzky & co. I think it is quite possible that Smith was still more important to the Islanders' dynasty than Fuhr, but I think looking just at other goalies' results overstates the gap, and overall I am leaning towards ranking Fuhr ahead of Smith.

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12-12-2012, 07:42 PM
  #116
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Not sure why you're calling me tarheelhockey but anyway
Haha, multi-quote gone awry.

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12-12-2012, 07:45 PM
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Combined contributes to my point.

Same could be said about Batting average, passing % in the NFL, Shooting % in the NBA but in those sports the effort is made to break the stat down. Example length of pass/shot, etc.

These seems to be too much work or an effort that is too complex for SV% in hockey.

We will know immediately a player's BA against each opponent, LHP/RHP or other circumstances. Not so in hockey.

Yet throughout this project raw SV% has been used as something that carries great weight.
Not for Brodeur.

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12-12-2012, 07:55 PM
  #118
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Not for Brodeur.
And rightfully so. And it also is a great illustration of why stats without context or, "stat-tation without representation", is an exercise in futility.

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12-12-2012, 08:17 PM
  #119
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I don't think either Smith or Fuhr were crucial to their team's dynasties. Smith seems to get a lot more credit for his contributions in New York, but unless somebody is able to prove he was unusually clutch or he majorly helped his team offensively it still looks to me like he was a major beneficiary of circumstance in that he happened to be the goalie in the early '80s when for four years Trottier & co. scored goals like Gretzky & co. I think it is quite possible that Smith was still more important to the Islanders' dynasty than Fuhr, but I think looking just at other goalies' results overstates the gap, and overall I am leaning towards ranking Fuhr ahead of Smith.
It's hardly "proof" in the sense that you are looking for, but it seems to be pretty much a universal belief among people who watched hockey in the early 80s that Smith was as clutch a goaltender as can be.

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12-12-2012, 08:19 PM
  #120
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I've watched nothing but Islanders games from that era the past few days - chiefly the 1982 and 1983 Stanley Cup Finals... Killion could probably do a better job pointing out the technical aspects of what I'm looking at with the old guard of net guardians. So I fell back on fundamental principles. Some say "positioning" - I say, "kind of..." ...the thing I look for is anticipation. I love a goalie that reads a play well, show me a goalie that can do that and I'll show you a pro.
You called? .... and yes, Billy Smith was a tremendous goalie, a real Money Player. Mentally tough, played the position aggressively with a mean streak and never say die attitude. Excellent skater as you mentioned, technically sound when it came to playing the angles, no fear & would as called for read the players body language, lie of the puck on the blade of his stick which was/is a dead giveaway as to what the guys likely about to try on. Be it a snap, wrister, slapshot or deke, possible pass to a team mate or whatever.

Your taught how to read these things. Move towards the shooter well outside of the paint on a longer shot using the blue line or centre ice red line paint markings on the boards to the left or right using your posts as guides; straight out if the shooters at centre. If a deke, you'll read it early as per the lay of the puck on the guys blade, stick straight out as opposed to left or right depending on how he shoots. Economy of movement, giving them nothing to shoot at. You wont have to make "sensational saves" as the puck will either go wide, wind up in your catcher, right on your pads, stick or wherever, you know its going wide or youve got it, and thereafter its a matter of rebound control & whenever possible instantaneous & immediate transition back to the rush out of your zone, catching the opponents stunned, on there heels, deep in your own zone chasing your forwards, in Smiths case some serious skaters who could really fly like Nystrom back down the ice.

Communication with ones defenceman & forwards critical, and I mean seriously important, telling them to clear bodies from the shooting lane so you can see the puck and doing it yourself if required with your stick, inside your crease or well outside of it. Though your job is to prevent goals, a guy like Smith and a few others kicked it up a notch (Plante was really the fore-runner to this philosophy) whereby they were also fully cognizant of conversion & transition through complete rebound control. Not enough to just "block" or just "stop" the puck, its how you do it, subtle angulations of the blocker, pad, stick, re-directing it whenever possible right onto the tape of a waiting team mate & training them to expect it, a rush, wide open breakout & or breakaway from the goal line back out your objective as a netminder.

An analogy would be the axiom Coaches tell players, as in "dont watch your pretty pass, go & get to where your supposed to be, where the pucks going". Some guys, Palmateer, Fuhr again, because they were always getting caught & had to rely on reflexes a lot more would indeed deliberately sensationalize saves, like theyd just caught the Hope Diamond with their GM12. As a one time goalie myself I was never impressed with such nonsense but I digress...

Skating, stickwork, angles, being ultra aggressive, almost playing it like a 3rd Defenceman or even a Rover. Jumping on the puck & stickhandling out to the blue-line, playing out of the paint, not a risk taker per se' but a beyond effective weapon going from reverse to forward. Implicitly understanding the angles, and I mean all of them from the far blue to the centre ice red line & your own blue line to your crossbar; hugging the posts when plays behind the net and looking through the mesh, stick flush to the ice, poking, slashing, barking out orders & making life a living Hell for anyone who dares come within 3 ft of you let alone wanders into the crease.

That was Smith, whereas Fuhr played it deeper, was more pure goaltending, acrobatic as he had to be sitting that far back, sensational with the catcher, toe save in full splits etc, fun to watch, but not nearly as aggressive as Smith, who I rank right up there with the best of the best, a real "team goalie". I dont see the Isles winning multiple cups like that without that guy inbetween the pipes. He was a Monster Killer. Its really too bad that entire Dynasty & the terrific players are somewhat lost, sandwiched as they are between the Habs & Oilers.


Last edited by Killion: 12-12-2012 at 08:32 PM.
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12-12-2012, 08:21 PM
  #121
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It's hardly "proof" in the sense that you are looking for, but it seems to be pretty much a universal belief among people who watched hockey in the early 80s that Smith was as clutch a goaltender as can be.
That can be the result of confirmation bias. Some folks say that someone's clutch, and then people start looking for clutchness in a biased fashion.

On the other hand, Smith's numbers look really good when you compare to the league. Perhaps he was just really good.

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12-12-2012, 08:24 PM
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It's hardly "proof" in the sense that you are looking for, but it seems to be pretty much a universal belief among people who watched hockey in the early 80s that Smith was as clutch a goaltender as can be.
By reputation for sure both Smith and Fuhr are very highly regarded as clutch goaltenders.

I go back and forth all the time on whether that is truly the case.

The skeptic in me says that a lot of what we tend to call clutch is really just having had the opportunity and being on the winning side. (ie. much of it is hindsight)

Having said that: When you saw them in those big games, their reputations also seem deserved because when the money was on the line they delivered more often than most.

I also agree with what people said up thread about their different styles suiting their teams so well. Or perhaps the teams were reinforced somewhat into the styles they played by their goaltenders too!

I know for sure Fuhr's mental attitude was just the type of guy the Oilers needed to be able to freewheel. Billy Smith would have gone mental on someone if he played behind the Oilers and a guy like Patrick Roy would have a stroke.

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12-12-2012, 08:25 PM
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Thank you, killion, as always - entertaining and informative!

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12-12-2012, 08:27 PM
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That can be the result of confirmation bias. Some folks say that someone's clutch, and then people start looking for clutchness in a biased fashion.
Possibly. But when the "conventional wisdom" has it that Smith is in the conversation for the best playoff goalie of all time after Patrick Roy, I have trouble thinking it doesn't mean something.

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On the other hand, Smith's numbers look really good when you compare to the league. Perhaps he was just really good.
True, Smith's numbers are great compared to the league . But on the other-other hand, his numbers aren't really any different from his partner's in the regular season when he was in a tandem situation. But then, something must be said for the fact that as soon as the playoffs started, Smith was the guy, and he continued to put up those numbers.

Edit: I realize I basically just argued both sides in this post, heh.

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12-12-2012, 08:30 PM
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Possibly. But when the "conventional wisdom" has it that Smith is in the conversation for the best playoff goalie of all time after Patrick Roy, I have trouble thinking it doesn't mean something.
Agreed. I'm just {playing Devil's advocate / being a pain in the ass}.

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