The Journal de Montreal is running a series of articles about goaltending, mainly in Quebec but touching other regions and countries as well. Francois Allaire offered some interesting comments about Swedish goaltending over the course of 20+ years. Original excerpt in French with translation:
«Lors de mon premier séjour en Suède, chaque fois que j’essayais d’enseigner une technique, l’entraîneur des gardiens de l'équipe nationale me disait: “Non, non. Ça ne se peut pas. On ne fait pas ça, ici.” J’ai vu là des choses totalement dépassées», se souvient Allaire, propriétaire d’une école de hockey pour gardiens dans ce pays depuis une vingtaine d’années.
En contrepartie, l’ancien entraîneur des gardiens du Canadien, des Mighty Ducks et des Maple Leafs se souvient que l’entraînement des *Suédois était énormément axé sur les habiletés physiques.
« Le fait de mettre l’accent sur leur condition physique en faisait des *gardiens très athlétiques.
During my first visit to Sweden, whenever I tried to teach a technique, the national team coach would tell me "No, no, that is not possible, we do not do that here." I saw many things that were outdated, recalls Allaire owner of a hockey school for over 20 years.
On the other hand, the former goaltending coach of the Canadiens, Mighty Ducks and Leafs recalls that the Swedish practices were heavily concentrated on physical conditioning.
This emphasis on physical conditioning produced some very athletic goaltenders.
I think these are interesting posts and a good chart:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe
1. Dominik Hasek (duh)
2. Miikka Kiprusoff (fantastic 3-4 year peak, top 10 goalie every season. Vezina + Cup run)
3. Olaf Kolzig (the backbone of a great defensive team in Washington. Vezina + Cup run)
4. Nikolai Khabibulin (no regular season hardware, but among the top 5 goalies in the league for several years. Excellent in the playoffs).
5. Evgeni Nabokov (Great regular seasons, questionable playoffs).
6. Arturs Irbe (inconsistent, but capable of stealing series when he was on)
7. Henrik Lundqvist (Will move up on the list in a few years. Hard to rank. Better Vezina record already than Bulin and Irbe).
8. Tomas Vokoun (great save % in Nashville and Florida, no regular season awards and no postseason success).
9. Roman Cechmanek (fantastic 3 year stretch in the regular season. Exposed in the playoffs).
10. Ilya Bryzgalov is probably 10th. Is there anyone better?
(I had written this before ushvinder reminded me of CechmanekL 10. There has to be a better pick than Halak for 10th. Christobal Huet has had a better career to this point, but there has to be someone better, right?)
Originally Posted by Dolorous Edd
The following table is sorted by wins, the top five among these goalies in wins, SV%, GAA and SO are bolded.
So for 1-8 I agree with TheDevilMadeMe, then...
9. Tommy Salo
10. Niklas Bäckström
Looking through Vezina voting in recent years tells me Niklas was sixth in 06-07 and 07-08 and third in 08-09. For me that trumps Bryzgalov's second place this past season.
Is Kolzig really considered a European goalie? I mean, he was born in South Africa (can't remember if it was him or Robyn Regehr that were born there because his parents were missionaries) and then grows up in Canada. Officially he plays for Germany in major tournaments basically because he was eligible and always not good enough to compete with the elite Canadian goalies.
His parents are German, so Kolzig is German by definition, but he is a product of Canadian junior hockey so he is a European goalie while at the same he's not really relevant to the discussion of European hockey.
Still ahead than everyone not named Hasek, lundqvist or kiprusoff.
He was the best goalie in the NHL once, and had 2 good seasons before it, and a really good playoff.
Jim Carrey was once the best goalie in the NHL and had a couple of good seasons before it. Nobody's saying he ranks higher than Richter among American goalies, because Carrey never tripled the legal limit and tried to drive home, thus living long enough to be solved by his opponents. We don't know if Lindbergh would have stayed that high a caliber goalie for years to come, and we can't just assume that he would have. He has himself to blame for not being widely considered an all-time great.
157 games just isn't a big enough sample size to determine his rank among goalies who have played 5-6 times as many games.
Jim Carrey was once the best goalie in the NHL and had a couple of good seasons before it...
Not saying Lindbergh should be among the Top 5, but...
1) unlike Jim Carey (Jim Carrey is a different matter) he has a good non-NHL resume (best WJC goaltender 78, Swedish All-Star 79 and 80) that deserves to be taken into account.
2) unlike Jim Carey he doesn't have a weak playoff resume right during his peak.
Factors to be considered. Other than that, I agree with what you say. Lindbergh could have been Top 5, but he only has himself to blame, sadly.
Having only played 157 games, I suppose there just aren't enough stats to go on to make a fair comparison. He took home the Vezina in 1985 with 40 wins, but that was his only standout year.
Maybe his only standout year statistically, or in terms of NHL awards, but he got plenty of attention in his rookie year, too, for his great play, and was rookie of the year AND MVP in the AHL before that. Olympic bronze medalist before that, I think. AND he was the best goaltender in the WJC20s before THAT, come to think of it. So yeah, he hardly came out of nowhere, or fluked a good season, or whatever.
edit: Having checked, he was also voted as the top Swede in the NHL in '82/83... his rookie year. Mats Naslund had made his NHL debut by that point, and Kent Nilsson was a 100 point scorer that year, to give you some perspective on that one.
Last edited by Ohashi_Jouzu: 11-07-2012 at 06:56 PM.