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Round 2, Vote 4 (HOH Top Goaltenders)

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Old
11-20-2012, 05:59 PM
  #176
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ContrarianGoaltender View Post



I'm not that surprised, because for a lot of people it's simply all about Stanley Cups for goalies. That's something that should be kept in mind as well when we're reading quotes about goalies from back in the day, and it's why I'm not particularly concerned that conventional wisdom has someone like Roy Worters a lot lower than I'm likely to rank him in the next vote.
It's not just the Stanley Cups. Billy Smith famously raised his game in the playoffs (even from a save percentage standpoint as you can see from GVT), while Esposito didn't play as well in the playoffs as in the regular season. There's the famous Jacques Lemaire shot from center ice in the finals, but there is also the fact that Esposito's GAA goes from 2.92 in the regular season to 3.07 in the playoffs, despite the fact that overall scoring goes down in the playoffs.

Doesn't seem like Worters had enough of a sample size in the playoffs to do much of anything. But given how low scoring was in 1929 before the forward pass was allowed, 1 goal in 2 games wasn't that crazy low-scoring, right?


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11-20-2012, 06:27 PM
  #177
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I'm also in the group that had Thompson ahead of Smith on their original list.

The only thing about that ranking, though, is that in my playoff series wins vs. expected list, Smith is the biggest overachiever ever at 11.2 playoff series wins above expected, while Thompson is the biggest underachiever of anyone I've looked at so far with 4.6 series below expected. I think looking at their respective team situations and playoff results would be interesting, but that's probably more of a discussion point for next round I would think.
Let's just say that, if some people can say that Durnan had a stacked team, then Thompson had an ULTRA, ULTRA, ULTRA stacked team.

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11-20-2012, 07:59 PM
  #178
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Ranking Holecek

I had Holecek 10th on my submitted list, one spot over Tretiak. Since then, I've re-examined that line of thinking. As dominant as Holecek was during his 8 year stretch (from the ages of 27-35), he did take quite some time to hit his stride and didn't do all that much of note outside those 8 years. I also (possibly unfairly) dinged Tretiak on my original list for blowing a couple of high profile tournaments, but looking at the record closely, nobody could really point to a tournament that he blew other than the 1980 Miracle on Ice Olympics, and that was just one tournament. Holecek appears to have blown the 1972 Olympics and the 1976 Canada Cup in between his World Championship brilliance.

That said, I think there is very good reason to suspect that from 1971-1978, Holecek was better on average than Tretiak - that certainly seems to be the opinion of people who watched both of them extensively. I'm fine with ranking Tretiak over Holecek after adding in what Tretiak did from 1979-1983, but I really don't feel comfortable ranking Holecek that far behind Tretiak.

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11-20-2012, 08:25 PM
  #179
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Jiri Holecek

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Ranking Holecek

I had Holecek 10th on my submitted list, one spot over Tretiak. Since then, I've re-examined that line of thinking. As dominant as Holecek was during his 8 year stretch (from the ages of 27-35), he did take quite some time to hit his stride and didn't do all that much of note outside those 8 years. I also (possibly unfairly) dinged Tretiak on my original list for blowing a couple of high profile tournaments, but looking at the record closely, nobody could really point to a tournament that he blew other than the 1980 Miracle on Ice Olympics, and that was just one tournament. Holecek appears to have blown the 1972 Olympics and the 1976 Canada Cup in between his World Championship brilliance.

That said, I think there is very good reason to suspect that from 1971-1978, Holecek was better on average than Tretiak - that certainly seems to be the opinion of people who watched both of them extensively. I'm fine with ranking Tretiak over Holecek after adding in what Tretiak did from 1979-1983, but I really don't feel comfortable ranking Holecek that far behind Tretiak.
Watch Jiri Holecek :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMtNnAGQowc

in the 1976 Olympic final 3 - 2 lead disappears

Basically Holecek was not very mobile, weak positionally and for a big goalie did not play big. Not really an NHL level goalie, AHL level at best.Basically the Czech National Team of the 1970s was responsible for his success.

1976 Canada Cup. Canadian goalies were Rogie Vachon, Gerry Cheevers, Chico Resch, Dan Bouchard. Swedish goalie was Hardy Aastrom. So in Europe the competition for #2 behind Tretiak was very weak.

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11-20-2012, 09:05 PM
  #180
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Watch Jiri Holecek :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMtNnAGQowc

in the 1976 Olympic final 3 - 2 lead disappears

Basically Holecek was not very mobile, weak positionally and for a big goalie did not play big. Not really an NHL level goalie, AHL level at best.Basically the Czech National Team of the 1970s was responsible for his success.

1976 Canada Cup. Canadian goalies were Rogie Vachon, Gerry Cheevers, Chico Resch, Dan Bouchard. Swedish goalie was Hardy Aastrom. So in Europe the competition for #2 behind Tretiak was very weak.
In that video, I don't see either goalie getting much work. Then Yakushev scores on the PP at about 8:30 of the video after an impressive display of puck movement leads to a mad scramble in front. Kharlamov scores at about 10:00 of the video after being left wide open in the slot and taking a nice pass from Petrov.

According to Joe Pelletier's Greatest Hockey Legends, Holecek had a reputation for being mobile:

Quote:
When people mention great European goaltenders then they usually think about Dominik Hasek and Vladislav Tretiak. Jiri Holecek somehow never attained the same publicity as those two goalies.

But many consider him being a better goaltender than Tretiak. In his homeland (Czech Republic) Holecek was called "Kouzelnik" (The Magician), for his acrobatic style of play. He was equally good and fast with his blocker as he was with his glove hand. He also had very quick feet and tried to emulate the style of his childhood idol, Canadian Seth Martin. Another strength was that Holecek always used to be cool under pressure. Many say that if Holecek had got the same exposure as Tretiak did when he faced the NHLers then he would be regarded as the best European goalie ever.
The same article also explains why Holecek stayed deep in his net against the Soviets:

Quote:
Holecek always played at his best when he faced the Soviets.

"I loved to play against them because our team didn't have anything to lose in those games. Everybody expected us to lose and if we won we became national heroes. I usually liked to skate out a bit to face the shooters but against them I stood on the goal line. Trying to skate out of your crease to cut the angles against the Russians would have been suicide" Holecek said.
http://internationalhockeylegends.bl...i-holecek.html

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11-20-2012, 10:01 PM
  #181
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Compensating

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
In that video, I don't see either goalie getting much work. Then Yakushev scores on the PP at about 8:30 of the video after an impressive display of puck movement leads to a mad scramble in front. Kharlamov scores at about 10:00 of the video after being left wide open in the slot and taking a nice pass from Petrov.

According to Joe Pelletier's Greatest Hockey Legends, Holecek had a reputation for being mobile:



The same article also explains why Holecek stayed deep in his net against the Soviets:



http://internationalhockeylegends.bl...i-holecek.html
Both goals against the Soviets he had taken himself out of position and could not compensate

The flashy glove save a goalie makes has to be viewed in terms of his initial position.

Watch the first two goals Holecek gives up against Canada in Game 2 of the 1976 Canada Cup Final:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irmLZBJrESM

We are looking at an AHL quality goalie.

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11-20-2012, 10:09 PM
  #182
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If you're going to base a goaltender's ability on a highlight reel of goals allowed, won't the conclusion be that all goaltenders are AHL ability (at best)?

Goaltenders typically look bad on goals allowed. Not always, but usually.

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11-20-2012, 10:17 PM
  #183
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
....So in Europe the competition for #2 behind Tretiak was very weak.
... that was pretty much take on it as well. As an interesting aside and as mentioned in TDMM's link above, the Czech's & Russians were quite taken with Canadian Seth Martin, who played for the Canadian National Team and the Trail Smoke Eaters throughout the late 50's & 60's. Martin was a childhood hero of both Tretiak & Holocek (who later coached Hasek amongst others), whose style was studied and emulated by the aforementioned and the generations of both Czech & Russian goalies that followed. Quite the influential character for what was effectively a 20yr career between the pipes playing primarily Senior & Minor-Pro. In 67-68, he signed as a Free Agent with the fledgling St.Louis Blues, backing up Glenn Hall, played in about 30 regular season & a couple of playoff games, respectable GAA's, but retired to Rossland BC where he had a job waiting that paid him about the same as what he'd make in the NHL along with the starters position with the local Senior Team.

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11-20-2012, 10:20 PM
  #184
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Full Game

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Originally Posted by Taco MacArthur View Post
If you're going to base a goaltender's ability on a highlight reel of goals allowed, won't the conclusion be that all goaltenders are AHL ability (at best)?

Goaltenders typically look bad on goals allowed. Not always, but usually.
Soviet/Czech features game action and you see both Tretiak and Holecek.

1976 Canada Cup is the game film.Anyone so inclined can view the whole game and contrast Holecek to his replacement Dzurilla and the opposing goalie Vachon.

Fact remains Holecek is seen with his skates leaving the ice when moving side to side. Not recommended technique.

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11-20-2012, 10:25 PM
  #185
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Someone could play a highlight reel of Ken Dryden in the 1972 Summit Series and conclude that he was an AHL quality goalie too. I think it's been established that Holecek was not very good in the 1976 Canada Cup.

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11-20-2012, 10:29 PM
  #186
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Holecek?
Certainly Top-8 material in this round (with a clear last place -- Thompson -- and a somewhat clear 9th place -- Smith).

That doesn't say much, though. I had him sandwiched between Belfour and Bower in the original Top-60, and he'll probably end up between those two -- with Belfour probably higher this time around. I think Smith compares unfavorably to Bower, but it's something of a real close call. The only thing that MIGHT tip the balance in favour of Smith is that, while both goalies were tandem goalies, Smith was a tandem goalie in an era were is was pretty common to do so -- and Smith often played with very good backups (Resch, Melanson and Hrudey were all above average goaltenders in their day. Not that Bower played with bad "partners" mind you, but such thing was uncommon.

Rotation for Bower can sorta be explained by his advanced age, but he pretty much ALWAYS played at an advanced age, so I fail to see how his age should be factored in.

Worters? If he isn't in my Top-4, he's darn close.

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11-20-2012, 10:35 PM
  #187
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Ranking Holecek

I had Holecek 10th on my submitted list, one spot over Tretiak. Since then, I've re-examined that line of thinking. As dominant as Holecek was during his 8 year stretch (from the ages of 27-35), he did take quite some time to hit his stride and didn't do all that much of note outside those 8 years. I also (possibly unfairly) dinged Tretiak on my original list for blowing a couple of high profile tournaments, but looking at the record closely, nobody could really point to a tournament that he blew other than the 1980 Miracle on Ice Olympics, and that was just one tournament. Holecek appears to have blown the 1972 Olympics and the 1976 Canada Cup in between his World Championship brilliance.

That said, I think there is very good reason to suspect that from 1971-1978, Holecek was better on average than Tretiak - that certainly seems to be the opinion of people who watched both of them extensively. I'm fine with ranking Tretiak over Holecek after adding in what Tretiak did from 1979-1983, but I really don't feel comfortable ranking Holecek that far behind Tretiak.
I actually had Holecek 2 or 3 ranks above Tretiak, and frankly, it's sad that it's not a possiblity.

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11-20-2012, 10:40 PM
  #188
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Apples to Apples

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Someone could play a highlight reel of Ken Dryden in the 1972 Summit Series and conclude that he was an AHL quality goalie too. I think it's been established that Holecek was not very good in the 1976 Canada Cup.
1976 Canada Cup is the game film not a highlite film. The Game One film is also available.

Point is why was Holecek not very good in the 1976 Canada Cup. This is answered in the game film, the Soviet / Czech clip and has been explained a few posts up thread.

Watch the 1972 Summit Series game films - readily available and you reach a different conclusion about Dryden. Watch the Game 5 Summit Series game film and you will see Tony Esposito fall apart in the third period.

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11-20-2012, 11:16 PM
  #189
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
1976 Canada Cup is the game film not a highlite film. The Game One film is also available.... Point is why was Holecek not very good in the 1976 Canada Cup. This is answered in the game film, the Soviet / Czech clip and has been explained a few posts up thread..... Watch the 1972 Summit Series game films - readily available and you reach a different conclusion about Dryden. Watch the Game 5 Summit Series game film and you will see Tony Esposito fall apart in the third period.
The problem with Holocek was his unorthodoxy in playing the position. Unbelievably, he seemed to think that when facing North Americans it was Kosher to play it deep and incredibly, airborne for much of the time. Much like a soccer goalie really. Desperate lunges & dives. When it worked, it appeared spectacular, because quite frankly, it was, but it wasnt "reliable", and he wouldve been taken to pieces in about 2 starts if he'd played that way in the NHL. Secondly, his stick work, well, lets just say it "needed work" (ditto on Tretiak with that one, his stickwork was absolutely lame).

Then there was "communication" with his defenceman. Neither Holocek nor Tretiak seemed to have anykind of ongoing running dialogue with their defenceman or forwards. It was like they were playing all by themselves, meat sticks in the crease, just stop the puck & keep it zipped. That is absolutely unacceptable, fatal. For evidence, you need look no farther than Paul Hendersons famous goal. Had Vlad been in communication with his defenders, he would have barked the order to take Henderson out & down RIGHT ****ING NOW! He saw what Henderson was up to, the defenders did not, and yet he said, screamed nothing? Not good enough Comrade.

As for Tony 'O', that really was the rap against him throughout his career. Great regular season goalie, cant handle the big games. Mentally soft. Could be "got at". Unbalanced. Upset. Disturbed. Exhibit 'A' above is a typical example. Check it out on film. I'll leave it to the viewers to decide. My mind was made up about him years ago.

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11-21-2012, 04:18 AM
  #190
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Via TheoKritos, Here are all the goalies who placed in Golden Stick voting during this time frame:

(...)
1976: 2 Holeček, 9 Dzurilla, 19 Pavel Richter, 20 Svitana, 23 Crha
1977: 6 Dzurilla, 8 Holeček, 17 Kralík, 23 Crha, 29 Sakač, 30 Richter
1978: 2 Holeček, 15 Dzurilla, 17 Kralík, 18 Richter, 19 Crha, 37 Ivan Podešva, 42 Petr Ševela, 46 Milan Kolísek.
Oops, Pavel Richter was a forward, I don't know how he slipped into the list, maybe I got the two Czech Pavels (Wohl and Richter) mixed up (no, I definitely didn't think of Mike Richter). Not a major issue, but for the sake of accuracy Richter should be removed. The rest of the list is correct though.

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11-21-2012, 06:45 AM
  #191
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Holecek's footwork was the first thing I noticed when I watched the 1976 Olympic Final last night. I feel he gives up so much net in the "transition" between his stance and his save selection that I find it weird that it was sustainable in his home league. He seems like a goalie that would have been figured out after a while.

Also, what I noticed for the Czechs against the Soviets was what looked to me - like an early (I assume, early) left wing lock system by the Czechs. Long story short, it's fundamental principles of dividing the ice into left/center/right lanes (something you'll see discussed from the youth levels on up) and having the left wing drop back into the defensive zone - essentially creating a 3-man defense system. This should help greatly reduce shot quality. I'm not sure how long the Czechs did this, when or against whom. But I noticed it quite a bit in the '76 Olympics. Adding another defenseman would sure help a goalie out.

I'm going to watch a little more on Holecek and the Czechs before I jump to any concrete conclusions.

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11-21-2012, 07:00 AM
  #192
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Exactly

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Originally Posted by Mike Farkas View Post
Holecek's footwork was the first thing I noticed when I watched the 1976 Olympic Final last night. I feel he gives up so much net in the "transition" between his stance and his save selection that I find it weird that it was sustainable in his home league. He seems like a goalie that would have been figured out after a while.

Also, what I noticed for the Czechs against the Soviets was what looked to me - like an early (I assume, early) left wing lock system by the Czechs. Long story short, it's fundamental principles of dividing the ice into left/center/right lanes (something you'll see discussed from the youth levels on up) and having the left wing drop back into the defensive zone - essentially creating a 3-man defense system. This should help greatly reduce shot quality. I'm not sure how long the Czechs did this, when or against whom. But I noticed it quite a bit in the '76 Olympics. Adding another defenseman would sure help a goalie out.

I'm going to watch a little more on Holecek and the Czechs before I jump to any concrete conclusions.
Exactly Mike. Commonly referred to as playing small. Holecek was a app 5'11", yet when he would move or go down he would compact himself revealing a lot more net than necessary.

Saw the early use of the Left Wing Lock in the 1976 Olympics but a few months later in the 1976 Canada Cup, the LW was a weakness in the Czech defensive game, especially in the finals.


Last edited by Canadiens1958: 11-21-2012 at 12:25 PM. Reason: typo
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11-21-2012, 10:47 AM
  #193
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Exactly Mike. Commonly referred to as playing small. Holecek was a app 5'11", yet when he would move or go down he would compact himself revealing a lot more net than necessary.
Ya, deep crouch while standing right on the goal line, his feet moving east west exactly like a soccer goalie facing a free kick. Moving back & forth like a duck in a penny arcade shooting gallery. Swaying back & forth. Like Killa Magilla. The Gorilla. Now refrigerator repairman Vladimir Dzurilla, he IMHO was technically superior, not so prone to giving up so much net, winding up on his back. Windmilling around on the ice like a cat on a hardwood floor. The busted hands on a clock. Like a..... anyhoo. Im sure get the point.

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11-21-2012, 10:58 AM
  #194
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A couple more games vs North America:

NHL players whose teams missed the playoffs participated in both the 1977 and 1978 World Championships for Team Canada.

In 1977, Czechoslovakia won Gold with Dzurilla and Holecek splitting games. Despite winning Gold, they lost to a 4th place Canada team 8-2 in the medal round. Not sure who was in goal that game. That was a crazy tournament, as Canada beat 3rd place Sweden 7-0, but lost to 2nd place USSR 7-1. Czechoslovakia tied Canada 3-3 in the preliminaries.

In 1978, Czechoslovakia won Silver, but Holecek was named the Best Goalie of the tournament (for the 5th time). Holecek shut out Canada in the preliminary round, 5-0, but it was a team effort as Czechoslovakia outshot Canada 47-17: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...+holecek&hl=en Holecek and Czechoslovakia then beat Canada 3-2 in the medal round.

Back in 1976, Czechoslovakia shut out United States team made of college players 5-0. Holecek was described as "brilliant" and "under considerable pressure:" http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...+holecek&hl=en


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11-21-2012, 11:00 AM
  #195
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Ya, deep crouch while standing right on the goal line, his feet moving east west exactly like a soccer goalie facing a free kick. Moving back & forth like a duck in a penny arcade shooting gallery. Swaying back & forth. Like Killa Magilla. The Gorilla. Now refrigerator repairman Vladimir Dzurilla, he IMHO was technically superior, not so prone to giving up so much net, winding up on his back. Windmilling around on the ice like a cat on a hardwood floor. The busted hands on a clock. Like a..... anyhoo. Im sure get the point.
Holecek's technique sure worked better against the Soviets than Ken Dryden's "looking big and getting caught by the backdoor play" did. Say what you want about his style, but no other goalie had more success against the Soviet Union than Holecek did.


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 11-21-2012 at 11:09 AM.
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11-21-2012, 11:25 AM
  #196
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Holecek's technique sure worked better against the Soviets than Ken Dryden's "looking big and getting caught by the backdoor play" did. Say what you want about his style, but no other goalie had more success against the Soviet Union than Holecek did.
... ya absolutely. Playing deep against the Soviets was mandatory as their puck movement & passes forced the play to the goal line, the corners, tic tac toe followed by toe tac tic in a dizzying array of patterns & cycles, and when the opposition was reeling, seeing stars, right on your doorstep & Bam!. Holocek understood that and played the odds', hence the goal line east west east west unorthodoxy.

The other interesting component that I noticed about the Soviets was that the vast majority of their goals were scored with the puck right on the ice or just a couple of feet off of it, rarely "roofing" it. This then leads me to wondering what kind sticks were the Soviets & Czech's using back in the day? Were they cheap, down n' dirty heavy pieces of crap or did they have access to high quality products (I mean in the 50's & 60's, pre-Summit Series)? There had to be a reason for the propensity of low shots like that. This I think goes a ways in explaining why Holocek played the way he did, low & vertical, while influencing (he coached goalies after hanging them up in the Czech Republic) generations that followed including Dominic Hasek as mentioned earlier.

As both Tretiak & Holocek state that Canadian Seth Martin was a founding influence on their games, Id be interested to see some game footage of that guys play from the Trail Smoke Eaters, at the Innsbruck Winter Games & so on, nor do I remember seeing him play for the Blues in 67-68 (though that may be moot as its possible he'd altered his style by then to adapt to the NHL game, playing it more standup, out farther, challenging).

If we could go back to lets say the 72 Summit Series or the Canada Cup in 76 etc, from that era, and though too young for 72, if I was picking the goalies for Team Canada, Id have actually gone with Billy Smith of the Islanders. Not only was he mentally tough, he could play it both ways, out challenging or in-deep, excellent communication with his defence, and he wouldve made the Soviets pay big time for getting in close, let alone behind him.


Last edited by Killion: 11-21-2012 at 11:51 AM. Reason: further thought..
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11-21-2012, 12:13 PM
  #197
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Oops, Pavel Richter was a forward, I don't know how he slipped into the list, maybe I got the two Czech Pavels (Wohl and Richter) mixed up (no, I definitely didn't think of Mike Richter). Not a major issue, but for the sake of accuracy Richter should be removed. The rest of the list is correct though.
I fixed it. Thanks. (Not that it changes anything regarding Holecek, but always good to be accurate).

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11-21-2012, 12:33 PM
  #198
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Scoring

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Originally Posted by Killion View Post

The other interesting component that I noticed about the Soviets was that the vast majority of their goals were scored with the puck right on the ice or just a couple of feet off of it, rarely "roofing" it. This then leads me to wondering what kind sticks were the Soviets & Czech's using back in the day? Were they cheap, down n' dirty heavy pieces of crap or did they have access to high quality products (I mean in the 50's & 60's, pre-Summit Series)? There had to be a reason for the propensity of low shots like that. This I think goes a ways in explaining why Holocek played the way he did, low & vertical, while influencing (he coached goalies after hanging them up in the Czech Republic) generations that followed including Dominic Hasek as mentioned earlier.
Get the goalie moving in a fashion where the skates leave the ice and he cannot cover low. A roofed shot he can still get to with his catching glove or blocker.

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11-21-2012, 12:36 PM
  #199
ContrarianGoaltender
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killion View Post
The problem with Holocek was his unorthodoxy in playing the position. Unbelievably, he seemed to think that when facing North Americans it was Kosher to play it deep and incredibly, airborne for much of the time. Much like a soccer goalie really. Desperate lunges & dives. When it worked, it appeared spectacular, because quite frankly, it was, but it wasnt "reliable", and he wouldve been taken to pieces in about 2 starts if he'd played that way in the NHL. Secondly, his stick work, well, lets just say it "needed work" (ditto on Tretiak with that one, his stickwork was absolutely lame).
If Holecek would have been taken to pieces immediately in the NHL, how do you explain Jiri Crha? I don't think we're guessing completely blindly in terms of projecting Holecek in the NHL because his long-time backup on the Czechoslovakian national team who had a similar style of play and in particular similar weaknesses did play for a couple of years in Toronto and acquitted himself fairly well.

Quote:
A large part of the Leafs future hope rested on the back of Czechoslovakian goaltender Jiri Crha. The Leafs had won a bidding war with Montreal and Philadelphia for the 29 year old veteran. Crha was a regular on the Czech national squad, usually the back-up in addition to posting solid numbers in league action for Pardubice. Incumbent star Mike Palmateer was on the outs with management, having demanded a five year deal worth $500,000. Imlach shipped him to Washington in June of '80 in essence handing the reigns to Crha.

Having been unfamiliar with the NHL style of goaltending, Crha spent the first half of 79/80 simply practicing with the Leafs and learning from Palmateer and Johnny Bower. He was quoted in the 1980/81 Pro Hockey Book as saying, "Goaltending is different in the NHL, you must move out to cut off shooting angles and you must play the puck outside of your crease. These were things I had to learn. I had never done them."

Quite the pickup for the Leafs you might say? After impressing in the AHL for Moncton, Crha was summoned to the big club in mid-February after injuries had ravaged four Leaf tenders (see earlier blog entry about Bower almost being called upon). The Czech import wasted little time impressing winning 8 of 15 games in posting a respectable 3.61 average. (Nitzy's Hockey Den)
Crha was also known for playing deep in his crease like Holecek did.

Quote:
"[Potvin] was so far back in his net he reminded me of Jiri Crha [former Leaf goalie, now a Whalers scout]," Kay Whitmore said.
Crha's stats were very good for those two seasons. He posted a save percentage of .883, better than league average of .877 despite toiling for an awful team, and he way outplayed the other goalies in Toronto:

1979-80:

Jiri Crha: 8-7-0, 3.61, .909
Mike Palmateer: 16-14-3, 3.68, .875
Curt Ridley: 0-1-0, 4.36, .887
Paul Harrison: 9-17-2, 4.42, .872
Vincent Tremblay: 2-1-0, 5.11, .856

1980-81:

Jiri Crha: 20-20-11, 4.07, .875
Jim Rutherford: 4-10-2, 5.12, .851
Michel Larocque: 3-3-2, 5.22, .854
Curt Ridley: 1-1-0, 5.81, .831
Vincent Tremblay: 0-3-0, 6.71, .833

After that, I'm not really sure what happened. One poster on TMLfans.ca blames management, which in the Ballard era always seems like a reasonable thing thing to do:

Quote:
This thing that Allaire is attempting to do with both Reimer and Gustavvson reminds me of another era in Leafs history, when they had a promising young netminder from the then Czechoslovakia, named Jiri Crha, who displayed a butterfly & flopping style, an exciting acrobatics style that suited the Leafs squad well.

Critics claimed that Crha's 'unorthodox' style was flawed and that he flopped too much, so, the Leafs brass set about changing his goaltending style. Instead of improvement, Crha was never quite the same. He was 'ruined'.
It's possible that the team soured on Crha a bit after he got smoked in the playoffs for two seasons in a row, but so did Palmateer and Larocque. Maybe those playoff results suggest he was "figured out" to some extent in the NHL, although it's an extremely small sample size and I guess you'd have to also claim that the opposition had solved Palmateer and Larocque as well. It looks like Crha didn't really play much anywhere in the 1981-82 season, and eventually found his way back to Europe.

Overall, I think there is virtually no basis to claim that Holecek was AHL-level or could not have been successful in the NHL. I think question marks can certainly be raised about how well his style would have translated, or whether he would have been able to last without adjusting, but if his long-time backup could put up above-average stats on a bad team then it stands to reason that Holecek would have been pretty good in North America, with some proper coaching and perhaps an adjustment period.

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Old
11-21-2012, 01:35 PM
  #200
Sanf
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Not saying anything where Holecek should be ranked. Just to be fair it wasn´t all bad.

After Summit Series 72 Canada played against CSSR and the result was 3-3. I haven´t yet had the time to watch that game but here is link.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSuc5aInhYw&feature=plcp

If I remember right Bobby Hull considered Holecek best goalie in the world. Of course that comment sounded pretty weird during Canada Cup but Hull had played against Holecek few times before.

They played against the WHA team in 74 and result was 3-1 to CSSR. Though in that game Holecek was changed (injured?) after 15 minutes (game was 2-0 then)

In Sebtember 75 Jets visited Praha. Results were CSSR win 6-1 (Holecek in goal) and 3-1 (Crha in goal).

Holeceks domestic all star record were impressive. CSSR had depth in goalies so he couldn´t afford any mediocre seasons.

But there isn´t much before 71. He was Dzurillas backup in 66. That was bit of surprise call and he wasn´t the original choice. He made NT debut just week before the tournament (4-3 win against Canada).

In 67 WHC he had chance to conquer the starter job because Dzurilla missed whole season in injuries. Nadrchal and Holecek didn´t impress (well Holecek had 1-1 against amateur Canada) and it was a disaster to CSSR team. It was first time since 60 when they were left out of medals. After that Holecek was few years complitely out from national team.


Last edited by Sanf: 11-21-2012 at 01:46 PM.
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