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Backstrom is the Key

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Old
01-16-2013, 11:11 AM
  #1
mplspug
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Backstrom is the Key

In a shortened season against Western Conference foes, Backstrom is going to have to step it up in the shootout. Either that or the team is just going to have to win games outright in regulation. To me this will be the deciding factor in whether the Wild finally returns to the post season.

Thoughts?

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01-16-2013, 11:13 AM
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Victorious Secret
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Yea...no. Even with shaky defense in front of him, he was pretty solid. Now with an All-star defenseman and more experienced players, the defense is only going to get better. The key is still scoring goals. Our defense and tending will still be there.

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01-16-2013, 11:16 AM
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Jarick
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Goaltending is horribly overrated. If you have a competent goalie, you will go as far as your team's defense and defensive system will take you. I don't care who your goalie is, if you're facing multiple odd man rushes, breakaways, and wide open back door passes every period, you're going to let in goals.

Can anyone name a team that was awful defensively, had a goalie step in, and all of a sudden they were sterling in goals against? I'm having trouble thinking of any.

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01-16-2013, 11:27 AM
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TaLoN
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^ Completely agree...

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01-16-2013, 11:27 AM
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Dr Jan Itor
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Best I can find is Colorado went from dead last to middle of the pack when they went from Budaj/Anderson to Varlomov/Giguere.

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01-16-2013, 11:28 AM
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Beegoalie
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Goaltending is Very important. It just manifests itself more in the playoffs. Goalies win cups.

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01-16-2013, 11:43 AM
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W75
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Excellent goaltending and rubbish defense won't make much difference, except stats wise.
Horrible goaltending with decent defense can ruin the whole season.
Good goaltending behind decent defense can take you anywhere.

So yes. Backstrom is important. Harding is important. And because of a short season.. consistency is even more important.

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01-16-2013, 11:47 AM
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Backs has never been horrible. He's been mediocre for a brief time once or twice, otherwise he's been good to excellent.

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01-16-2013, 11:49 AM
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Backstrom was one of the best players this team had last season and he and Harding were large reasons why this team started out the way they did. I wouldn't be understating their importance to this team and season...

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01-16-2013, 11:56 AM
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Yes I can't see problems there. We have a strong tandem and most importantly, mentally strong.

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01-16-2013, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by this providence View Post
Backstrom was one of the best players this team had last season and he and Harding were large reasons why this team started out the way they did. I wouldn't be understating their importance to this team and season...
This exactly. They stole quite a few games for the team in the beginning of last season where they'd get outshot badly, score once or twice a night and still pick up the win. That hot streak is needed in a short season like this because it'll basically get them a playoff spot.

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01-16-2013, 12:21 PM
  #12
mplspug
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I am a huge Backstrom fan. You guys are missing my point. If he struggles in shootouts, that means we could be giving up 4-6 points to teams in the West that we are competing against for playoff positions.

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01-16-2013, 12:22 PM
  #13
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The difference between NHL #1 goalies' overall skill levels might be very very small. They are all top goalies in the world. But then again there is a difference. Some of them are fighters and most of all, a few of them are winners.

A hockey goaltender is an individual athlete in team sports. He goes head to head against the opposing goalie. Fighting for the win. Making the difference makers, the game savers, the stops he needs to make in order to give his team a chance to win. Many times the difference is in one save. Or in one softie let in. Thin line.

Every goalie lets in softies. Every goalie makes those highlight reel saves. Every goalie steals an occasional game. Every goalie makes almost every save he should make. So what's the difference then? Timing. Your team ahead 6-1 and you let in a softie. **** happens, bring the baby home and win the game. GG. You let in a softie in game 7 OT in SC playoffs. Can't handle the pressure, huh? You and your mother suck you ****ing loser.

When you have a goalie that gives you the chance to win every night and outperforms the guy at the other end on regular basis by making the saves that matter the most, you have a winner on your hands. You sign him for 7 years 7M per year. Not because he's 6 times better than the 1M goalie. But because the luxury of having a true winning goaltender has fallen on your lap and that's what you do then.

Because it really is as simple as it can get. If your goalie is better (at winning hockey games) than the other team's goalie, you're already ahead. You can go comparing the skaters one by one head to head all day long and you still have absolutely nothing.

A winning goaltender at the highest level can never be overrated.

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01-16-2013, 01:29 PM
  #14
rynryn
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UNSUSTAINAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLEE EEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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01-16-2013, 01:35 PM
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mplspug View Post
I am a huge Backstrom fan. You guys are missing my point. If he struggles in shootouts, that means we could be giving up 4-6 points to teams in the West that we are competing against for playoff positions.
We'll have to win in regulation to feel comfortable, and I'm not going to pout too much for just the loser point if Backs was the reason we got it in the first place, as he has been often.

I want to say that goaltending shouldn't be as important as it has been the last few years--if we still need Backs/Hards to steal as many games as they have in the past, then this team is isn't going anywhere this year. Our D should be better, freeing up our forwards to play more aggressively in the other end instead of playing it safe and covering for them.

I didn't think harding was all that great in shootouts either.

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01-16-2013, 01:37 PM
  #16
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Let's just win games before they go into a shootout. Problem solved.

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01-16-2013, 01:47 PM
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Jarick
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Out of curiosity, I compiled all the Wild goalie stats in the shootout (at least four starts):

Fernandez: 11-3, 0.745 save%
Harding: 10-7, 0.727 save%
Backstrom: 17-30, 0.571 save%

Harding was fourth last year in SO save% with goalies who faced 10+ shots. I'd say anything above 0.700 is pretty dang good taking a look at the other goalies.

So over his career, Harding has been borderline elite in shootouts. Backstrom has been mostly terrible with one good year.

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01-16-2013, 01:49 PM
  #18
rynryn
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what was backs last year?

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01-16-2013, 01:56 PM
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Jarick
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Ugh, it's hard to tell who should count. I will go with 5+ shootouts.

Name - Save%, All goalies, 5+ games

Harding - 0.783, 7th, 4th
Backstrom - 0.531, 53rd, 31st

FWIW, the two regular goalies who were worse than Backstrom last year were:

Bryzgalov - 0.480, 60th, 32nd
Khabibulin - 0.400, 61st, 33rd

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01-16-2013, 01:59 PM
  #20
rynryn
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lol woah that IS bad. heh. at least he's slightly better on wrap around attempts.

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01-16-2013, 02:04 PM
  #21
Jarick
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More fun:

1: Semyon Varlamov - 0.917
2: Jimmy Howard - 0.815
3: Corey Crawford - 0.813
4: Josh Harding - 0.783
5: Evgeni Nabokov - 0.778
6: Antti Niemi - 0.775
7: Marc-Andre Fleury - 0.769
7: Tim Thomas - 0.769
7: Kari Lehtonen - 0.769
10: Devan Dubnyk - 0.741
11: Martin Brodeur - 0.731
12: Craig Anderson - 0.72
12: Henrik Lundqvist - 0.72
14: Jaroslav Halak - 0.719
15: Pekka Rinne - 0.7
16: Ryan Miller - 0.676
17: Mike Smith - 0.674
18: Curtis Sanford - 0.667
19: Jonathan Quick - 0.66
20: Johan Hedberg - 0.65
20: Carey Price - 0.65
20: Scott Clemmensen - 0.65
23: Jhonas Enroth - 0.636
24: Miikka Kiprusoff - 0.625
25: Jose Theodore - 0.622
26: Ondrej Pavelec - 0.6
27: Roberto Luongo - 0.595
28: Michal Neuvirth - 0.588
29: Jonas Hiller - 0.575
30: Cam Ward - 0.571
31: Niklas Backstrom - 0.531
32: Ilya Bryzgalov - 0.48
33: Nikolai Khabibulin - 0.4


Some big names near the bottom there. Bryz, Ward, Hiller, Luongo, Kipper, Price...

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01-16-2013, 02:05 PM
  #22
rynryn
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are they more cerebral goalies who read the play better while the better ones are "reaction" goalies. or tend to be?

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01-16-2013, 02:16 PM
  #23
Jarick
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I would think so. Goalies who play the angles, big pads, big chest, take away the net, etc. Goes hand in hand with the defensive system of shot blockers, cutting off passing lanes, etc. Force shots to the outside and get a big goalie who literally blocks the entire net with his angle.

Very rarely do you get a big goalie who can play the angles in butterfly AND is very athletic with a great glove hand. Fleury is one that comes to mind, when he's on. Same with Price.

Harding could be another one if he could stay healthy and get more games in.

But yeah, look at the list and you see a lot of athletic, reaction goalies near the top. Thomas, Brodeur, Nabokov, etc.

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01-16-2013, 02:21 PM
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W75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
I would think so. Goalies who play the angles, big pads, big chest, take away the net, etc. Goes hand in hand with the defensive system of shot blockers, cutting off passing lanes, etc. Force shots to the outside and get a big goalie who literally blocks the entire net with his angle.

Very rarely do you get a big goalie who can play the angles in butterfly AND is very athletic with a great glove hand
. Fleury is one that comes to mind, when he's on. Same with Price.

Harding could be another one if he could stay healthy and get more games in.

But yeah, look at the list and you see a lot of athletic, reaction goalies near the top. Thomas, Brodeur, Nabokov, etc.
Pekka Rinne.

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Old
01-16-2013, 03:47 PM
  #25
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I like Backs. He saved our ***** many times last year. He gets more grief than he deserves. I hope we keep him on after this year, albeit with a more reasonable cap hit of 3.5-4.

I cry when we have a shootout... Is it really that possible for someone who's so good normally, to absolutely SUCK that bad at something like that...

A fun drinking game: when the opponent scores on us in a shootout... It doesn't take long till all the pain is forgotten...

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