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It's Back... The Official 'Goalie Controversy' thread

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Old
04-08-2004, 05:29 AM
  #1
TehDoak
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It's Back... The Official 'Goalie Controversy' thread

It seems to me that there is a single argument over Biron's capabilites as a starter going between 2-3 threads, So, from here on out, post all the arguments for/against certain goalies here.


Last edited by Chainshot: 08-07-2004 at 10:40 PM.
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04-08-2004, 06:38 AM
  #2
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The Case For Trading Biron:

#1. Biron has been given sufficent chances to claim the #1 job as his own, and has not done so in 3 years as the Sabres starting goaltender.
#2. Both Ryan Miller and Mika Noronen have paid their dues in the minors, and while both deserve time in the NHL, Buffalo cannot carry 3 goalies.
#3. Biron made 2.1 million this season and will likley be asking for 3 million per season next year. However, with 13 RFAs to resign (and Zhitnik resign). Buffalo could either a) spend 4 million on Biron+ a backup OR b)Spend two million on BOTH Miller and Noronen and use that 2 million saved to put towards resigning Zhitnik.

The Case for Noronen:

Noronen actually TOOK the job from Biron this season, however, despite his efforts in goal, he took over at the worst possible time, when Buffalo was playing their WORST hockey of the season. However, despite Buffalo's terrible play, Noronen put up sparkling number in the month of December: 2.11 GAA, .926 SP, but only getting a record of 3-5-1 for his efforts. In January, Noronen got the proverbial 'short end of the stick', playing, getting a paltry 2 goal/game goal support from the sabres, that includes a 6-2 win vs. Philly. Take out the blowout, and Noronen only got 1.0 goal/game help. Biron, however, got a cushy 2.91 goals/game support, and of course, sparkled. Then, in February, both goalies had horrible stats, again, Noronen getting hung out to dry in 2 blowouts vs NJ and Ottawa AND a mop up job in Boston during a 6-2 loss (2 GA on 5 shots in the 3rd), however, Buffalo was scoring alot, so both goalies got out with a .500 record. Since then, we know the story, Buffalo started playing great hockey and Biron was the Benefactor, going 9-4-1 with a .924 SP and a 2.24 GAA and Buffalo scored over 3.5 goals/game. If Noronen had gotten the kind of help Biron received in December, Noronen would have gone 6-2 or even 7-1.

The Case for Miller:

Miller has won at every level he has played at, except the NHL. He outplayed both goaltenders coming out of camp and was rewarded with the starting job. However, Miller's teammates let him get hung out to dry his first 2 NHL games, and is sent to rochester. He plays well enough to earn another call up, only to be hung out to dry again against detroit. Miller shows a bit of immaturity after the game and was sent back down to Rochester. His confidence, understandably, was shot, and was sent back down to the AHL where he struggled, and was not called up again. Miller will be given another shot next season and hopefully, his team will actually play in front of him and he will be given a chance to display what he can do at the NHL level.

Overall, both goalies have All Star/Veznia trophy upside, IMHO. Biron, while a decent starting goalie, in his 3 years, Biron has not shown CONSISTENTLY that he can handle a full NHL load, though he has been given NUMEROUS chances to do so. Biron has shown he can play well for parts of seasons, but never has put together an entire season. At his best, Biron makes big saves and keeps his team in the game. At his worst, Biron lets in soft goals at terrible times and often will spark other teams to have a comeback win. The problem with Biron is that it will often only take one lucky bounce to switch between good Biron and bad Biron. His confidence seems very fragile, he has a hard time shaking off bad goals and will struggle when his starting job is on the line. And its been that way for 3 years now. While, when he is confident, he is a very good goaltender, its his seeming insecurity that is his downfall. If Biron is traded, he might develop into a great goalie and I'll eat some crow for it. However, given Birons age and NHL experience and both of Buffalo's other goalies upside and skill levels, I think the odds are more in favor of either Miller or Noronen developing into a FRANCHISE goalie, something Biron will never be.

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04-08-2004, 07:21 AM
  #3
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My 2 cents.

If Biron were a legit #1 goalie, there would be no controversy.

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04-08-2004, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jj@jj.com
My 2 cents.

If Biron were a legit #1 goalie, there would be no controversy.
Ding Ding, JJ gets the captain obvious award for the day.

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04-08-2004, 10:25 AM
  #5
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Another few points for Noronen/Miller over Biron:
1. Biron's upside is limited while Noronen and Miller still have high upside.
2. Related to this, Noronen and Miller are unknown quantities - meaning that you don't want to deal them and get screwed in a trade. Ideally, you deal Biron for a useful player and re-sign Z. Then Noronen and Miller both wind up with .925 save percentages, and you get a ton in return for Noronen. And Miller becomes your franchise goaltender and you get two decent players and salary relief in return. Trading Biron is good asset management.

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04-08-2004, 11:12 AM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jj@jj.com
My 2 cents.

If Biron were a legit #1 goalie, there would be no controversy.
Same goes for Noronen and Miller. Miller was given the No. 1 spot to start the season and Noronen couldn't keep it either when he had his chances. And the only person to grab it was Biron. Yes it was late in the season, but without his play at the end, we don't even have a chance at the playoffs. For example, the Rangers game where the defense was awful and without the 37 saves Marty made, its two points down the drain.

And for every person that says Noronen and Miller have upside, you are correct. But, you also have to consider they have the most downside, as well. As I've said before in other threads, for every goalie that has had success early in their career, there is just as many, if not more, that have been busts.

As well, Noronen started off the season playing well, but started to fade, where Biron started slow, as Hasek did many times, and caught fire at the right time. A strong start might make it to the playoffs, but a strong finish might make it to the Stanley Cup.

Biron hasn't been the top goalie in the league yet, but he is playing better than Khabibulin and I think that we would have to say that Tampa has a good shot with at making the Finals. Yes, they have a better team, but it goes to show that with a reliable, if not spectacular, goalie and a good all around team that you can win in hockey. And that's what matters, winning. Its not a competition to have the best goalie like Florida, but to have the best team. If it was stricly based on who had the best goalie then we would have won lots of Cups with Hasek.

I see our team a lot like Tampa was a few years ago. Young and talented but not quite ready to make a splash. Biron can equal or better Khabibulin, and Noronen or Miller can develop, hopefully better than Graham. If our young players step up and produce as TB's have, than we have a great begining to a top team.

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04-08-2004, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digable5
Same goes for Noronen and Miller. Miller was given the No. 1 spot to start the season and Noronen couldn't keep it either when he had his chances. And the only person to grab it was Biron. Yes it was late in the season, but without his play at the end, we don't even have a chance at the playoffs. For example, the Rangers game where the defense was awful and without the 37 saves Marty made, its two points down the drain.
Thats fine and good, but with the way the team was playing the last month of the season, I don;t think who was in net really mattered. Biron benefited from the team in front of him playing great. The only thing he had to do was not lose the game. I put this stat in another thread, but since January, Biron was 7-9-1 (or something close to that) when Buffalo scored 3 goals or less. And, no suprisingly, he was 12-1 when Buffalo scored 4 or more goals. Biron got GREAT goal support down the strech and it made his games easy. Noronen, with the exception of 1 or 2 blowouts, got probably the worst goal support in the league.

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04-08-2004, 02:17 PM
  #8
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It wouldn't be prudent to trade any goalies until their contracts are resolved and the status of next season is determined. I would assume that Biron and Noronen will sign their qualifying offers, but is either one going to be ready to step in after a lockout? Miller is also a RFA. Will he sign another 2-way contract or will he demand a 1-way deal to force the issue that he'll play in the NHL? The Sabres aren't going to pay him an NHL salary to play for the Amerks. If it's 1-way deal he'll be as rusty as Biron and Noronen when the season resumes. Askey is an UFA. I expect him to be re-signed, but the Sabres shouldn't take anything for granted. If you assume there's going to be a lockout, having a hot goalie in the shortened season will be more important than ever to make the playoffs. Unless the Sabres acquire another goalie, they should be keeping all their options open. I don't think this is the time to be resolving the goalie controversy.

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04-08-2004, 03:33 PM
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buffaloed
It wouldn't be prudent to trade any goalies until their contracts are resolved and the status of next season is determined. I would assume that Biron and Noronen will sign their qualifying offers, but is either one going to be ready to step in after a lockout? Miller is also a RFA. Will he sign another 2-way contract or will he demand a 1-way deal to force the issue that he'll play in the NHL? The Sabres aren't going to pay him an NHL salary to play for the Amerks. If it's 1-way deal he'll be as rusty as Biron and Noronen when the season resumes. Askey is an UFA. I expect him to be re-signed, but the Sabres shouldn't take anything for granted. If you assume there's going to be a lockout, having a hot goalie in the shortened season will be more important than ever to make the playoffs. Unless the Sabres acquire another goalie, they should be keeping all their options open. I don't think this is the time to be resolving the goalie controversy.
Absolutely true. If we miss a whole season everything changes. The forwards and goalies especially.

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04-08-2004, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdoak
Thats fine and good, but with the way the team was playing the last month of the season, I don;t think who was in net really mattered. Biron benefited from the team in front of him playing great. The only thing he had to do was not lose the game. I put this stat in another thread, but since January, Biron was 7-9-1 (or something close to that) when Buffalo scored 3 goals or less. And, no suprisingly, he was 12-1 when Buffalo scored 4 or more goals. Biron got GREAT goal support down the strech and it made his games easy. Noronen, with the exception of 1 or 2 blowouts, got probably the worst goal support in the league.
Yes, every goalie benefits from a better team in front of them, but you still can't ignore the fact that Biron is the one that Ruff chose and Marty is the one that took control of the number 1 spot. When the team plays well, that is when the goalie can be singled out for costing the team games and he didn't. When the team plays poorly, you can't really blame the goalie for the loss. Just like in Florida who has possibly the best goalie in the NHL. He can play great every night, but if the team doesn't show up they still lose more then they win. Again, I would rather have the team win every game 8-7 then lose 1-0. Its a team game and however you want to slice it, Biron wins. I don't care if you say he had the better goal support, he still played better than the other goalie on that nght, and that's what counts.

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04-08-2004, 04:28 PM
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There is no controversy.Marty is superior to Miller and Noronen by quite a margin.Noronen's upside is not high.He is 24 and is a backup.Miller needs to prove something quick.2 years in the AHL,and still hasn't supplanted a spot.He isn't exactly that young anymore.He's in his mid 20's now.

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04-08-2004, 05:19 PM
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielBriere48
There is no controversy.Marty is superior to Miller and Noronen by quite a margin.Noronen's upside is not high.He is 24 and is a backup.Miller needs to prove something quick.2 years in the AHL,and still hasn't supplanted a spot.He isn't exactly that young anymore.He's in his mid 20's now.
Every single "point" you make here is completely unsubstantiated.

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04-08-2004, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielBriere48
There is no controversy.Marty is superior to Miller and Noronen by quite a margin.Noronen's upside is not high.He is 24 and is a backup.Miller needs to prove something quick.2 years in the AHL,and still hasn't supplanted a spot.He isn't exactly that young anymore.He's in his mid 20's now.
See, here is the problem. Neither goalie has had the chance to PROVE whether they are superior or not. 24 is still young for a goalie, very young. Miller is 23, a few years off from mid 20s. Biron spent 3 years in the minors as well before supplanted Roloson as the backup. My biggest complaint with Ruff as a coach is how he has handled this whole goalie situation. It seems Biron gets 2 to 3 chances to redeem every mistake while Noronen will not really be given a shot to do much other than get 3 or 4 straight starts when Marty has been struggling only to lose the job. Miller was shelled this year with every start. His oppurtunities to start have all fallen on nights where Buffalo just doesn't want to show up.

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04-09-2004, 09:38 AM
  #14
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My opinion on the goalie situation is to trade Norenen and ? to get a vetran back-up then let Miller play in the Minor's for the whole season.

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04-09-2004, 10:24 AM
  #15
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The goalie controversy, at least where it concerns Biron, so far comes down to the following:

Pro Biron: He has done a good job with the team he has playing in front of him

Anti-Biron: He has not been able to get the team to the playoffs, is inconsistent, not a #1 goaltender.

When you look at the goaltenders that have played in 170 games since the 99/00 season (basically since Biron has been a regular in the NHL), Biron compares very favorably with the best...

By GAA...
Name Games GAA SV%
Cechmanek 212 2.08 0.919
Brodeur 365 2.15 0.911
Roy 251 2.15 0.918
Hasek 181 2.16 0.917
Belfour 306 2.30 0.912
Lalime 283 2.32 0.908
Nabokov 258 2.34 0.915
Turco 273 2.34 0.906
Khabibulin 192 2.39 0.914
Gigure 214 2.40 0.917
Burke 233 2.40 0.918
Joseph 274 2.41 0.903
Theodore 280 2.41 0.918
Biron 237 2.42 0.912
Salo 326 2.44 0.906
Fernandez 182 2.47 0.913
Vokoun 241 2.47 0.910
Osgood 284 2.52 0.905
Kolzig 345 2.55 0.911
Irbe 247 2.56 0.901
Tugnut 190 2.56 0.906
Potvin 255 2.58 0.901
Thibault 269 2.62 0.905
Brathwaite 186 2.63 0.902
Cloutier 271 2.64 0.901
Luongo 266 2.64 0.920
Boucher 188 2.65 0.901
Dunham 273 2.66 0.909
Snow 174 2.68 0.905
Shields 173 2.68 0.905
Dafoe 185 2.69 0.897
Weekes 237 2.78 0.907
Denis 240 2.92 0.907


By SV%...
Name GAA SV%
Luongo 2.64 0.920
Cechmanek 2.08 0.919
Roy 2.15 0.918
Burke 2.40 0.918
Theodore 2.41 0.918
Hasek 2.16 0.917
Gigure 2.40 0.917
Nabokov 2.34 0.915
Khabibulin 2.39 0.914
Fernandez 2.47 0.913
Belfour 2.30 0.912
Biron 2.42 0.912
Kolzig 2.55 0.911
Brodeur 2.15 0.911
Vokoun 2.47 0.910
Dunham 2.66 0.909
Lalime 2.32 0.908
Weekes 2.78 0.907
Denis 2.92 0.907
Turco 2.34 0.906
Salo 2.44 0.906
Tugnut 2.56 0.906
Osgood 2.52 0.905
Thibault 2.62 0.905
Snow 2.68 0.905
Shields 2.68 0.905
Joseph 2.41 0.903
Brathwaite 2.63 0.902
Irbe 2.56 0.901
Cloutier 2.64 0.901
Potvin 2.58 0.901
Boucher 2.65 0.901
Dafoe 2.69 0.897

So, of the 34 goaltenders that have played in over 170 games over the past 5 seasons, Biron is 14th in GAA and 12th in SV%.

Some will say that this proves he is not a top 10 goaltender. But if you look at who is a ahead of him in both catagories, you have the following...

1. Cechmanek 33 y.o. (Philly/LA)
2. Roy (Retired)
3. Hasek (Retired)
4. Belfour 38 y.o. (Dallas/Toronto)
5. Nabokov 28 y.o. (S.J.)
6. Khabibulin 31 y.o. (Tampa Bay)
7. Gigure 26 y.o. (Calgary/Anahiem)
8. Burke 37 y.o. (Phoenix/Philly)
9. Theodore 27 y.o. (Montreal)
10. Biron 26 y.o. (Buffalo)

So Biron is not anywhere near as bad as some have been making him out to be. Considering Roy and Hasek are retired, and Belfour and Burke are probably close to retiring, Biron is right up there with the other young goaltenders everyone wants to replace him with.

Buffalo not making the playoffs in the past 3 years has more to do with the team in general than the play of Biron. He is doing is job reasonably well and has done it consistently over the past 5 years...

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04-09-2004, 10:34 AM
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This is a fatal flaw in the pro-Biron argument. He puts up some very nice statistic but that doesn't mean he's a Top 10 goalie (which is beginning to sound like some short of buzz term, what does that mean anyway?). But look who's at the top of that list: Roman Cechmanek. Statistically speaking he's a Hall of Famer to be but I would never want him playing goal for the Sabres. You can't trust him, you have no idea what you're getting out of him game to game. There are very few starting goalies in the NHL I'd rather take Cechmanek over so I frankly don't care about the stats that much.

I don't trust Biron and he's giving me no reason to believe otherwise.

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04-09-2004, 10:37 AM
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruckus007
This is a fatal flaw in the pro-Biron argument. He puts up some very nice statistic but that doesn't mean he's a Top 10 goalie (which is beginning to sound like some short of buzz term, what does that mean anyway?). But look who's at the top of that list: Roman Cechmanek. Statistically speaking he's a Hall of Famer to be but I would never want him playing goal for the Sabres. You can't trust him, you have no idea what you're getting out of him game to game. There are very few starting goalies in the NHL I'd rather take Cechmanek over so I frankly don't care about the stats that much.

I don't trust Biron and he's giving me no reason to believe otherwise.
And I don't trust Noronen to carry the team. He puts up good numbers at times, but then disappears worse than Biron...

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04-09-2004, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djhn579
And I don't trust Noronen to carry the team. He puts up good numbers at times, but then disappears worse than Biron...

Fine, but that's an argument independent of claiming Biron is a viable #1 goalie.

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04-09-2004, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruckus007
Fine, but that's an argument independent of claiming Biron is a viable #1 goalie.
Unfortunately, everyone wants to keep pointing to other goaltenders who are "statistically" superior (for one season, maybe two), or have the magical "breakout" season (just to going back to their previous level of play), or they have awards (for one good season), or they are younger, or haven't played the magic number of games where no further development is possible...

Statistically, Biron is right up there with the best. If he had a better team around him, we would be in the playoffs. No goaltender, regardless of how good he is, can do it alone.

Maybe that's why they call hockey a TEAM sport...

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04-09-2004, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djhn579
Unfortunately, everyone wants to keep pointing to other goaltenders who are "statistically" superior (for one season, maybe two), or have the magical "breakout" season (just to going back to their previous level of play), or they have awards (for one good season), or they are younger, or haven't played the magic number of games where no further development is possible...

Statistically, Biron is right up there with the best. If he had a better team around him, we would be in the playoffs. No goaltender, regardless of how good he is, can do it alone.

Maybe that's why they call hockey a TEAM sport...

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04-09-2004, 11:35 AM
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djhn579
Unfortunately, everyone wants to keep pointing to other goaltenders who are "statistically" superior (for one season, maybe two), or have the magical "breakout" season (just to going back to their previous level of play), or they have awards (for one good season), or they are younger, or haven't played the magic number of games where no further development is possible...

Statistically, Biron is right up there with the best. If he had a better team around him, we would be in the playoffs. No goaltender, regardless of how good he is, can do it alone.

Maybe that's why they call hockey a TEAM sport...
ENCORE, ENCORE!!

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04-09-2004, 11:45 AM
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdoak
See, here is the problem. Neither goalie has had the chance to PROVE whether they are superior or not. 24 is still young for a goalie, very young. Miller is 23, a few years off from mid 20s. Biron spent 3 years in the minors as well before supplanted Roloson as the backup. My biggest complaint with Ruff as a coach is how he has handled this whole goalie situation. It seems Biron gets 2 to 3 chances to redeem every mistake while Noronen will not really be given a shot to do much other than get 3 or 4 straight starts when Marty has been struggling only to lose the job. Miller was shelled this year with every start. His oppurtunities to start have all fallen on nights where Buffalo just doesn't want to show up.

20-23=Early 20's
24-26=Mid 20's
27-29=Late 20's

Ok,so he is just in his mid 20's.Biron had to wait 6 years to become the starter...the #1 goalie at the time was Dominik Hasek.Biron isn't no Hasek, and it shouldn't take Noronen 3 years to supplant Biron if Noronen is superior.Lindy wants to win and will play whatever goalie he thinks will win.Biron is a proven starter who can win 25-30 games year in and year out on a 9-10 place team.If this team improves defensively,Biron could easily win 35-40 games.Biron has an impressive W-L record,compared to Noronen's (ugh) and Millers (ack)

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04-09-2004, 12:02 PM
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djhn579
Unfortunately, everyone wants to keep pointing to other goaltenders who are "statistically" superior (for one season, maybe two), or have the magical "breakout" season (just to going back to their previous level of play), or they have awards (for one good season), or they are younger, or haven't played the magic number of games where no further development is possible...

Statistically, Biron is right up there with the best. If he had a better team around him, we would be in the playoffs. No goaltender, regardless of how good he is, can do it alone.
Maybe that's why they call hockey a TEAM sport...
Well... there was one who did it for a while...

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04-09-2004, 12:09 PM
  #24
Blind Gardien
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nexus of the crisis
 
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I don't think the Sabres need to, or are ready to, make the decision yet.

Basically, you just have to sit tight and see what comes up. Nobody is going to offer you anything for Ryan Miller or Mika Noronen, no matter how good they are, because there is just no shortage of cheap young goalies coming up all around the league. And if you can't get anything for them, just hold onto them. None of them have proven themselves conclusively, judging by the variety of opinions expressed in this thread. There's no hurry. The off-season isn't the time to get an ideal return on a goalie.

Who knows... maybe somebody gets hurt waterskiing during the lockout, or somebody gets injured in training camp, and somebody else steps in and steals the job conclusively, etc. The debate can rage on for another year or two, basically until Miller's waiver exemption runs out or until somebody steps up and seizes the job by the throat.

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04-09-2004, 02:24 PM
  #25
Ruckus007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djhn579
Unfortunately, everyone wants to keep pointing to other goaltenders who are "statistically" superior (for one season, maybe two), or have the magical "breakout" season (just to going back to their previous level of play), or they have awards (for one good season), or they are younger, or haven't played the magic number of games where no further development is possible...

Statistically, Biron is right up there with the best. If he had a better team around him, we would be in the playoffs. No goaltender, regardless of how good he is, can do it alone.

Maybe that's why they call hockey a TEAM sport...
They were good enough to make the playoffs in 01-02 and 03-04 and didn't. Biron isn't the only reason the Sabres missed the playoffs in those years but he certainly is one. You're the one who brought up who was statistically superior and who wasn't, now you're criticizing your own argument?


Hockey is a team sport but the goaltender position is the one spot in maybe all of sports where one man can truly make a difference. Noronen has won games when he was the only player in a Sabre uniform to bother to show up. I've seen it live with my bare eyes. Miller's done it too in his short stint. Biron has done it rarely though to his credit he did it more this season than probably his entire career before combined. But over the last two seasons I have no probably in saying Noronen and Miller have stolen more points based on their play than Biron has (that's included points given up by bad play).

A lot of goalies can put up great statistics with great teams in front of them. That's why Cechmanek looks like a Hall of Famer. Put Biron on Philly or Vancouver he'll probably win 35 games with a 2.15ish GAA and .915ish save percentage. That doesn't make Martin Biron a great goalie and if you need to have a great team in front of you to succeed, then by my definition anyway, you are not a legitimate starting goalie in the NHL.

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