Was looking at Plante's career and something caught my eye.
In 1971 Plante led the league in GAA by a healthy margin. However, the Vezina was given to the Rangers goaltending tandem of Giacomin and Villemure. I thought that maybe Plante's 40 games played weren't enough or something, but the guys who won it played 45 and 35 games apiece.
Unless there's something I don't know about the award, didn't it just go to the goalie/goalies with the lowest GAA in the league at that time (ie: it was what the Jennings is now)?
Plante played 26 of his 40 games at home that season. He also never faced the league-leading Bruins, and only 4 of his 40 games came against New York and Chicago, the next best regular season teams.
This usage pattern explains at least part of Plante's great numbers that season. Although I'm not sure how much that would affect SV%, it certainly helped his GAA and W%.
I'm sure it helped. I just wonder how much. A "normalization" on that season would be a good idea, as in, instead of playing this imbalanced schedule, what if he played 50/50 home and road, and an equal amount against all strengths of opponents?
It was such a dominant season that I imagine he'd still be the sv% leader, maybe just not by so much.
In his Montreal years. Plante was a vocal advocate of awarding the Vezina for personal average rather than team stats -- he didn't want to lose it just because Sawchuk or Bower had a better backup and Hall didn't need one. Odd, because Plante's stand-in, Charlie Hodge, never let him down.