Pens MVP thru two rounds?

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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby ExPatriatePen on Mon May 27, 2013 10:32 am

ScottishPenguin wrote:The concept of most valuable player is an odd one, I think it's unique to North American sport. If you look at European sports they talk in terms of best player or man of the match, but the MVP isn't necessarily the best player. Crosby has seven goals, but so does Dupuis, and Neal has 6. Malkin has 16 points but so does Letang and there are four other guys in double figures. Can you really pick one of them and say "this guy. This guy was the most valuable player, without him we'd be screwed"? There is only one player that sentence can be applied to; Tomas Vokoun.

Of course, this is often true of goalies. They rarely get the plaudits they deserve.

MVP is defined different ways by different people.
With all due respect, I've never been one who felt that MVP was a case of "without this player we'd be screwed", but rather which player adds the most value to the team. Which player makes the overall team that much better.

TV has done an outstanding job, for sure. But he did so by playing better than MAF, which is something a dozen or so backups in this league could have done. MAF didn't set the bar all that high with his final effort against the Isles.

While I appreciate the outstanding job TV is doing in net, he's not more valuable to this team (right now) than Crosby, he's not even more valuable than Martin (gasp... Did I just write that?)
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby Crankshaft on Mon May 27, 2013 10:35 am

It's hard to choose an MVP wish such a talented team. Everyone, sans Fleury, has contributed to the success.

However, there has been one person who has been consistently good despite the few "down" games during the Islanders series and that's the Captain - Sidney Crosby.
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby Staggy on Mon May 27, 2013 10:37 am

I look at the Conn Smythe the same way I do the Hart; "most valuable" is too subjective a term. I'd give it to the player playing the best, because he would have the most value if you added him to any team in the league. If you add Vokoun to most other playoff teams, it doesn't really change anything for them. You add Sid/Geno and that team is way better off. Right now I'd give my nod to Sid, with Geno/Martin/Letang right behind him.
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby Willie Kool on Mon May 27, 2013 10:41 am

ScottishPenguin wrote:the MVP isn't necessarily the best player. Crosby has seven goals, but so does Dupuis, and Neal has 6. Malkin has 16 points but so does Letang and there are four other guys in double figures. Can you really pick one of them and say "this guy. This guy was the most valuable player, without him we'd be screwed"? There is only one player that sentence can be applied to; Tomas Vokoun.

:thumb: This is exactly how I see it. It's not the NBA, where the highest scorer is the automatic MVP, it's about who is most valuable to their team. Whatever the reason, I think we can all agree that since TV took over, this team has played a much more focused, defensive, confident, complete game. A style of play that they, for whatever reason, never seem to be able to sustain in front of MAF. So, IMO, if they win the Cup, it will be because of Vokoun.
Last edited by Willie Kool on Mon May 27, 2013 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby IMFC on Mon May 27, 2013 10:41 am

shmenguin wrote:You could have replaced Vokoun with a bunch of different goalies from around the league and we'd be in the same place. It just so happened that the guy he replaced was on a run of historically bad playoff hockey.


Of the goalies available to us as backups - which of those could do what Vokoun is doing? For me, that's an argument for him.

On the other hand, the whole 'this guy's the mvp because the rest of the team plays better in front of him' is assinine. That actually says that the rest of team is as fragile as they say Fleury is.

I gotta go with Rascal. Effort, scoring, PK, all of it, he's been great.
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby Crankshaft on Mon May 27, 2013 10:49 am

Willie Kool wrote:
ScottishPenguin wrote:the MVP isn't necessarily the best player. Crosby has seven goals, but so does Dupuis, and Neal has 6. Malkin has 16 points but so does Letang and there are four other guys in double figures. Can you really pick one of them and say "this guy. This guy was the most valuable player, without him we'd be screwed"? There is only one player that sentence can be applied to; Tomas Vokoun.

:thumb: This is exactly how I see it. It's not the NBA, where the highest scorer is the automatic MVP, it's about who is most valuable to their team. Whatever the reason, I think we can all agree that since TV took over, this team has played a much more focused, defensive, confident, complete game. A style of play that they, for whatever reason, never seem to be able to sustain in front of MAF. So, IMO, if they win the Cup, it will be because of Vokoun.


I do not mean to take anything away from Vokoun with this comment, but I think the act of switching goalies moreso than Vokoun himself caused this team to play a more focused, defensive and confident game.

Kudos to Shero for knowing his team and players well enough to spend the extra money and invest in a worthwhile backup goaltender.
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby Willie Kool on Mon May 27, 2013 10:59 am

IMFC wrote:On the other hand, the whole 'this guy's the mvp because the rest of the team plays better in front of him' is assinine. That actually says that the rest of team is as fragile as they say Fleury is.

Crankshaft wrote:I do not mean to take anything away from Vokoun with this comment, but I think the act of switching goalies moreso than Vokoun himself caused this team to play a more focused, defensive and confident game.

I think that maybe TV is the 'veteran leader who never won, is HUNGRY for the Cup, and isn't afraid to speak his mind' that this team has been needing. And that the fact that he was only recently called upon to clean up MAF's mess gave him a fresh opportunity to seize and embrace that role.
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby Crankshaft on Mon May 27, 2013 11:06 am

Willie Kool wrote:I think that maybe TV is the 'veteran leader who never won, is HUNGRY for the Cup, and isn't afraid to speak his mind' that this team has been needing. And that the fact that he was only recently called upon to clean up MAF's mess gave him a fresh opportunity to seize and embrace that role.


That's cool if you want to look at it like that. There really is no empirical evidence that is what is happening because no one here has insight into the locker room.

That's why I'm choosing Crosby. He never takes a shift off. He's producing. He won game 2 vs Ottawa.
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby burghsportsguys on Mon May 27, 2013 11:17 am

malkinshair wrote: :roll:

It's not being a 'Fleury apologist'...it's being able to evaluate the entire team performance. If Fleury is still in net in game 5, and the team comes out and plays the exact same game in front of him, we still win game 5. Can we at least agree on that? So we go to game six...where Vokoun was not super sharp...but neither was the team. The Isles controlled most of that game from pretty much the start. Vokoun let in 3...2 of which were meh if I remember correctly. He also made a couple huge saves. He was also the beneficiary of one horrible miss by Moulson that puts that game away for the Isles. It's not like he came in and we won 2-1 or 1-0...our offensive was still scraping out 3 or 4 goals while being severely outplayed at times.

I'm not sure I agree on Game 5. The Pens survived period one of game 5, with Vokoun making some very key saves. It was 0-0 after the first period and the Pens weren't great in that first period. Once TK got them on the board in the 2nd period, they sparked and took the game over. The way MAF was playing, if the Isles net one or two in the first period, the offensive outburst may never happen. So you are remembering a dominant game 5 performance based on the final score, but forgetting the ROCK SOLID first period by Vokoun that allowed the team to settle in.

In game 6, there's no question that the 2013 playoff Fleury loses that game. You can talk about if Moulson scored, but he didn't, Vokoun made other huge saves, and the Pens closed it out.

malkinshair wrote:To a man, the team has said that they let Fleury down, not the other way around. Vokoun has been great, but he's had great play in front of him. Crosby is untouchable right now. Malkin is heating up...as is Neal. Letang is becoming a dominant 2-way d-man. Martin is shutting everything down. The team's breakouts have improved dramatically since Bylsma started having the forwards come back lower in the D zone. These all make Vokoun's job easier. He's been solid, something that I'll admit Fleury was not, but he's not the MVP.

I'm not even going to get into the "team said they let him down" - bottom line, these are upstanding guys, they wouldn't throw their goalie under the bus, no matter how awful he played.

IMO, Vokoun is the MVP right now, because he stabilized a team that was about to be bounced from the playoffs by an inferior team for the 3rd time in four years due to poor goaltending. As I said, as the playoffs move on, we likely see Sid and/or Geno take that over.

The entire team is playing great hockey right now. James Neal has had exactly two good games in the playoffs and even he got a mention in this thread. It's difficult to single out one guy right now. It's clear that Vokoun provided the biggest improvement at a time when they needed it the most from the most important position on the team.
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby tfrizz on Mon May 27, 2013 11:28 am

burghsportsguys wrote:In game 6, there's no question that the 2013 playoff Fleury loses that game. You can talk about if Moulson scored, but he didn't, Vokoun made other huge saves, and the Pens closed it out.


And yet you say that Fleury would've lost the game with absolutely certainty - but he didn't play, so we will never know if he would've lost it or won it. There's absolutely no way you can declare that Fleury definitely would've lost a game he didn't play, just like there's absolutely no way you could declare that he'd win a game he didn't play. That applies to any athlete who may or may not play a given game, but perhaps is even stronger with Fleury given that inconsistency is the definition of his goaltending.
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby burghsportsguys on Mon May 27, 2013 11:37 am

tfrizz wrote:
burghsportsguys wrote:In game 6, there's no question that the 2013 playoff Fleury loses that game. You can talk about if Moulson scored, but he didn't, Vokoun made other huge saves, and the Pens closed it out.


And yet you say that Fleury would've lost the game with absolutely certainty - but he didn't play, so we will never know if he would've lost it or won it. There's absolutely no way you can declare that Fleury definitely would've lost a game he didn't play, just like there's absolutely no way you could declare that he'd win a game he didn't play. That applies to any athlete who may or may not play a given game, but perhaps is even stronger with Fleury given that inconsistency is the definition of his goaltending.


Fair, but there's a reason that I said "2013 playoff Fleury". 2013 regular season Fleury wins that game. Which guy would have shown up? It's a risk they couldn't take, because we've seen the ending before (in 2010 and 2012) when Fleury is playing poorly. In game 5 and game 6, Vokoun made key saves that Fleury wasn't making, that's the bottom line.

Game 5 wasn't this domination as some are selectively remembering. Go back and watch the first period and tell me if you are confident that Fleury would have kept it 0-0 until TK scored in the 2nd period.

There was a comment made that "Sid won game 3" against the Sens. Sure, but he also won game 2 against the Isles, except that the Pens lost due to bad team defense and goaltending blunders.
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby tfrizz on Mon May 27, 2013 11:55 am

burghsportsguys wrote:
tfrizz wrote:
burghsportsguys wrote:In game 6, there's no question that the 2013 playoff Fleury loses that game. You can talk about if Moulson scored, but he didn't, Vokoun made other huge saves, and the Pens closed it out.


And yet you say that Fleury would've lost the game with absolutely certainty - but he didn't play, so we will never know if he would've lost it or won it. There's absolutely no way you can declare that Fleury definitely would've lost a game he didn't play, just like there's absolutely no way you could declare that he'd win a game he didn't play. That applies to any athlete who may or may not play a given game, but perhaps is even stronger with Fleury given that inconsistency is the definition of his goaltending.


Fair, but there's a reason that I said "2013 playoff Fleury". 2013 regular season Fleury wins that game. Which guy would have shown up? It's a risk they couldn't take, because we've seen the ending before (in 2010 and 2012) when Fleury is playing poorly. In game 5 and game 6, Vokoun made key saves that Fleury wasn't making, that's the bottom line.

Game 5 wasn't this domination as some are selectively remembering. Go back and watch the first period and tell me if you are confident that Fleury would have kept it 0-0 until TK scored in the 2nd period.

There was a comment made that "Sid won game 3" against the Sens. Sure, but he also won game 2 against the Isles, except that the Pens lost due to bad team defense and goaltending blunders.


I'd be reasonably confident in Fleury during the 1st period. Only a small portion of the goals he gave up came in the 1st, and none of them were bad - it just seemed to go all downhill after that, despite the strong starts.
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby sniper on Mon May 27, 2013 12:01 pm

Vokoun has won the Penguins 1 game this post season. One game of 11. That game may have been the most important win of the post season, but it's still just one game. And for everyone posting his stats of 6-1 with whatever GAA and SV%. He just played 5 games against the 4th lowest scoring team in the league and the lowest scoring team to make the post season. They scored 2.33 goals per game. In this series they scored 2.2 goals per game. Not much of a difference. Can anyone honestly say Vokoun played great in this series? He was average at best other than game 3. I thought he was below average in Games 2 and 4. Again even with Fleury's god awful save percentage in round one, had he played in every game of this series with that save percentage the Penguins still win the same games.

Vokoun has been good enough so far. He sure hasn't been MVP quality. His stats are inflated due to playing an awful offensive team. Maybe that will change in the next two rounds when he'll likely be tested far more. I think Thiesen could have won this series.

Vokoun has won them one game and been roughly average in the rest of the 6 he's played. I'm pretty sure guys like Crosby and Malkin can be argued to have won them more than that.
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby Henry Hank on Mon May 27, 2013 12:10 pm

More minimizing. Go look at Fleury's numbers in the 2010 playoffs against a couple pretty crappy offensive teams, especially Montreal. Nothing is a given in the playoffs. Vokoun's numbers speak for themselves. The Pens haven't gotten goaltending in the playoffs like this since 2008 or 2009. It's no coincidence that they haven't gotten this far in the playoffs since those years. Vokoun has been the difference.
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby the wicked child on Mon May 27, 2013 12:12 pm

As soon as Fleury gives up one bad/soft goal, his confidence seems to crumble and he is exponentially more likely to allow another. It is what it is with him at this point. He's unlikely to ever grow out of that at this point. The team is getting solid play out of Vokoun, and even when he allows a somewhat soft goal (such as the first of the Ottawa series), he is better able to recover from that. With the offensive power this team has, they need someone who will be solid, if unspectacular in net right now.

Vokoun has a lower ceiling, but a much higher floor. Perhaps the team will need Fleury again this post season, or maybe they will not. I won't be jumping the bridge if MAF has to come back in, but until we run into an opponent who is able to exploit Vokoun's weaknesses, there is no reason to even entertain a switch.

I don't know that I can make Vokoun the MVP throughout. He probably was the MVP of the first round because his play helped stabilize things enough to escape. It may be unfair to blame MAF for everything in games 2-4, but he certainly was a part of the problem. Vokoun was solid throughout the Ottawa series, and deserved the SO in Game 3, but **** happens. I can't really say he was the MVP of that series though when the team outscored them 2 to 1.

For the second round... I dunno. Crosby? Malkin? Neal? Dupuis? All up there. Each had games where they didn't really contribute though as well. Martin has been nice and solid. Hard to say Letang because he has had some great highs and some terrible lows. Martin has continued to be a solid force.

I think if the Pens go all the way, it will ultimately end up being Crosby or Malkin, likely whichever puts up the most points (right or wrong).
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby sniper on Mon May 27, 2013 12:18 pm

Ok Fleury has sucked in the playoffs the last few years. Vokoun has been average. You could replace him with any other average goalie in the league and they win this series. How does that make him the MVP? If Vokoun got hurt during game 3 against Ottawa and Thiesen came up and finished the series and they won the last two games by the same score is Vokoun still the MVP? He's playing average. He's played one great game. He's stealing them nothing. He hasn't had to and it's a good thing, because in all but 2 games he's just been ok.

Quick has been LA's MVP. It's easy to see. Every game is low scoring one goal games, where he can't mess up and if he does they lose. Vokoun gets 4+ goals support and has let in his fair share of softies. Switch goalies and LA loses in round 1. One guy is an MVP for his team the other is just doing enough to ensure a win.
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby Henry Hank on Mon May 27, 2013 12:37 pm

Again, I think the downplaying of Vokoun's performance is absurd. Ottawa didn't have much trouble scoring against Montreal in the first round. Vokoun's goals against versus them was still even lower than the meager output during the season. The Pens have picked up their team play since he's been in the lineup but nobody can convince me they've been playing anything resembling shutdown defense. They are still playing a a pretty up-tempo loose game that is prone to errors and breakdowns. Vokoun has minimized the bad goals and has consistently been coming up with big saves in key situations. He hasn't necessarily been stealing games and hasn't had to, but they doesn't mean he hasn't been excellent.

To minimize his performance and say that any average goalie could have won behind this offense is unfair. You could have replaced the Pens' offense with an average one and it should have been able to win the series with the goaltending they got. That argument goes both ways. What we know is that Vokoun is preventing goals unlike a Pens goalie has done in the playoffs in four or five years. That's been the difference between them losing in the first or second round and getting deep into the playoffs.
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby pcm on Mon May 27, 2013 12:41 pm

This team beat the bottom 2 seeds in the conference. There's a long road ahead yet. Looking back and declaring an MVP at this point seems ridiculous.
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby pcm on Mon May 27, 2013 12:53 pm

What we know is that Vokoun is preventing goals unlike a Pens goalie has done in the playoffs in four or five years. That's been the difference between them losing in the first or second round and getting deep into the playoffs.


Yes this is true. What's also true is that The Pens are playing solid playoff hockey for the first time since 2009. Vokoun deserves credit. He's doing his job. But to paraphrase mikey, a goalie is only as good as the team in front of him.

That's not to minimize Vokoun's contributions. But I think that making The Switch was more important to getting this team back on track than Vokoun's specific contributions. If they continued to play the same way they played in Game 4 against the Islanders, the Pens would be done right now.

Vokoun's got a stable verteran presence that works well with this team. I'm concerned that the Bruins are going to feast on him around the net. Here's what Burnside has to say:

Seems kind of churlish to be picking apart a goalie who has gone 6-1 and turned in a save percentage of .941, second only to Jonathan Quick in the playoffs, but talk to scouts and executives and they'll point to the goaltending as an area in which the Bruins will hold an advantage. And, to be sure, Tuukka Rask has been very good, allowing just 10 goals in five games in the second round. "Rask is way better but Pittsburgh is capable of going off on anyone," an Eastern Conference-based scout told ESPN.com. The feeling is that the veteran Vokoun, who has never been on an extended playoff run, gives up too many rebounds and could be vulnerable to an aggressive forechecking team like the Bruins. The 36-year-old acknowledged after the Penguins pushed aside the Senators in five games that he still feels like he's on a tryout and that he's not sure what would happen if he stumbled. Indeed, there remains significant debate on the length of Vokoun's leash, given the presence of former starter and Cup winner Marc-Andre Fleury biding his time at the end of the bench. The Bruins would like to bring that storyline into much sharper focus by getting to Vokoun early in the series.
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby burghsportsguys on Mon May 27, 2013 1:03 pm

pcm wrote:This team beat the bottom 2 seeds in the conference.

Chicago fans are praying that they can do the same.
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby Sarcastic on Mon May 27, 2013 1:05 pm

I'm going with Vokoun because he seems to have stabilized the entire team.
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby Crankshaft on Mon May 27, 2013 1:19 pm

Henry Hank wrote:Again, I think the downplaying of Vokoun's performance is absurd. Ottawa didn't have much trouble scoring against Montreal in the first round. Vokoun's goals against versus them was still even lower than the meager output during the season. The Pens have picked up their team play since he's been in the lineup but nobody can convince me they've been playing anything resembling shutdown defense. They are still playing a a pretty up-tempo loose game that is prone to errors and breakdowns. Vokoun has minimized the bad goals and has consistently been coming up with big saves in key situations. He hasn't necessarily been stealing games and hasn't had to, but they doesn't mean he hasn't been excellent.

To minimize his performance and say that any average goalie could have won behind this offense is unfair. You could have replaced the Pens' offense with an average one and it should have been able to win the series with the goaltending they got. That argument goes both ways. What we know is that Vokoun is preventing goals unlike a Pens goalie has done in the playoffs in four or five years. That's been the difference between them losing in the first or second round and getting deep into the playoffs.


Who exactly is downplaying Vokoun's performance? Are you arguing with everyone who chooses someone else other than Vokoun? You're having a heated discussion and I'm not so sure who you're having it with.
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby ScottishPenguin on Mon May 27, 2013 1:19 pm

sniper wrote:Ok Fleury has sucked in the playoffs the last few years. Vokoun has been average. You could replace him with any other average goalie in the league and they win this series. How does that make him the MVP?


You could replace any skater on this team with cardboard Orpik and we'd still be where we are...Vokoun has not been average. You can make a case for him not being MVP but to say his play has been average is demonstrably false.

If Vokoun got hurt during game 3 against Ottawa and Thiesen came up and finished the series and they won the last two games by the same score is Vokoun still the MVP?


If my dog wore a hat he'd be president of the Moon.

If Keven Veilleux was called up, played first line center and we won by the same scores should he be MVP?

Quick has been LA's MVP. It's easy to see. Every game is low scoring one goal games, where he can't mess up and if he does they lose. Vokoun gets 4+ goals support and has let in his fair share of softies. Switch goalies and LA loses in round 1. One guy is an MVP for his team the other is just doing enough to ensure a win.


So a goalie can only have a good game if the team in front of him fails to score? Reductio ad absurdum: If Vokoun had come in and posted seven consecutive shutouts, smashing a record that's stood for 80 years in the process, it wouldn't matter because the skaters were scoring 4 goals a game?

Just because some of the final scores have been lopsided doesn't mean Vokoun hasn't been playing under substantial pressure. He came in against the Isles to back up a team that was all over the place defensively, posted a shutout in his first game and got the team back on the rails. The Isles are defeated and now he finds himself squaring off against one of the best goalies in the world who is quite capable of single-handedly shutting down an all star team. But as it happens the Penguins did score a bucket of goals, so Vokoun's .941, 1.85 stats on a defensively uninspiring team are "average"?

Every game starts 0-0, you don't go in there and assume your team is going to score a bucket of goals. On average 45 minutes per game has been spent with a one goal lead or less.

I appreciate what you're saying, but I think you're severely undervaluing Vokoun's contribution thus far.
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby Getting To My Game on Mon May 27, 2013 3:13 pm

sniper wrote:Vokoun has been average.


1.85 GAA .941 Save%

What in God's name would be above-average or good? Honestly, does Vokoun have to pay off your mortgage for you to give him credit?
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Re: Pens MVP thru two rounds?

Postby Crankshaft on Mon May 27, 2013 3:43 pm

Getting To My Game wrote:
sniper wrote:Vokoun has been average.


1.85 GAA .941 Save%

What in God's name would be above-average or good? Honestly, does Vokoun have to pay off your mortgage for you to give him credit?


He'd have to pay off his own mortgage to get more credit. :)
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