Pavel Bure wrote: mikey287 wrote:
DropEmJayBird wrote:Well in terms of shoddy goaltending - compared to today - it was shoddy. I'm sure some of that was equipment weight, and having a puck hurt if you took it off the body all day long, but still I mean if you spend 4 hours today watching youtubes of those games - the goals are laughable by today's standards.
I guess it's not a fair comparison though. Like comparing the 205 pound linebackers of the 70's to today's 240 pound guys. Today's guys are bigger/faster/stronger - but I think that's just because fitness is taken a bit more seriously today.
The best goaltending of the 80's is better than the best goaltending today.
Is that because systems can and do make goalies today?
Goaltending before the proliferation of the butterfly asked that goaltending rely on reflex and anticipation. Today, goalies rely on percentages. That's what they're told growing up, that's what they practice even down at the mite level..."block the first shot" has replaced "make the save".
The goals that Gretzky and Lemieux scored may look weak (and some of them are...the 80's wasn't a sparkling time for goaltenders: I'd say Fuhr, Smith and Liut were the three best of the 80's as a whole and none of them are top-20 of all time...especially Liut who is in the top-50 somewhere perhaps, though I wonder if he doesn't have a better career if he's not perforated by the Soviets in the 1981 Canada Cup, he never could shake that 8-1 loss off...anyway, back at the ranch...)
The over-expansion of the league and the focus on crafting new offensive defensemen and the like caused a massive push towards offensive tactics (sans a couple teams really, notably the Capitals and Flyers of all teams). Goaltending didn't really develop all that well because there was a transition period where different styles came about and no one could really decide what was working and what wasn't. Esposito and the butterfly, Dryden as octopus man, Parent drew some attention as more of a stand-up goalie and he was completely unbeatable in 74 and 75, etc. etc. Not to mention to the success of some goalies on the international scene: the hybrid Vladislav Tretiak left many in awe and some consider him the best goalie of the era all together and meanwhile the flopping antics of Jiri Holecek in Czechoslovakia helped paved the way for some major upsets (though, I personally don't credit them directly to Holecek, that's another story...) and for Dominik Hasek who took a lot from Holecek's style which focused on vertical angles quite a bit.
Goaltending evolved and the best took to these different styles and made a name for themselves: Patrick Roy and his butterfly, Martin Brodeur's hybrid style and Dominik Hasek's reflex-based style that had a lot more purpose than people realize, he was in control a lot more than people think.
The next wave of expansion and the growth in coaching tactics (use of video, assistants, etc.) had a short-term spike in scoring (any time a league gets worse, scoring goes up generally), but long-term it meant for defensive tactics. The 1995 Devils also helped in this, as their upset of the Red Wings really struck a chord with the NHL community as a whole. As a result, defensive tactics became the norm. At that time, the goal was to prevent shots as that was simply the nature of the beast. "Prevent shots, prevent goals" sounds simple enough, right? Thus a lot of mimicking of the 1-2-2 which will see today, just slightly modified for the fact the red line has been removed.
Prevent shots, in my estimation, was a better mantra because goaltenders - while on the high end were better than those today - on the low-end, they were worse, far worse. Which is a lot of what younger people see (and even myself saw
when looking at highlights of 99 and 66 and the like) when looking back. People look at highlights of goals and comment on the bad goaltending. It's no wonder. Could there be a more obvious observation! A goalie gives up a goal on every shot in those highlights, of course they look bad!
Today, the fundamentals are better. The average goaltender today is better than the average goaltender in 1981. The proper fundamentals exist for almost all goalies today and therefore coaches can change the defensive mantra: "prevent shots,
prevent goals". You can allow an infinite amount of shots today from 50 feet, and they aren't going to go in. Oddly enough, one of the goalies that had the worst fundamentals in the game (Tim Thomas) was even successful, proving that anyone could do it in Boston (see: Tuukka Rask being the all-time leader in NHL save pct. currently). It was really only Thomas that could give up a 40 footer along the ice from Vincent Lecavalier. It was really only Thomas that could give up that 35 footer from the left wing boards to Alexandre Burrows early in the SCF. That's why I always had such beef, everyone said "look at the numbers" and I'm saying "they could have been better!" His lack of focus on fundamentals put the Bruins in serious jeopardy in those playoffs. Nearly ousting them in the first round.
Counter, the next season. Another very good defensive team in Los Angeles runs roughshod over the competition. Jonathan Quick, of fundamentally sound quality, doesn't allow any games to get close. It's been a long time since we've seen such a steamroll job by a team through a playoffs, fair to say? It's not the Kings defense was better, hell, they don't have a HHOF playing 30 minutes a night, they don't have a Selke winner patrolling the center of the rink. But no games ever got put into jeopardy by Quick, that's why his performance blows Thomas' out of the water. It blows Niemi's out of the water, it blows Osgood's out of the water, it blows Giguere's out of the water. And it was certainly better than Fleury's and Ward's Cup wins. He left no doubt.
The butterfly has flaws and they are covered by equipment now...one of the least sportsmanlke things I've seen in sport is allowed to transpire every night in rinks across the world...
- They drop down so up high is exposed. Solution: chest protector to the ears.
- Their five hole is exposed because the Allaire's do not teach proper stick mechanics. Solution: just add to the pads to cover the five hole
- The space between their arms and their body is susceptible because there's no catching of the puck, just blocking. Solution: Bigger jerseys to help catch pucks, plus additions to the cuff of the glove and to the blocker to prevent these slip throughs.
They literally just want to form a blocking wall. Instead of working on these weaknesses, they just put on more pads. They just band-aid and band-aid and protect and protect...I hope one day they get serious about reducing goalie equipment. I don't wanna anyone to get hurt, they don't have to go out there in a t-shirt and a pair of Craig Ludwig's shin guards, but with all the technological advances we've made in equipment, I find it impossible to believe that goalies need to protect the area above their shoulders in order to not feel pain...these aren't chest protectors, they're net protectors. It's garbage.
And when I'm around youth teams, I can't even say anything because they have goalie coaches that are telling them this stuff. "Just make yourself big...don't worry so much about the rebound" So, because there's a rebound that's just dangling out there, I have to adjust my tactics to collapsing back to the net, and you get defensive hockey because everyone has to come back because the goalie can't do his job correctly.
Sometimes I just want to yell, "stand up! show that you know where the shot is going! stop taking the easy way out...make yourself better long term for the cost of some goals now...please..."
Goaltender used to be the most important position on the ice...remember that? It is by far the least important today...by far. And it's not even remotely close either. On behalf of the coach's union, save pct. should be a coaching stat, not a goalie stat.