Vokoun's recent play ...

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Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby dbizzle66 on Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:21 pm

.. has been stellar.

How much would you attribute to a better Vokoun vs. better team defense ? Earlier in the seasons he seemed to be "slumping" . Discuss ...
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby Rylan on Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:24 pm

Give and take. Great team defense allows to goalie to be better. The goalie plays better so the defense plays better.
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby slipshod on Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:47 pm

Team D is unquestionably better but as I said it in another thread Vokoun has been staying put in the crease a lot more. Earlier he was flying around and wound up way out of position. (against Philly where he was standing three feet outside of the crease looking back at the net over a pile of bodies several times during the game comes to mind) He is playing under control now.
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby The Snapshot on Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:50 pm

Rylan wrote:Give and take. Great team defense allows to goalie to be better. The goalie plays better so the defense plays better.


This. The D looks good on nights where the shot count is high. The goalie looks good when it's low. Either way, we win.
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby The Snapshot on Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:54 pm

slipshod wrote:Team D is unquestionably better but as I said it in another thread Vokoun has been staying put in the crease a lot more. Earlier he was flying around and wound up way out of position. (against Philly where he was standing three feet outside of the crease looking back at the net over a pile of bodies several times during the game comes to mind) He is playing under control now.


Agree, and this was the chicken or the egg argument I was having a lot on here when he and Fleury were both doing too much. When the goalie stinks, the D gets even more desperate. Desperate D gets out of position instead of letting it come to them. Orpik is a perfect example in a single sweater. When he tries too hard, he is terrible.

I never disagreed that the D could have been better.

It's all the circle of D.

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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby tfrizz on Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:04 pm

Fleury's "return to form" shows that team defense has improved tremendously, but you don't have a turn-around like Vokoun's without personal improvement as well.
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby The Snapshot on Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:30 pm

tfrizz wrote:Fleury's "return to form" shows that team defense has improved tremendously, but you don't have a turn-around like Vokoun's without personal improvement as well.


I'm not sure what side I am on, but Fleury was just as bad as Vokoun. Maybe worse, because he was playing more and consistently was all over the ice and giving up rebounds on easy shots - if they weren't beating him initially.
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby mikey287 on Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:43 pm

The best goalies play for the best defensive teams. The worst goalies play for the worst defensive teams.

We had bad goalies when we played bad defense, now we have great goalies because we play great defense.

With the Ottawa goalies, the Blues goalies, here in Pittsburgh now, people are starting to finally piece this together now. Goalie is the least important position on the ice today.
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby lemieuxReturns on Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:56 pm

mikey287 wrote:Goalie is the least important position on the ice today.


Then why are we paying 7 million total this year for two of them?
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby mikey287 on Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:17 pm

Because you want your goalies not to have a negative impact on the team. You strive for neutral. Fleury gives you the opportunity for positive (i.e., he can "steal" a game) but with that, you get a higher chance for negative...as we have seen.
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby MRandall25 on Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:19 pm

lemieuxReturns wrote:
mikey287 wrote:Goalie is the least important position on the ice today.


Then why are we paying 7 million total this year for two of them?


Because starting goalies are a premium in the NHL.
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby The Snapshot on Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:31 am

mikey287 wrote:The best goalies play for the best defensive teams. The worst goalies play for the worst defensive teams.

We had bad goalies when we played bad defense, now we have great goalies because we play great defense.

With the Ottawa goalies, the Blues goalies, here in Pittsburgh now, people are starting to finally piece this together now. Goalie is the least important position on the ice today.


I disagree with this almost completely. Goalie was the most important piece of our early elimination in three consecutive Playoff ousters. We clearly outplayed the first two teams, and our goalie was worse than another marginal goalie in the third.

The best defensive teams are successful because their goalies make the saves they should and some of the ones they shouldn't. Nashville is a good defensive team in structure, but they regularly give up glorious chances and have them erased by Rinne. Ottawa's goalies have made all of the saves. To consistently win with a defensive posture you have to count on your goalie to make the save.

St. Louis has good defensive structure but struggled early in the season because their goalies were not making the saves. Jacques Lemaire struggled in Minnesota because his goaltender could never stay healthy and he couldn't get the saves from the backup.

I don't see how anyone can say that goaltender isn't the most important position. They may still fit somewhere in the middle of the salary structure because chicks dig goals, but there is no way you win in the playoffs with average goaltending. LA got stellar goaltending last year from Quick. Niemi was very good for Chicago in their Cup run, and I am convinced they will regret having Crawford and Emery in net come playoffs.
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby Desiato on Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:34 am

The team has played very differently the past 11 games. As soon as they began to do so, the stats of the goalies improved.

Improved play from the goalies does not result in:
- fewer stretch passes
- skating the puck out of the defensive zone more often
- passing the puck back more often
- fewer turnovers
- deeper forechecking on offense with shots closer to the net
- etc

With success, we've seen improved confidence from everyone, resulting in stronger play.

On the flip side, poor defense and turnovers make goalies look bad. It's not about shots, it's about the quality and predictability of the scoring chances and how much the goalie is worked, both physically and mentally. A good defense combined with good scouting reduces the options available to the opposition's offense; what the opposition excels at is taken away as much as possible. When the Pens were getting scored on a lot, the constant scrambles from turnovers and broken neutral zone plays were exhausting everyone and allowing the opposition prime chances.

Not coincidentally, since the defense has improved, the offense has also been less productive.

Everyone has a different theory why, but what makes sense to me is that DB made significant changes to his system. It seems others tend to believe that the players do whatever the hell they want on the ice according to locker room speeches and on-ice leadership, but whatever. I think it's well documented that NHL teams have had strong scouting and tight systems for well over a decade. The days of the free-wheeling, improvising teams are long-gone.

This team has never lacked will. IMO, the issue was the system, and we're seeing the results of changes to that.
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby DontToewsMeBro on Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:36 am

There are obvious cases of good team defense masking otherwise unspectacular goaltending, but to say that the goalie is the least important position on the ice? Come on.
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby Scott on Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:50 am

his play was wasn't bad...it was horrible.

He seemed a bit confused at times locating the puck. He was turning his back to the play at times in such a mess.

His last several starts he has been razor sharp. What gets credit for that is probably himself. Whatever haze he was in he got out of it. :thumb:
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby neophool on Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:45 am

I think he gave up not-drinking for a while. Now he's back to drinking. Straight vodka.
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby DropEmJayBird on Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:49 am

To me - it's all team defense. Vokoun didn't give his guys a pep talk in the locker room to proclaim that he and Fluery are going to handle dump ins better. The team committed to playing better defense, and it shows in their goal scoring going the other direction. It's worth the trade off. The goalies are getting better looks, dealing with less traffic, having more shots blocked for them, and not having to worry about 10 turnovers in the neutral zone every game.

It's no coincidence they both started playing better at exactly the same point in time.

There is less open ice in front for Vokoun to have to chase left to right it seems. He looks 60 years old when he has to quickly track someone behind the net. The past few games I think the penguins could have put cardboard orpik in net and gotten shut outs - the team is just playing that well.

And that last statement is why I agree with Mikey - when your team defense plays as well as this - it really doesn't matter who your goaltender is.
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby DropEmJayBird on Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:56 am

mikey287 wrote:The best goalies play for the best defensive teams. The worst goalies play for the worst defensive teams.

We had bad goalies when we played bad defense, now we have great goalies because we play great defense.

With the Ottawa goalies, the Blues goalies, here in Pittsburgh now, people are starting to finally piece this together now. Goalie is the least important position on the ice today.


Is it likely that Boston keeps pumping out goalies with awesome statistics? Or is it more likely that they have a 6'7 defenseman that can play 25-30 minutes a night and literally shut down the other teams best line on most nights?

Look at Montreal - compare Price this year to last... what has changed there? Did Price just get better, or is that team paying a hell of a lot more attention to defense? Goalies are most definitly a product of the team in front of them 95% of the time.

Goals given up from Vokoun's past 5 starts
1, 1 ,2, 0, 0

Fluery's
2, 1, 0, 1, 1, 0 (2 periods)

More than likely the team started playing a bit better rather than both goalies at the same time picking up their game.
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby pressure=9Pa on Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:03 am

I think what Mikey is saying is that it is the least important position at any given time, but he's not saying that the goalie is the least important individual. (Not trying to put words in anyone's mouth, so jump in if I'm wrong.)

I can buy that the goaltender is the least important position at any given time, but it's also a player that's on the ice about 59 minutes a game. Thus spending $7 million for a pair of good goaltenders can be justified, and is not mutually exclusive with thinking the position is the least important. I'd rather have a good defense with an average goaltender than vice-versa, but I'd rather have a good goaltender than one additional good defenseman.
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby mikey287 on Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:10 am

The Snapshot wrote:
mikey287 wrote:The best goalies play for the best defensive teams. The worst goalies play for the worst defensive teams.

We had bad goalies when we played bad defense, now we have great goalies because we play great defense.

With the Ottawa goalies, the Blues goalies, here in Pittsburgh now, people are starting to finally piece this together now. Goalie is the least important position on the ice today.


I disagree with this almost completely. Goalie was the most important piece of our early elimination in three consecutive Playoff ousters. We clearly outplayed the first two teams, and our goalie was worse than another marginal goalie in the third.

The best defensive teams are successful because their goalies make the saves they should and some of the ones they shouldn't. Nashville is a good defensive team in structure, but they regularly give up glorious chances and have them erased by Rinne. Ottawa's goalies have made all of the saves. To consistently win with a defensive posture you have to count on your goalie to make the save.

St. Louis has good defensive structure but struggled early in the season because their goalies were not making the saves. Jacques Lemaire struggled in Minnesota because his goaltender could never stay healthy and he couldn't get the saves from the backup.

I don't see how anyone can say that goaltender isn't the most important position. They may still fit somewhere in the middle of the salary structure because chicks dig goals, but there is no way you win in the playoffs with average goaltending. LA got stellar goaltending last year from Quick. Niemi was very good for Chicago in their Cup run, and I am convinced they will regret having Crawford and Emery in net come playoffs.


Most/all of your examples feature goaltenders having negative impacts on the game. That's what you want to prevent, that's how goalies can have an impact today. Negatively. You strive for neutral impact. What do you hear now, "yeah, our goalie made the saves he had to make" Right. Goaltender is all percentages now. It's difficult. because of the plateauing of goaltending talent, for a goalie to really consistently steal games and be a major positive impact in a team's success.

People didn't understand why I disliked Tim Thomas so much, but hopefully now after a couple years to digest how the game and position have changed, my stance becomes a little more reasonable. His lack of fundamentals and his inability to "make the saves he had to make" on a more consistent basis cost his team several games in the 2011 playoffs. He single-handedly lost some games...not the mark of a Conn Smythe winner in my opinion. Did he make some saves above and beyond the norm? Oh, most definitely. But a weak goal has more of an effect on a team than a great save, for sure.

You accurately note Jonathan Quick's performance in 2012. It was far superior to Thomas' 2011 for instance because Quick's ability to have a consistently neutral (or sometimes slightly better) impact on the game did not allow any series to get close. I struggle to think of a bad goal that he gave up really, there was maybe one or two. He had one game below the mark against New Jersey I think, but that was it. He just didn't allow a team to creep into games or into series. He didn't put his team consistently in danger of losing. While Thomas, Niemi, Osgood, etc. did. Niemi was quite bad in the Stanley Cup Finals but luckily he was out-badded by a minor league goaltender who also happened to play in those Finals.

We have a goalie in Marc-Andre Fleury that has the ability to go into "postiive" impact, he's stolen games for us. But, as we've seen, that can't be counted on. Thus, the adjustment to a more defensive game. I hope it hit home for fans that bash Marc-Andre Fleury but were excited for a "real goalie" like Tomas Vokoun to come in, the way the team played, Vokoun struggled mightily and much worse than Fleury. And it's not just the goals that he allowed...it's beyond that, it's what it does to a goaltender's game when you don't support him defensively.

For those that are familiar with Vokoun, some of the stuff he was doing this year was just plain "off" wasn't it? That's a product of the team in front of him, as weird as it sounds. When you're a goalie and you're playing for a porous team defensively, it creeps into your head quick. You know it. I've seen it at every level. You start to try to really feel that you have to do everything to give this team a chance.

Remember Fleury in his very early days and that defense we had? Fleury would try to be our third defenseman and block cross-crease passes himself and all that noise...as a result of his cheating/guessing, he was prone to giving up short-side goals. And fans would go, "oh come on! You gotta have that!" Well, look, he wants to have that but if he has that no one has his back backdoor and that's a goal too. When we finally started getting some defense and guys that would stop backdoor plays and stop this Eddie Olczyk no-coaching nonsense, Marc-Andre Fleury carried us to the 2008 SC Finals and then won it in 2009. Weird how that works.

So, yes, goalies can be the most important when they're playing poorly. For sure, they can make themselves noticeable. But goaltenders are better equated to defensive defensemen now, the old, "if you don't notice them, they're playing well" kinda deal. That's just the nature of it. That's where we're at with the development of the position, that's where we're at with coaching at every major level, that's where we're at with the equipment and all...the only real major difference between goalies today is the team they play for...
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby The Snapshot on Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:27 am

mikey287 wrote:
The Snapshot wrote:
mikey287 wrote:The best goalies play for the best defensive teams. The worst goalies play for the worst defensive teams.

We had bad goalies when we played bad defense, now we have great goalies because we play great defense.

With the Ottawa goalies, the Blues goalies, here in Pittsburgh now, people are starting to finally piece this together now. Goalie is the least important position on the ice today.


I disagree with this almost completely. Goalie was the most important piece of our early elimination in three consecutive Playoff ousters. We clearly outplayed the first two teams, and our goalie was worse than another marginal goalie in the third.

The best defensive teams are successful because their goalies make the saves they should and some of the ones they shouldn't. Nashville is a good defensive team in structure, but they regularly give up glorious chances and have them erased by Rinne. Ottawa's goalies have made all of the saves. To consistently win with a defensive posture you have to count on your goalie to make the save.

St. Louis has good defensive structure but struggled early in the season because their goalies were not making the saves. Jacques Lemaire struggled in Minnesota because his goaltender could never stay healthy and he couldn't get the saves from the backup.

I don't see how anyone can say that goaltender isn't the most important position. They may still fit somewhere in the middle of the salary structure because chicks dig goals, but there is no way you win in the playoffs with average goaltending. LA got stellar goaltending last year from Quick. Niemi was very good for Chicago in their Cup run, and I am convinced they will regret having Crawford and Emery in net come playoffs.


Most/all of your examples feature goaltenders having negative impacts on the game. That's what you want to prevent, that's how goalies can have an impact today. Negatively. You strive for neutral impact. What do you hear now, "yeah, our goalie made the saves he had to make" Right. Goaltender is all percentages now. It's difficult. because of the plateauing of goaltending talent, for a goalie to really consistently steal games and be a major positive impact in a team's success.

People didn't understand why I disliked Tim Thomas so much, but hopefully now after a couple years to digest how the game and position have changed, my stance becomes a little more reasonable. His lack of fundamentals and his inability to "make the saves he had to make" on a more consistent basis cost his team several games in the 2011 playoffs. He single-handedly lost some games...not the mark of a Conn Smythe winner in my opinion. Did he make some saves above and beyond the norm? Oh, most definitely. But a weak goal has more of an effect on a team than a great save, for sure.

You accurately note Jonathan Quick's performance in 2012. It was far superior to Thomas' 2011 for instance because Quick's ability to have a consistently neutral (or sometimes slightly better) impact on the game did not allow any series to get close. I struggle to think of a bad goal that he gave up really, there was maybe one or two. He had one game below the mark against New Jersey I think, but that was it. He just didn't allow a team to creep into games or into series. He didn't put his team consistently in danger of losing. While Thomas, Niemi, Osgood, etc. did. Niemi was quite bad in the Stanley Cup Finals but luckily he was out-badded by a minor league goaltender who also happened to play in those Finals.

We have a goalie in Marc-Andre Fleury that has the ability to go into "postiive" impact, he's stolen games for us. But, as we've seen, that can't be counted on. Thus, the adjustment to a more defensive game. I hope it hit home for fans that bash Marc-Andre Fleury but were excited for a "real goalie" like Tomas Vokoun to come in, the way the team played, Vokoun struggled mightily and much worse than Fleury. And it's not just the goals that he allowed...it's beyond that, it's what it does to a goaltender's game when you don't support him defensively.

For those that are familiar with Vokoun, some of the stuff he was doing this year was just plain "off" wasn't it? That's a product of the team in front of him, as weird as it sounds. When you're a goalie and you're playing for a porous team defensively, it creeps into your head quick. You know it. I've seen it at every level. You start to try to really feel that you have to do everything to give this team a chance.

Remember Fleury in his very early days and that defense we had? Fleury would try to be our third defenseman and block cross-crease passes himself and all that noise...as a result of his cheating/guessing, he was prone to giving up short-side goals. And fans would go, "oh come on! You gotta have that!" Well, look, he wants to have that but if he has that no one has his back backdoor and that's a goal too. When we finally started getting some defense and guys that would stop backdoor plays and stop this Eddie Olczyk no-coaching nonsense, Marc-Andre Fleury carried us to the 2008 SC Finals and then won it in 2009. Weird how that works.

So, yes, goalies can be the most important when they're playing poorly. For sure, they can make themselves noticeable. But goaltenders are better equated to defensive defensemen now, the old, "if you don't notice them, they're playing well" kinda deal. That's just the nature of it. That's where we're at with the development of the position, that's where we're at with coaching at every major level, that's where we're at with the equipment and all...the only real major difference between goalies today is the team they play for...


So, presented this way I guess I agree with you. I view any position that is a "single point of failure" as critical. You are basically saying you need them to not fail for the D to be predictable. I agree with that. I just don't agree that the D could have been good with Fleury and Vokoun playing the way they were. If Vokoun is out of his crease looking backward at the goal, I don't see how the D can prevent the goal.

I still see the lack of commitment to a system, any system of D, as a symptom of the disease of the goalie not making the saves that they should.
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby llipgh2 on Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:33 am

Voukon getting the start tonight.

I expected that. He'll (HCDB) will put Fleury in on the road tomorrow night in NYC.
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby Pitts on Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:41 am

llipgh2 wrote:Voukon getting the start tonight.

I expected that. He'll (HCDB) will put Fleury in on the road tomorrow night in NYC.

Vokoun should play as long as his shutout streak is alive. You don't "not start him" because of some invisible goalie rotation schedule. This shutout streak is his to lose.

To answer the OP: I think it is a bit of both. I think it took some time for Vokoun to settle in and get comfortable with the team, system and fans. But, at the same time, the team altered their system/play to become a much better defensive team in front of both the goalies. Better defensive play makes the goalie's job easier.
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby lemieuxReturns on Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:46 am

llipgh2 wrote:Voukon getting the start tonight.


Awesome! Thanks for the news on the most worthless position in hockey.
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Re: Vokoun's recent play ...

Postby llipgh2 on Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:53 am

Pitts wrote:
llipgh2 wrote:Voukon getting the start tonight.

I expected that. He'll (HCDB) will put Fleury in on the road tomorrow night in NYC.

Vokoun should play as long as his shutout streak is alive. You don't "not start him" because of some invisible goalie rotation schedule. This shutout streak is his to lose.


I doubt HCDB will play him back to back, streak or not. He just doesn't seem to be of that mindset.
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