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...