Monday, July 9, 2007

Grant Fuhr's Big Saves - Fact or Fiction?

Myth: With Grant Fuhr making the big saves in crucial situations, the 1980s Edmonton Oilers won a lot of 5-4 and 6-5 games.

Truth: The Oilers rarely played in 5-4 or 6-5 games, and even when they did they were just as likely to lose as to win.

In the popular memory, Grant Fuhr was a goalie that bore down in the final moments of the game, shutting the door on the opposition to preserve 6-5 shootout wins for the Oilers. Unfortunately, this perception doesn't match the historical record. From 1982 to 1989, the Edmonton Oilers won a playoff game 5-4 a total of only four times, and two times they ended up on the wrong end of the 5-4 score. They won 6-5 just twice while losing three times by the same result.

Edmonton did have a very good playoff record in one goal games (26-9). That was partly because they were very good in overtime, going 9-3. It is easy to attribute a strong overtime record to the goalie, but these are Gretzky's Oilers we are talking about, and they tended to score goals quickly. Five of the 12 overtime games were decided before the teams even played 65 seconds of OT. Only four of them went longer than the 4 minute mark. Despite the impressive record, Edmonton's goalies (mostly Fuhr) had a mediocre 4.00 GAA in overtime, nearly a goal higher than their GAA in the first 60 minutes. Edmonton did well in one-goal games, but only about a quarter of their games were decided by one goal because they so often blew out their opponents. Edmonton also did very well in games decided by two goals or more (58-21).

I looked at Grant Fuhr's regular season results from 1985-86 to 1988-89 on hockeygoalies.org to try to see if they matched the playoff numbers. In games decided by 5-4 scores, the Oilers had 6 wins and 5 losses. In 6-5 games, the Oilers won twice and lost four times. I also checked out the results for 6-4 and 7-5 games just to see if I was missing something, but in those games combined the Oilers had 7 wins and 5 losses. The Oilers again had a good one-goal game record (34-21), but it was actually worse (.618) than their record in games decided by 2 goals or more (.640).

Out of Fuhr's 483 regular season and playoff games in the 1980s with Edmonton, he won only 14 of them by 5-4 or 6-5 scores, and 11 of those wins came in overtime, where Edmonton won a lot of games because their offence was so quick to score. Fuhr also lost 13 games by one of those two scores, mostly in regulation time, meaning that Edmonton wasn't really any more likely to win the close high-scoring shootouts than their opponents were.

There is some evidence that the Oilers won more games than they should have, both in the playoffs and in the regular season. From the Pythagorean expected win formula (based on goals scored and goals allowed), the Oilers would have been expected to have won 68.7% of their playoff games and 63.4% of their regular season games between 1982 and 1989. They actually won 73.7% of their playoff games and 66.6% of their regular season games. However, Edmonton platooned their goaltenders, using both Fuhr and Andy Moog. The two goalies had similar stats: Moog's GAA with Edmonton was 3.61, Fuhr's was 3.76 over the same time period. Moog also had a better winning percentage than Fuhr did with the same teams, in both the regular season and the playoffs.

So even if Fuhr was a clutch goalie, then so was Andy Moog, since Moog had better stats and a better winning percentage. What is more likely, however, that one team had two excellent, clutch goalies that led them to repeated Cups, or that the high-scoring Oilers dynasty made their goalies look like winners? Based on the evidence, the second option looks like a pretty safe bet.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

HAHA what are u on crack buddy. Andy moog was junk, he started in the playoffs before grant fuhr took over for edmonton. Why u think oilers never won a cup with andy moog in goal? Closest moog came was in 1983 where he led them in the playoffs to the finals and the oilers got swept by the isles in 4 games. The next year grant fuhr started oilers went back to the finals again and he outdueled billy smith 1-0 to change the whole complexion of that series and the oilers went on winning the first of 5 cups in 7 years.
Grant fuhr played in the most wide open era in nhl history on the most wide open team in nhl history. There was breakaways, two on ones three on ones ect in one game where most goalies today dont even see for 5 games. The man was apart of 5 stanly cups and lets not forget the 2 canada cups in 84 and especially the one in 87, dont those count for anything?
The era this guy played in nobody has a good gaa. Montreal canadians had probably the best d at that time with guys like robinson ect. and patrick roys rookie gaa was 3.35. Again nobody really had a good gaa back then. Fuhr should have had way more then 403 reg season in his career back then in the nhl majority of teams used 2 goalie system thats what limited his wins to what they were. He would constantly play 45-50 games a year until one season where moog was injured where he played 77. If you look at Roy's stats same thing in that time 45-40 games a year.
You cant compare era's because there so different to what it is now. I can say one thing when Fuhr was in his mid 30's approaching late 30's with the blues after 6 or 7 knee surgeries and few shoulder surgeries behind him, he was still putting up decent numbers in the nhl compared with other goalies around the league and he was well past his prime, I mean what if he was 10 years younger you dont think he would put up monsterous numbers like these other guys are? The greatest player ever to play the game even said at his hall of fame ceremony if he was to pick one goalie he would take grant fuhr.
And finally about your finally comment that it was the high scoring oilers that made him look good, it was fuhr's ability to allow oilers to play like that in the first place. Look at the playoff stats fuhr's gaa was almost a goal lower in the playoffs then reg season thats not clutch? And how many games were 8-6 compared to 3-2???????? And who won them those games? Wait let me guess the neutral zone trap new jersey style or the left wing lock that gretz and mess kurri anderson ect implemented? It was grant fuhr that won them the low scoring games that most of them were throughout the 80's.
Devil's comentator Chico resch said this about grant fuhr in an article. http://www2.nhl.com/intheslot/read/iceicons/roy/royfuhr.html
"Grant Fuhr is one of the most underappreciated goaltenders to ever play the game," said former netminder and current Devils' color analyst Chico Resch. "He played on an Oilers team that played a run-and-gun style. There would be two-on-ones, breakaways and three-on-ones and there were some stretches that nobody in the history of the game played better than Grant Fuhr. When he was at his height, there was not a better goalie. The same guy that watches martin broduer play game in game out.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

I'm sorry if I'm not convinced by your citing of Chico Resch, a guy who is completely fooled by team effects as shown by his constant praise for Brodeur. Claiming Fuhr is "one of the most underappreciated goaltenders to ever play" is absurd. The guy won one Vezina (probably undeserved) and only once finished second in Vezina voting, indicating that contemporary observers didn't think he was that special, yet today he is a Hall of Famer and is generally remembered as the best goalie of the 1980's. Why? His team won, and I think the main reason for that they are the only team in NHL history to score over 400 goals in a season, which they did five seasons in a row.

Sure, Fuhr played on the run-and-gun Oilers. I agree that made his job tougher, and yes it would be unfair to compare his GAA with a contemporary goalie and use that to call him worse. I have never made that argument. My focus was on the claim that Fuhr deserves a large portion of the credit for all the wins the Oilers racked up in the '80s.

On any given night, Fuhr might have faced more difficult chances than every goalie playing in every other game in the league, who knows. But in almost every game he played in, he had the easier job of the goalies involved. Fuhr's opposing goalie had to face even more breakaways and odd-man rushes, and on those chances he was facing Gretzky, Messier, Anderson, Coffey, and the rest of the members of the greatest offensive team the world has ever seen. The Oilers outshot and outchanced their opponents, and given that they also had better scorers, they obviously would be expected to score more goals. No matter how tough Fuhr's job was, the other goalie's job was far tougher. If Fuhr played only as well as the other goalie, the Oilers would have won almost every game. If the game was close, it wasn't because Fuhr was being clutch, it was because the other goalie was keeping his team in the game. Therefore, it is stupid to credit Grant Fuhr for those wins.

Moog finished ahead Fuhr in playoff GAA in 1984, 1985, and 1986, and finished ahead of him in regular season GAA in 1983, 1984, 1985, and 1986. The stats simply don't allow anyone to claim that Moog was junk yet Fuhr was one of the all-time greats. Moog's GAA went down in the playoffs as well, as does pretty much every goalie's, because the playoffs are more defensive. For example, during their dynasty the Oilers gave up about 3 shots less per game in the playoffs than they did in the regular season. Fewer chances equals fewer goals.

Parting shot:

Fuhr's record in Edmonton: 226-117-54, 5 Cups
Fuhr's record outside of Edmonton: 177-178-60, 0 Cups

Yup, the reason for the success must have been the goalie.

Anonymous said...

Again buddy i have to totally disagree with you. That team had no defense whatsoever maybe besides kevin lowe. The other players like randy gregg, steve smith(who cost them the cup in 86) charlie huddy these guys were so immobile they would get beat game in game out they were just plain awful at times. Your comment saying moog had better gaa who cares he had his opportunities when he was the goalie but he couldnt lead the oilers to the stanly cup like fuhr did. And yeah fuhr did have great offensive teams and he took full advantage of his situations by helping them win 5 cups in 7 years.
Also as i mentioned before what about the two canada cups in 84 and especially the one in 87 are those equivalent to the olympics that nhl has now and the world cup of hockey? Fuhr's record outside of edmonton does reflect the i actually thought he played pretty well. I thought he was awesome in toronto the team was just crappy. He struggled a few years after that getting moved around but once again in st. louis for the first few years he was playin like one of the best goalies in the league again.

Grant if fuhr had 4 hall of famers gretz mess kurri coffey and people say grant is overrated. A guy like ken dryden who won 6 cups in 8 years had about 12 hall of famers on his team. And hes in most hockey experts top 5 goalies of all time are people say fuhr is overrated. Dryden had offensive and defensive in my opinion he had the most complete team in nhl history. Oilers were just an offensive juggernaut. Oilers did score many goals in the regular season but majority of the games in the playoffs were low scoring. I dont think the neutral zone trap was ineffect back then and also remember the goalies equipment were still twice as small as today. Look at his stats in st louis in his mid to late 30's so many injuries and surgeries behind him he still put pretty good numbers if u compare him to other goalies in the league. if he came in the nhl today no doubt in my mind he would put up number's as good as any of these guys are putting up today.

Furthermore i dont think too many goalies could handle those many chances night in night out and not break. And moog was junk he could never ever win the big game regardless of what is record or gaa was. If he could they would of started him infront of fuhr and he would of won all those cups. Just look at boston he had amazing teams got them to the finals and lost, just like he did for edmonton before fuhr took over, he could never win the big games. Grant fuhr was all about the big game throughout his career. Ill put up his big game career with any goalie to play. Game 7's fuhr 5-2 one of them when steve smith backed it in off his skate and probably cost them the up in 86. Roy is 6-7. And no not all of fuhrs game 7's came with the oilers his last one 99 with the blues 1-0 shutout against the coyotes game 7. In the finals hes never lost roy 4-1. In canada cup tournaments again he has 2 canada cups. Roy's only international play came in nagano in 1998 where he was outdeuled by hasek. In big game situations hes as good as anyone. And dont say roy didnt have great teams. In colorado how many all stars did he have 12? sakic forsberg kamensky hejduk drury tanguy blake bourgue foote lemeuix ect ect he had tons of talent on his team and if he didnt get traded to the avs would he have 4 cups. I mean u can say the same about billy smith or kenny dryden, multiple cup winners do have amazing teams infront of them.
Dominik hasek only won his cup with how many hall of famers and all stars did he have on detroit 20? Nobody seems to mention that. And i still think grant's job was still tougher then what all those guys playin goal because they had something he rarely had and that was defense, im sorry not too many games in the playoffs were 8-6 so u can only say the offense had won.
Hell and even look at what Wayne Gretzky said during his hall of fame ceremony in toronto not only is fuhr the best goalie ive ever seen but he's also the best athlete i ever played with, that has to be sayin something no?

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

Gretzky might have been right. Fuhr may have been the best athlete he ever played with. It is his athleticism that makes it so easy to overrate him - think back, and all we remember are the huge saves. Fuhr was probably as stylish as any goalie of recent times, but playing goalie is about stopping the puck, not looking good while doing so, and, here I go again, the performance record shows that his record of stopping the puck is not outstanding, relative to his peers and especially relative to the other goalies on his team.

It is easy to say Fuhr won this, he won that, he had so-and-so many career wins, he must have been "clutch" and "big-game" and all that. But peel back the myth and the cliches and look at how he actually did in terms of stopping the puck, and was no better than the other goalies on his team. His team was one of the greatest of all time, so they won a lot of games. They probably relied LESS on their goaltender than almost any team that has ever played in the NHL, simply because they were the highest scoring team of all-time.

Same thing with the 1987 Canada Cup. Yes, Grant Fuhr was on the winning team. A remarkable achievement, given that he played for one of the top international teams ever, from the world's top hockey nation, with 2 of the 5 greatest players of all-time on his team. Look at the tournament stats, and you'll see that Fuhr was outplayed by Sergei Mylnikov, John Vanbiesbrouck, and the 22-year old Dominik Hasek. He won because he was on one of the greatest teams of all-time. It's sort of a theme for his entire career.

I just don't understand why you keep bashing Moog. In 1983, the Oilers scored 6 goals in 4 games in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Islanders. In 1984, the Oilers scored 21 goals in 5 games against the Islanders in the Finals. Guess which year they won, and guess which year they lost. Or are you actually claiming the reason their scoring rate almost tripled is because of which goalie they had in net?

Most of what I have just written about Fuhr I have also written at some point or another about Martin Brodeur. They are very similar goaltenders. In fact, if I had started this blog in 1993, it probably would have been titled "Fuhr is a Fraud." Again, not that Fuhr was a bad goaltender, just that he was a decent goalie that became a legend because he was drafted by the right team.

Anonymous said...

For one your still insane if u think moog was better then fuhr. Fuhr is 8-0 lifetime against moog in the playoffs once in edmonton and once in buffalo. When fuhr was on buffalo first round playoffs in 1993 he was the main reason why sabres sweeped the heavily favored bruins. In the reg season the point differential was by 23 between the two teams makin it the second biggest upset point wise in the 1990's. Moog always was a choker he could never take his team to the promise land and many people even picked the bruins to win the cup that year. Andy moog was asked the question on espn panel with barry melrose if u had to take one goalie in a game 7 who would u take, he said id take grant fuhr in his prime. You want the exact link if so let me know.
And about your canada cup statements fuhr played in 84 he split time with pete peters and he played in every game in 87 and yeah he won. So your sayin he was on the winning teams and the other goalies outplayed him cuz they have better gaa's? Did you even watch the games? Game 2 fuhr had 60 shots but a russian all-star team.
Larioanov makarov krutov fetisov these guys were still in there primes. Did u watch the first overtime how they kept peppering fuhr with shot after shot and he made great save after great save until mario finally scored in the second ot. No way they would of won the canada cup with out that type of goaltending. Even the game against dominink hasek and the checks fuhr was named mvp of that game after canada beat them 5-3.
Patick roy was on one the greatest teams in 98 look at that roster howcome he didnt win? Curtis Joseph was on one of the greatest teams in 96 howcome he didnt win but some how the two goalies your criticzing the most when they were on the teams fuhr and broduer both won.
And about the gretzky comment u missed the point where gretzky also said grant fuhr is the best goaltender of all time. For some reason i dont know why if your blind in one eye or something ive posted that 4 times and u havent acknowledged it once. Wayne Gretzky the greatest player of all time said Grant Fuhr is the best goalie of all time. Another stat grant fuhr is only goalie in nhl history to have 5 number 1 stars in a row in the playoffs in 1985. Last 3 games against the kings and the first two against the jets.

james said...

Ive been reading both of your guys posts and Grant fuhr is a fuckin warrior, all the drug problems injuries surgeries everyone thought he was finished how he kept coming back and proving them wrong in st louis. I remember when he was stoning the leafs in the playoffs they coudlnt score on him and kypreos ran him over tearing all of fuhr's ligaments in his knees. Grant fuhr got up and stay played like 5 mins on that knee and stoned sundin like twice before he left the ice ending his season and nearly ending his career because that knee had never been the same since. Gretzky said it the best he tried to get up and still play through it. Fuhr is a fuckin warrior.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

I read what you wrote, but I didn't address it because frankly I don't really care what Wayne Gretzky said. Gretzky also once said Ron Hextall was the best goalie he had ever played against. Gretzky is not a professional scout, he is certainly no expert on goaltending, and he tends to be very loyal to his friends and former teammates. Players often rate their own teammates more highly than unbiased observers. For example, Gretzky wrote in his autobiography that Jari Kurri was better than Mike Bossy. There are all kinds of ex-goalies and players in the media who make you wonder how they ever could have been NHLers with some of the things they say.

Fuhr was very talented, and as you point out, he had some outstanding games, including several in the public eye (Stanley Cup Finals, Canada Cups). Nobody can argue that. However, there are many goalies that you can make look great by cherry picking a few performances. When it comes down to it, goaltending is about consistently not getting scored on, and Fuhr simply let in more goals than he should have with those tools and abilities that he had. This is a simple reality that is obvious in his performance record.

I've never said Moog was better than Fuhr, just that Moog had similar stats. I'm not arguing about Moog, I'm arguing about Fuhr. Here's the logic of my argument: You say Moog was terrible, and Fuhr was great. Moog's numbers were roughly equal to Fuhr's. Playing on the same team, a great goalie will have much better numbers than a terrible goalie. Therefore, your statement is logically inconsistent. So therefore either Moog was great, like Fuhr, or neither of them were. I agree with you that Moog was not a great goalie, which leaves us only with the second option: Neither of them were great, and it must have been the team around them that was the reason for Grant Fuhr winning all of those games and Cups.

An elite goalie or player will outshine his teammates. If not, he is adding nothing to his team that they couldn't get if they just played someone else. Fuhr, throughout his career, almost always had similar numbers to his backups. His career GAA was 3.38. If you add up all the minutes played by all his backup goalies when they played on the same team that Fuhr did, and then all the goals they let in, you get a Fuhr "teammate GAA" of 3.19. Do the same thing with wins and losses, and you find that Fuhr's backups also were more likely to win games (.585 winning percentage) than Fuhr was (.567), at least in the regular season. So how can a guy be one of the best goalies of all time if his team was more likely to get scored on and less likely to win with him in the net than with one of his teammates in there? Because he had a few good games in Canada Cups? Because Gretzky won him a few Cups? Because of that huge glove save against Calgary that one year?

It seems to me that you evaluate goalies primarily on specific recollection of a few games or playoff series, and give a very strong weighting to whether their team won that small sample of games. This tends to be a typical way of evaluating goalies, but I see it as a very incorrect way of going about it. There are many factors that decide whether a team wins or loses, and studies have placed the goalie's contribution at around 20% in terms of the overall team's effort.

I believe that we can't rely on memory alone, but need a look at a large statistical sample to really measure how well a goalie actually played. We also should not consider whether he won or lost, but how well he played, because an elite team or a terrible team will easily overwhelm the goalie's contribution in terms of determining the result. It certainly can be misleading to just watch a highlight reel, or a few games on ESPN Classic, or remember a few saves in a playoff series two decades ago, and use that to declare someone to be one of the greatest ever. Especially when over 1000 NHL playoff and regular season games the goalie in question couldn't even outplay the rest of the goalies on his own team.

Anonymous said...

In many ways your right he was never the most consistant goalie. If i had to choose a goalie to start the season id take roy or hasek cuz game in game out they were more consistant then fuhr was. But if i had to take a goalie for one game with all the marbles on the line id take grant fuhr over anyone. For the oilers he was the perfect goalie for that system. And yeah ive seen him also play on espn classic and he was awesome. Espn classic only shows big games and just about every big game i saw of him even on espn classic he was awesome. And about the goalies of his own team they had about similar winning percentage he has. Fuhr's backups were at one time moog, ranford, potvin and future hall of famer dominik hasek. These guys arent like bryan hayward or david abeischer like some other hall of game goalies had as a back up.

Your also right when u said gretzky did say ron hextall was the best goalie i ever faced in the 87 series but the article went on to say ron hextall is the best goalie i ever faced but then again i never had to face grant fuhr. Gretzky repeatedly said grant fuhr and even at his hall of fame ceremony in toronto. Ive only seen oilers play in the late 80's early 90's since im still young and havent seen the early to mid 80's or even moog play for edmonton. I asked oiler fans who have seen both of them play. They said when moog was in net oilers tend to take less chances but when grant was back there it was all out offence. Thats not me sayin it cuz like i said before i havent seen moog and fuhr split duties in edmonton. Thats other oiler fans who saw them play. They also said the hard rivalry games fuhr would normally start like against islanders, flyers and especially the flames. But one question howcome theres no ken dryden is a fraud when fuhr had 4 hall of famers and ken drydens team of 6 cups in 8 years he had something like 12 hall of famers on his team. The next time i post ill name u all the 12.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

I think you're right about the Oilers taking a few more chances with Fuhr in the net, given that Fuhr faced an extra shot per game compared to Moog over their time in Edmonton. I expect that Moog also did play easier teams, since Fuhr was almost always the clear #1 goalie when it came to playoff time. And yes, Fuhr's backups most years were decent goalies. Still, Fuhr should have been putting up better stats than them if he really was a great goalie. Some of the other all-time great goalies have GAAs 15-20% lower than the goalies they played with, so Fuhr's record is still not very impressive.

I am skeptical of the whole notion of a "big-game goalie". I think talent rules, and while there may be a small number of goalies who choke under pressure, the so-called "ability to make the big save" is overstated. To me, saying that you'd take Hasek over a season but Fuhr for one game doesn't make sense. If you think Hasek is the better goalie, then why wouldn't you go with him in a single game as well?

So-called "big-game goalies" are often just the goalies that played in the most big games. Goalies who play on good teams have a lot more chances to play in big games, which means they have more chances to win them, which means they are more likely to be remembered for winning them.

As for Ken Dryden, that is a very difficult question. Dryden might be one of the hardest goalies to evaluate ever, because he played almost his entire career on an absolutely dominant team. But there's no Ken Dryden is a fraud because I don't think he was. Yes, he played for probably the greatest teams ever, stacked with Hall of Famers, and his stats have to viewed in that context. But just playing on a great team does not automatically mean the goalie is a fraud. A goalie is only a fraud if he puts up ordinary performances on a good team, which means that it is really his teammates that are pulling the load. If a goalie plays on a great team and puts up outstanding save percentage numbers, plays much better than the other goalies on his team, and gets all kinds of award recognition, I think it is unfair to call him a fraud.

Before he ever got into the NHL, Dryden had a record-breaking college career at Cornell. In the NHL, Dryden's career GAA was 2.25, and his backups combined were at 2.77. HockeyDB has only one season of save percentage available for Dryden, but that year he led the league with a .927 at a time when the league average was .890. Dryden also had the 1971 Cup run when he was a rookie, a year when he helped Montreal to victory over two teams (Boston, Chicago) that were clearly better than Montreal was. Dryden won a Conn Smythe Trophy, a Calder Trophy, 5 Vezina Trophies, and was named five times to the NHL's season-end First All-Star Team. Is he overrated by many people? Certainly, but I think there is more evidence that Dryden was a very good goalie than that he was a total team creation.

Anonymous said...

I mean by sayin that is hasek and roy were a lil more consistant game in game out from what i seen. But I think in the big moments grant fuhr was the best i ever seen. Meaning if it was a game 7 who would u pick hasek roy or fuhr? Id take fuhr over the other two in a heart beat. Goaltending to me is all about the big games. Who cares about the numbers you produce throughout the season as long as your decent and in big game situations you perform as good as anyone whos ever played the position. Roy And Hasek have had a little better overall career's then Fuhr, but when all of them 3 were at there absolute peak to me anyways fuhr was better. And ken dryden had defense offense he had everything. To me hes the most overrated goalie of all time. His defense was oustanding so was his offense, even if u look back at classic games how many offensive chances did he team give up? Not many. Look at grant fuhr's stat before he came into the nhl with the victoria cougars of the whl. He had a 48 wins 9 losses in only 59 games thats not imprressive. Oh yeah and a 2.78 gaa. Thats tellin u right there now much the oilers played defense.

steveorama said...

These are hypocritcal statements. You talkin about one guy who only had offense as being overrated with just a few hall of famers on his team. While you talk about another guy who had like over like 11 or 12 and he was a great goalie?

The only people who would "dispute his dominance" would be those who actually saw him play (like me), as opposed to those who just look in history books.
Dryden was not even the best goalie of his era, much less all time.
Parent and Vachon were certainly better in that era.
Dryden benefitted from playing behind one of the greatest teams of all time (with a D that included Savard, Robinson and Lapointe).
His high point was his 1971 Stanley Cup playoffs, when he was gold.
After that, he was solid, but not the type of guy who steals a lot of games for you.
He didn't need to, on that team.
5 Vezina trophies is nice, but back then, it was awarded to the goalies on the team that had the lowest GAA...and that was more a reflection of how dominant the Habs were back then, not great goaltending by Dryden.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

I don't see it as hypocritical, and here's why:

Grant Fuhr had average save percentages and similar stats to the other goalies on his team. Ken Dryden had outstanding save percentages and GAAs and was far better than the other goalies on his team. The Oilers went to the Finals with Andy Moog in net and won the Cup with Bill Ranford, both times with Fuhr sitting on the bench. The Canadiens missed the playoffs the year before Dryden, they lost in the first round the year he held out, and after Dryden retired it took them five years to make it past the second round of the playoffs. Everything Fuhr won was on a powerhouse team, whereas Dryden won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1971 for helping the underdog Canadiens to the Cup.

Yes, the Canadiens were better than the Oilers, especially defensively, but it isn't just how good the team is, what matters is how well the goalie plays given the strength of his team.

I would love to call Ken Dryden a fraud. He fits the profile of an overrated goalie in that he played his entire career on strong teams. From the historical games I've seen, he doesn't look that much better than the other goalies of his period (e.g. outplayed by Esposito and Tretiak in the 1972 Summit Series). I wouldn't be that surprised to find that he wasn't really that good, but I can't prove it from the statistical record. One strike against him is that his regular season winning percentage is not much better than the other goalies he played with. However, that is likely because the Habs were so good they won no matter who their goalie was, and Dryden's backups played easier teams so they only would have lost if they were a complete sieve.

Sure, Dryden didn't have to steal games, but that isn't a fault, that just reflects on how good his team was. When your team is winning 75% of the games they play, they aren't exactly depending on the goalie. But again, just because they don't depend on the goalie doesn't mean he is not good - what matters is how well he stopped the puck, given the quality of his defence.

If I had to pick between Hasek, Roy and Fuhr, for either a season or a game 7, I'd pick Hasek, because he was the best goalie of the three. I certainly wouldn't pick Fuhr. Fuhr has nothing to match Roy's run in 1993 or Hasek's run in 1999 in terms of leading a weaker team to the Cup Finals. Hasek also has the 1998 Olympics to his credit, and he won a Cup the first time he ever played on a great team. Roy's playoff overtime record is insanely good, not to mention his 3 Conn Smythes. I don't see how Fuhr's big game performance trumps theirs at all.

Anonymous said...

Roy is 6-7 fuhr is 5-2 game 7's and one was when steve smith backed it in off his skate. Fuhr never lost in the finals roy is 4-1. Fuhr has 2 canada cups roy has 0. And about hasek head to head in international play fuhr is 2-0 against him. Sure fuhr had a better team in 1987 canada cup, but so did roy in 1998 and look what happened. How can u say roy is a better big game goalie? Another thing about fuhr he can let in 2-3 early goals in the first period and shut the door rest of the game. Roy and hasek in the other hand u score on them early there shaky for the rest of the game. Even watching hasek this year in the playoffs in many games he was dog shit. They were out shooting there opponents like 50-12 especially in the calgary series and still held on for the victory.
The yeah he won the cup with the redwings not one game he had over 35 shots, check the stats. hes played with detroit 4-5 years now, hes played with ottawa for a year hes played now with dominate teams howcome he only has one stanley cup? How is roy or hasek better then fuhr in the big games? When his record in big games is better then both of them combined give me a fuckin break. Yeah and bill ranford did win the cup in 90 but he also won the conn smythe. In to me that team was a lil more defensive oriented then the team of the 80's. But ranford was awesome in the series against boston and u forgot to mention ranford also won the conn smythe. He wasnt playin with gretz and coff like fuhr's teams but he murphy graves gelinas klima carson ect, plus messier tikkanen anderson kurri. He also had a good team infront of him. Fuhr was 16-2 in the playoffs in 1988. Thats still the best win loss record of any goalie in nhl history when it comes to playoffs. I still dont know how roy is better in big games then fuhr, i think your on crack buddy.

Anonymous said...

Everything your lookin at is stats, you should look at how the goalie plays game in game out. If oilers when 8-5 and fuhr lets in 4 goals thats a bad gaa. But if he also had about 43 saves and how many of them were good scoring chances. Thats a gaa of 5 and a save percentage of 89 percent, but how many of those 43 saves were great scoring chances. Grant fuhr is the only goaltender in history that can let in 5 goals and still be the number 1 star of the game because the amount of good quality saves he made durin that game regardless of how many he let in.

Anonymous said...

87 canada cup
fuhr 9gp 6 w's 1 loss and 2 ties gaa 3.34 - including 3 6-5 games against the russians.
Hasek 6gp 2 w's 3 loss 3.33 gaa.
Save percentage
fuhr 893
hasek 894

total shots hasek in 6 games 189
total shots fuhr in 9 games 318
fuhr played 3 more games and had nearly 120 more shots the hasek. Thats 40 shots a game and the numbers are similar. No other goalie in the tournament even had 2oo shots. Hasek was better later on in his career no doubt, but in the 80's style of play i dont think it would of mattered. Hasek played how would they say in baseball the dead ball era or the low scoring era of the nhl. If he played in the 80's in the nhl i dont think he would be great cuz of his style. He lies on the ice makin the shooter try to beat him up high by holdin on the the puck a second or two longer. In the clutch and grab nhl when he did that the defensemen would be on that guy right away and he wouldnt of had that much time to hold on to the puck to put it over him. In the 80's that wide open style he would of had numbers just like any other goalie in the era if not worse. This tournament proves to me that theory. He would of been murdered in the nhl in the 80's. If you matched fuhr's first 6 games with that of hasek fuhr's gaa and save percentage was one of the best in the tournament heading into the 3 game series against the juggernaut russian offense which every game was 6-5. You base alot of yours on stats, like u said about stats that only fuhr is a fraud and keny dryden isnt even though he played for the greatest team ever ect ect. Now what u got to say about this?

Holy cow the great dominik hasek's gaa was 3.33. not that much better then fuhr. And head to head fuhr beat him yeah fuhr had a better team but if u watch the game, fuhr outplayed him and won the mvp honors for that game. Watch the game for yourself u can find a dvd for like 10 bucks anywhere.

Anonymous said...

And why didnt hasek win the cup this year. He was dog shit through out the playoffs no matter what the stats say. I watch all red wings game he was the reason they lost. Wings on most occasion outscored and outchanced the teams they played on most nights 2-1 and some games 3-1 and red wings still ended up losing. Hes played on the redwings now many years and how many cups just 1? He almost blew them the calgary series when red wings were outshooting the flames like 50-12. Ive read some of your comments on the way broduer played in the playoffs this year. Hasek was 3 times worse.

Anonymous said...

Lately u been quiet as of late whats up??????????????

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

Sorry, I was on vacation for a few days.

Again and again you refer to Grant Fuhr's record, especially in big game situations, trying to give him all the credit for those wins.

Fuhr's playoff record, with Wayne Gretzky, is 63-21. Fuhr's playoff record, without Wayne Gretzky, is 26-29.

International record with Gretzky: 8-2-2. Without, 1-3-1.

Clearly there are very strong team factors at play here, primarily the presence of the best hockey player ever on Grant Fuhr's team whenever he managed to do well. So stop basing your clutchness argument on Fuhr's record, because the reality is that everything Fuhr ever won was because he was on the best team. When he wasn't, he lost, it's as simple as that. And that goes for big games, small games, playoff games, international games, everything.

Sure, Patrick Roy lost a few game sevens, and he even lost in the Finals once. But he never watched from the bench as his mediocre backup played ahead of him in the Stanley Cup Finals, which Fuhr did TWICE. Not to mention Patrick's three Conn Smythe Trophies, and his very good overtime record in the playoffs. Advantage: Roy.

And come on, are you actually bashing Dominik Hasek for this season? Hasek is 42 years old! He is only 2 and a half years younger than Grant Fuhr, and Fuhr retired seven years ago! I agree with you he is no longer an elite goalie, but really anything Hasek does now is just bonus. Still, the Red Wings were within a fluky deflection from winning game 5 against Anaheim and having a very good chance of going to the Finals and probably winning. And Hasek was not nearly as bad as you claim this year, and he was definitely better in the 2007 playoffs than Martin Brodeur.

Your statement that Hasek would not have dominated in the 1980s is completely and demonstrably false. Hasek thrived when faced with plenty of scoring chances. For example, in 1995-96 the Buffalo Sabres were so bad they missed the playoffs and gave up over 35 shots against per game. Hasek still led the league in save percentage. He was also twice named the best goalie at world championships in the 1980s. Hasek has the most dominant prime of any goalie in history, and he has the best performance statistics of any goalie ever, even when adjusting for era. You can make a very good argument that he is the greatest of all time, so I very strongly doubt that he would have been "murdered" in the '80s, or any other era for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Again why dont u compare the canada cup stats of 1987 and what i put up for you. And howcome wayne gretzky the greatest player ever didnt win any cups when he wasnt with the oilers. He had one good season with the kings when they went to the finals and thats it. He had guys like nicholls, robitallie, sandstrom coffey granato kudelski he had some pretty good goals scorers. Kelly hrudey besides a few good seasons was crap for most of his career. I mean whats gretzky's record with out edmonton?
And going back to the canada cup 87 look at the stats heck even look at the games fuhr totally outplayed every goalie in that tournament including hasek. And u said about 35 shots a game in the 95-96 season that still far fetched from the early to mid 80's. The devils won the cup the year before with that neutral zone trap. And again hasek would get murdered in the 80's because theres no clutch and grab back then and if he would lie down they would have way more time to lift it over him. When hasek was dominant he would lie down the defencement would be bearing in on him and he would shoot it into hasek because he had no time. Look at the goals hasek let go by him in the canada cup. Hasek is smart i wouldnt say he has the best skills but hes really bright he knew how to play with what he had in the dead scoring era in the nhl.
And about roy's 3 conn smythes your telling me fuhr couldnt of won a conn smythe? If gretzky and messier were on roy's team would roy win any conn smythe's? Theres no way in hell. Fuhr 5-2 game 7's Roy is 6-7. And if steve smith didnt back it in off his skate no way habs would of beat the oilers in 86. Fuhr has 2 canada cups roy has 0 and gretzky was on the canada team in 98 even though he was past his prime. Look at the roster of the 98 canada team thats as good as any team ever assembled, fuck after they lost to czecks they lost to sweden rigth after. Also about fuhr only bein a few years ahead of hasek age wise and him retiring 7 years ago hasek has never had 7 to 8 knee surgeries or im sure he would of retired long time ago as well.
About the two mediocre goalies and fuhr being the backup moog i never liked him but he could play good here and there but bill ranford in the 1990 stanly cup was as good as goaltending i ever seen in the finals especially against the bruins. Sure he was a mediocre goalie through out his career but that playoff he had goes down in nhl history as one of the best performances by a goalie. The guy won the conn smythe and deservedly so what more do u want.
Again let me put up the canada cup 87 stats for you and howcome hasek played so poorly?

87 canada cup
fuhr 9gp 6 w's 1 loss and 2 ties gaa 3.34 - including 3 6-5 games against the russians.
Hasek 6gp 2 w's 3 loss 3.33 gaa.
Save percentage
fuhr 893
hasek 894
total shots hasek in 6 games 189
total shots fuhr in 9 games 318
fuhr played 3 more games and had nearly 120 more shots the hasek. Thats 40 shots a game and the numbers are similar. No other goalie in the tournament even had 2oo shots. You said fuhr never won without gretzky but u can also say gretzky never won without fuhr either besides the one cup run in 93 before that and after that how close did he really get?
And one more thing i want to add about hasek's performance this year he was awful. All he had to do was be avg not be great but just avg. The redwings for most part outshot there opponents 2-1 and even in some cases calgary series 3-1 and they still lost. I know hasek isnt the same goalie he was 7-8 years ago but come on, if redwings did have decent goaltending they would of won the cup hands down. I dont know why they resigned him again for next season. Hes only going to get worse then what he was this past year, it makes no sense to me.
And it still funny how u can compre 95-96 season to 85-86 season. Only memory i have is hasek playin in 87 canada cup and he was awful.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

Again we have a situation where two players have almost identical stats, and you are claiming that one played poorly and one played great.

Fuhr, 1987: .893 save %, 3.34 GAA
Hasek, 1987: .894 save %, 3.33 GAA

Yes, Fuhr played extra games against the Soviets, but he never had to play any games against the best team in the tournament, Canada, which Hasek did twice. The Czechs were also much worse than the Canadians. In 1984, Czechoslovakia finished in last place, behind West Germany, losing 4 out of 5 games. Nearly half their team returned for 1987, and they made the semifinals. Putting up those numbers on that team means that Hasek had a very good tournament in 1987, despite being only 22 years old at the time.

So you're taking Fuhr's best ever international tournament and comparing it with Hasek's first experience at best-on-best international play, and Hasek still looks pretty good. Hasek's golden career moment was obviously the 1998 Olympics, where he was simply outstanding (5-1-0, 0.97 GAA, .961 save percentage). I noticed you didn't compare that to Fuhr, I guess for obvious reasons.

Hasek may be the smartest goalie to ever play. If he played in a different era, he would adjust his style to that era. He doesn't just lie down randomly, he lies down when the shooter has little time and space and therefore little opportunity to pick a corner. There is plenty of evidence that Hasek was amazing even in wide-open games, such as his early Buffalo years, various All-Star games (especially 1997 where he was just insane), international games, etc.

Without Fuhr, Gretzky went to the Finals and won the 1991 Canada Cup, leading the tournament in scoring. So he did win, but not as much obviously as in Edmonton, both because there was a good team there and also because that was where he rewrote the record books. In Edmonton he was so dominant that he could lead his team to victory, but later in his career he was no longer at that level, although obviously still good. Again, hockey is a team sport, and even a great player surrounded by weak teammates will not win.

When you have a situation where two players won piles playing together, and not so much apart, then you need to decide who was more valuable in that relationship. I'd go with the guy generally considered the greatest player in the history of hockey, the league's all-time leading scorer, the single season record holder for goals, assists, and points, a 9-time MVP, a 10-time Art Ross Trophy winner, and 2-time Conn Smythe Trophy winner as having more of an effect than a goalie who has basically identical stats to everyone else who ever played with him.

Before the Gretzky trade, the last time the L.A. Kings finished ahead of the Edmonton Oilers in the standings was 1980-81. After Gretzky was traded, the Kings finished ahead of Edmonton in 6 of the next 7 years. Edmonton saw a huge drop in scoring and the team tailed off pretty quickly, although they did grab that one last Cup in 1990, but of course Fuhr never played for that one. Fuhr was soon involved in a multiplayer trade to Toronto, where the goalie coming back to Edmonton was Peter Ing.

So suggesting that Gretzky only won because of Fuhr can only be described as high comedy.

Anonymous said...

I never said gretzky only won cuz of fuhr. Im sayin gretzky never won outside of edmonton and neither did fuhr could it be cuz they were almost past there primes after 10 11 years in edmonton? The stanly cup in 1990 the following year edmonton almost did go back to the finals with fuhr in net not ranford. In 1990 edmonton didnt have coffey and gretzky and won. In 1991 if u remember jari kurri went to play in europe and left edmonton. Oilers still had a decent team but not strong enough that year to win the cup. Fuhr started every game in calgary and was good, oilers went on to beat the flames in 7. The next series ranford started game 1 against the kings and the oilers lost the first game 4-3. After that fuhr started he won 3 double overtime games in a row where he was brilliant and the oilers won the next 4-5 games in the kings series to beat gretz in the kings. That year oilers lost to the north stars who were just playin out of this world. So grant did almost take oilers back to the finals with out gretz coff and kurri. Though they did have young talent like murphy graves klima.
I thought grant played awesome for the leafs when the leafs were just a shitty team and on buffalo him and mogilny were the main reasons that they beat the heavily fav bruins in the playoffs to sweep them and guide buffalos first playoff victory in 10 years. Fuhr got injured in game 4 hasek came in played well but fuhr was unbelievable in the first 3 games.
The sabres got sweeped by the habs but fuhr never really recovered from his groin terror with what he was playin with in the habs series, mogilny broke his leg in game 2 and lafontaine also had knee problems in game 2 he didnt come back either. If they were all healthy in my opinion buffalo would of beat the habs in 93 and would of went on to win the cup. I mean next round was the islanders and kings, im pretty sure sabres would of beat both of those teams. That was a talented team and its a shame they couldnt stay healthy and go further maybe to the stanly cup.
Even in 1996 i thought fuhr's best year with the blues to win the cup he was unbelievable all year round playin like 76 games in a row nhl record and 79 appearances in the same also nhl record. He was awesome in the leafs series with the team that had veterans like hull gretz corson noonan mattue mactavish courtnall pronger macinnis that was a mike keenan team ready for the playoffs. It was again i thought he would of won the cup but when he was stoning the leafs kypreos ran over and basically cost him his career even though he come back cuz he constantly had 4-5 surgeries on the same knee and never was quite the same. Jon casey played well but hes not grant fuhr especially the way he was playin the reg season and the playoffs up to the point he got injured. Fuhr still had good opportunities to win some more just out of bad luck it didnt happen. I guess it wasnt meant to be.

Anonymous said...

Dale Hawerchuk - After I was traded to Buffalo, we had a chance in 1992-93. We played Montreal in the division final and lost four straight, all by one goal and two in overtime. We were riddled with injuries, Moginly had a broken ankle, LaFontaine a bad knee, Fuhr tore his groin but still played and Hasek was nailed to the bench. The Habs went on to win their final Stanley Cup, and had it not been for the injuries, it could have been ours.
And one more thing i like to add u say canada in 87 had the most talented team that could be debated because every game against the russians they were out played and out chanced. The russians skated circles around them makin there defense look like pilons. And here is the highlights of that game all on youtube everygame in the tournament is on here. And fuhr and hasek did have similar number but fuhr played 3 more games and every game was 6-5 against the russians or his gaa and save percentage would of smoked hasek.
But even after the 3 6-5 games he has the same numbers as hasek does hmmmm interesting. And u also forgot 120 more shots no other goalie in the tournament had 200 and fuhr had over 300. And the stupidest thing u say look at hasek in nagano who the fuck cares about nagano all goalies had low gaa that tournament, look at hasek in the high scoring times of the nhl compared to the low times and again u just made my point. Hes great in the low scoring but he sucked at the high scoring. You hasek would of adjusted his style well im about to give u the links of every canada cup game in 87 u can watch highlights of all czecks game look at his style he didnt change it and look it how the goals went it he was crap. And thats still the stupidest statement ever in this post so far u said look at hasek's stats in 98 compared that to of fuhr when hasek also played in 87.
Link to all the canada cup games in 87 round robin plus tournaments.
http://www.youtube.com/user/QWZR

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

I have of course seen the Canada-USSR games already from 1987, but I must admit I hadn't watched Czechoslovakia play. So I took the time to watch Hasek in action, and I think we must be watching different games. Do you seriously think he "sucked" and let in "crappy" goals against Canada in the semifinal? I was expecting floaters and giveaways and scoring on his own net, and all I saw were four good shots and a deflection off his own defenceman. If you want to talk about brutal goals in that tournament, look no further than Kamensky's unscreened slapshot from the blueline against Fuhr in game one in Montreal. But really, it doesn't matter how you let them in, all that matters is how many. Let in a soft goal and then make a brilliant save, and you're the same distance ahead as if you did it the other way around.

Here's why I care about Nagano and why I brought it up: You are trying to claim that Fuhr is a better big game goalie, so I am pointing to what Hasek did in Nagano, which I think should be taken into account given that it is was one of the greatest goaltending performances in any international tournament ever. That is pretty good evidence that he is a big game goalie, no? I do know what you mean about Hasek also having played in 1987, so why bring up other tournaments, but first of all, Fuhr was older, more experienced, and played on a better team, so it's not really a fair comparison. Secondly, you are cherry-picking 1987 because it was Fuhr's best tournament. Don't overestimate the scoring difference between Nagano and the 1987 Canada Cup either. The group stage in Nagano was actually more high scoring than the group stage in the 1987 Canada Cup. In 1987, Fuhr's GAA was 3.33, the average GAA was 3.48. In 1998, Hasek's GAA was 0.97, the average was 2.93. The relative difference between those two performances should be immediately obvious.

I don't know how this became a debate about the 1987 Canada Cup, because that was never my intention. I hate judging goalies based on one tournament or playoffs, because anybody can get hot over a week or two and make it seem like they are a clutch goalie forever. Look at Bill Ranford, who had a mostly unimpressive career but had a great playoffs in 1990 and a great Canada Cup in 1991 and as a result will be remembered longer than other much better goalies.

Maybe Fuhr was the best goalie in 1987, maybe he singlehandedly won the tournament, I doubt it but I really don't care much. It would do little to change the way I see his career, because there are still 1000 NHL season and playoff games where Fuhr's stats are no better than his backups, his save percentages were unimpressive, his team won without him, and his post-Edmonton career was inconsistent (granted injuries were a major factor). These factors combine to indicate that he likely wasn't that great, yet he is nevertheless a Hall of Famer, almost entirely on the basis of team accomplishments. That's why I see Grant Fuhr as a solid, almost textbook case of an overrated goalie.

By the way, check out this post, where Edmonton fans debate Fuhr vs. Moog: http://www.mc79hockey.com/?p=2650.

Anonymous said...

Ok i got some of the stuff u sayin but did u see the russian highlights man especially game 2? They made the canadian defense look like siwtch cheese. I have all the games in full every game from canada cup 87. In game 2 now im not lyin either russians had about 55 shots im not exactly sure how much but in that style of play both teams were playin every shot was a good shot. If you dont believe me check out the games in full. In in 1991 fuhr almost took the oilers back to the finals without gretzky coffey and kurri and yet they were in the 3rd round beating calgary and the kings the rounds previous, I mean he still had who tikkanen who was still crafty, messier could still produce, anderson was on his way down, they did have young talent like murphy graves but that team was on the way down big time and they still almost got back to the finals. And i still think sabres should of won the cup in 93 if they were healthy and also he was playin great in 96 until he got injured. The next few years who did the blues lose to? The stanly cup champions in the second round the detroit redwings and the dallas stars. Those two teams were much more talented then the workman like team the blues had. You can say he hasnt had success after edmonton but his last 3 playoff exists against detroit dallas and montreal those teams went on to win the stanly cup. Who cares what few idiots say about moog but the majority of oiler fans say fuhr was the man. When fuhr came i think it was either in 80 or 81 moog was the starter until grant finally beat him out in 84. Some of the moog fans always say moog would of won those cups as well then howcome he didnt win those cups with the team he had in 81 82 83 and when fuhr finally took over they won hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm isnt that funny. And i disagree fuhr did have a decent post season career after edmonton look who his teams ran into. His best two chances two win a cup were in 93 where all the stars were injured and also 96 were he tore all the ligaments in his knees. Other then that his teams were no match for dallas and detroit and if u watched those games he still played well. And like i mentioned earlier oilers still almost went back to the finals in 91 when fuhr coming off his drug suspension took over and led them to the third round against the stars with out gretzky coffey and kurri.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

I think you have your Oiler history wrong. You want to divide it neatly into two periods: the losing years with Moog, and the winning years with Fuhr, but Fuhr actually took over in 1981-82 after his great rookie season and got shelled by the Kings in the first round. The year before that, the Oilers had upset Montreal and then lost to the eventual Cup champion Islanders with Moog in net. Moog went back in for the 1983 playoffs and the team went to the Finals, where the reason they lost was not the goaltending, but the fact that the Oilers scored just 6 goals in 4 games. It is virtually impossible to win a series when your team scores 1.5 goals per game, especially when they play the Oilers style.

The Oilers went back to Fuhr for 1984, the Oilers went to the Finals again, and this time they scored 21 goals in 5 games. It is difficult for me to see how the goalie made much of a difference, really, between 1983 and 1984. Moog's GAA in 1983 was 3.03, Fuhr's in 1984 was 2.99. The difference was that the Oilers were much more ready to play the Islanders in 1984. Yes, Fuhr played well in game one of the 1984 Cup series against the Islanders, but even if Moog had a similar game in 1983 the Oilers would probably just have lost in 5 rather than getting swept. Many of the Oiler players have talked about the 1983 series as the one that taught them how to win, how they saw how the Islanders worked hard and sacrificed their bodies and so on, and the results actually bear that out. The 1984 team was the probably the best Edmonton team of all, with 57 wins, 119 points, and a record 446 goals. Regular season and playoff results both show that the Oilers were getting better as a team pretty much every year from 1981 to 1984, so it was just a matter of time before that Cup eventually came.

I don't think it is unreasonable to claim that Moog would have won a few Cups. They were after all undefeated with him in the net in the playoffs between 1984 and 1987 (7-0). In nearly all of those early round series against Winnipeg or Los Angeles, the Oilers just filled the net and were never going to lose no matter how good their goalie was. The 1988 team would have won with almost anybody in net. Same with the 1985 team. Both of those teams just rolled through the first three rounds, and then destroyed pretty good teams in the Finals.

In the whole Oilers dynasty, there were only a few series that were close: Calgary in 1984; Calgary in 1986, the one they lost; Philadelphia in the Finals in 1987. Even assuming Moog would have lost all three of those, the Oilers still win 2 Cups.

I agree that Fuhr had some great games post-Edmonton, but he also had some poor ones, that's the type of goaltender he was. I also agree that the reason he didn't win was because his teams weren't that good. Again, it is by far mostly the team that determines who wins or loses. He won in Edmonton because his team was amazing, and he lost in St. Louis and Buffalo because his teams weren't that great. It is very tempting to give him too much credit for those Stanley Cups, but it doesn't work to claim that he was a very clutch goalie in Edmonton and they won because of him, and then excuse his later career because of the teams he played on. Either the team matters or it doesn't, and the evidence is that it matters an awful lot.

Anonymous said...

What im sayin is the team on buffalo he lost with was a pretty good team but they were injured when it came down to the habs series. If mogilny laftonaine palyed the wholes series and fuhr was healthy, I mean look waht they did to the bruins the previous series. I still think buffalo would of won the cup in 93 if they were heatlhy no question in my mind. In 96 his beat year with the blues i thought to win the cup kypreos tore all the ligaments in his knees and he was playin unbelievable in the playoffs up to that point. And even when the oilers were on the decline in 91 without gretzky coffey and kurri he almost led them back to the finals. It wouldnt matter if they beat the north stars or not in 91 they probably would of lost to the juggernaut offense of the pens that season. He has had some post season success also with out gretzky I think its more bad luck then not bein good enough to take the team to the finals because of injuries. Look at the teams he did lose to habs stars and wings all went on to win the cup. He didnt have the juggernaut team like say roy did for the later part of his career and blow game 7's like 4-0 to edmonton at home when they were up 3-1 in that series. 6-0 to detroit in game 7. And his last game 7 loosing to the heavily underdog wild at home. Patrick roy has had more melt downs then any goalie ive ever seen. Do you really see fuhr have those type of meltdowns in deciding games with edmonton or with-out edmonton? What his own player has to bank it in on his skate for him to lose? If he dose lose its to who the stanly cup champions in a tough 6-7 game series where his team talent wise is the heavily underdog? I thought he still had good post-seasons after edmonton and also in 91 without gretzky kurri coffey where they almost went back to the finals. You said in 85 anyone could of won i disagree that year because the final 3 games in the series vs kings he was number 1 star and the first 2 games against the jets he was also. That is the nhl record for the most number 1 star games in a row by a goalie in the playoffs, he was sensational.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

Buffalo Sabres, 1992-93: 38 wins, 36 losses, 10 ties, 86 points

If the 1993 Sabres could have won it all, then pretty much any playoff team ever could have won it all. They were the 8th ranked team in the Eastern Conference that year. Yes, they beat the Bruins, upsets often happen in the playoffs, but it doesn't mean the upset team will keep winning. No team seeded that low has ever won the Stanley Cup. The Sabres won 3 OT games against the Bruins to beat them, and then lost 3 OT games against Montreal the next series. Looks to me like they simply got the breaks in one series, and didn't get them in the other. The next season, 1993-94, Dominik Hasek had one of the greatest goaltending seasons ever on mostly the same team, and they still ended up with only 95 points, 6th in the Eastern Conference, and went out in the first round. I think it is a clear overstatement to say they should have or would have won the Cup. They could have, just like every team that has ever made the playoffs could have won, but for the majority of teams winning four rounds against tough opponents is just very unlikely.

Yes, Roy lost a number of big games and had meltdowns and bad games. That's because he played more playoff games than any other goalie. He also has more wins, more overtime wins, more outstanding performances and more Conn Smythes than anyone else as well. On the whole, I think an overwhelming number of hockey observers would argue that his playoff career clearly surpasses Fuhr's. Again, you cannot look at just the positives, or just the negatives. Especially if you are looking only at Fuhr's positives, and only at Roy's negatives. All goalies lose at one time or another with excellent teams, because only one team can win in any given year.

Of course Fuhr had meltdowns, in Edmonton and outside of Edmonton. In Grant Fuhr's first playoff game, he let in 10 goals to the Los Angeles Kings. In the decisive, winner-take-all game 5 (best-of-5 series) he let in 7 goals. The Kings were a 63 point team, the Oilers were a 111 point team, and Fuhr let in 26 goals in 5 games. That can't be described by anything other than a complete meltdown by the goalie.

Another example: in 1998, the Blues lost to Detroit in 6 games. In the last game, Fuhr got pulled after letting in 5 goals on 20 shots. That's a pretty bad performance at a pretty bad time. In fact, it could be compared to Roy's performance in game 7 against Detroit in 2002 (although Roy's was worse, he was terrible that game). One happened in a game 7, one happened in a game 6, but to me that doesn't matter much at all, in both of them their teams needed to win and the goalie let them down.

OK, so Fuhr was the first star for five games in a row in 1985. He probably did play well in those games. But the Oilers very likely would have won those games and series anyway, even if their goalie wasn't playing as well. For example, games 1 and 2 against the Jets were both 5-2 wins. Fuhr could have let in an extra goal or two both times, and his team still wins. Edmonton swept the Kings and swept the Jets. A weaker goalie could have choked away a game or two in both series, and the Oilers would very likely have won anyway. That is what happens when you play on a great team, you have a bigger margin for error. You play great, you win, you get the recognition and the first star. You play OK, you usually still win anyway. You play terrible, and maybe you lose, but sometimes even then your team bails you out.

Billy Smith was the same. He had some good playoff games, but the early '80s Islanders were even more dominant than the Oilers in some of those playoff years, winning games by 3, 4, 5+ goals. Their goalie could have been a lot worse, and they still would have won. So it doesn't make sense to give the goalie tons of credit and call him a "winner" or "money goalie" for mostly standing there and watching his team score, that's my point.

Anonymous said...

I still disagree sabres would of beat the habs hands down. Lafontaine had what about 160 pts that season. Mogilny had 76 goals, and fuhr was playin with a groin terror. If they were healthy they would of beaten the habs and who did they have to play next the isles and kings? That should of been's buffalo's cup that year. You made the comment at the beginning of this post about grant fuhr's big saves and how oilers were just as easy to win 6-5 as to lose 6-5. Let me ask u something how many games fuhr was playin brilliant and the oilers happened to win 4-2 5-3 ect because the team couldnt score the tyin goal so the oilers scored an empty net goal for insurance or they just scored on there chances in the 3rd cuz fuhr was playin brilliantly. Also throw that in there as considerantion then just one game goal.
And another thing different between fuhr's performance and roy's perfomrance was the team. Colorado was stacked compared to the blues. In the few seasons blues met wings in the playoffs everytime the blues won fuhr was like the number 1 star. If he wasnt blues had no chance. Can you say the same thing about roy? Colorado was stacked sakic forsberg kamensky hejduk drury tangay lemeuix deadmarsh blake bourque foot. ect ect. Safe to say they probably had a more talented team then even detroit. So how can compare's fuhrs performance to that of roy's? Who did the blues have in what 97 or 98 ? Hull courtnall turgeon and who else. They had solid d in macinnis and pronger but come on. Even the year before in 97 blues lost to the wings 4-2 and both games blues won was on fuhr's shutouts. He shut em out twice that series and the number 1 star. That whole series fuhr was awesome he just couldnt get goal support. And again fuhr's losses mostly came to stanly cup champions. Roy loses's to edmonton minnesota wild, when he has dominate teams in colorado. The worst thing ive ever seen was game 6 where he put the puck in the air showing everyone he caught it then dropped it and the wings scored. Then avs went on to lose game 6 and got whooped in game 7 i think it was 6-0. He cost him that seires by doin that when avs were in control. That was one of the worst meltdowns ever.
Also your failing to mention fuhr almost took back edmonton in 91 with out gretzky coffey kurri to the finals. Thats what nearly 400 points out of the lineup and they still almost went back.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

Again, I'm sorry to say it, but you are rewriting history. The 1997-98 St. Louis Blues led the NHL in scoring, and gave up only 25 shots per game. In 1998-99, they were 6th in goals, and allowed just 23 shots against. That is not a team being carried by its goaltender. The 1997-98 team even had more points than the so-called "stacked" Colorado Avalanche. Nevertheless, look at Fuhr's stats with the Blues:

Save percentage:
1997: Fuhr .901, League average .905
1998: Fuhr .898, League average .906
1999: Fuhr .892, League average .908

Fuhr was on the decline stage, so I don't blame him much for those results, but to claim that he was singlehandedly winning games for his team is, sorry to say, wrong. He did very well in the 1997 playoffs against a Stanley Cup-winning team, I'll give him credit for that. But beyond that he was barely average in St. Louis, even when you take into account the teams that he was playing with and against.

By the way, you are arguing that Fuhr played well because he only lost to Stanley Cup winners. Well, yet again, I'm going to bring that back to Andy Moog and claim that's exactly the same thing as Moog did for the majority of his career. Moog lost to the Islanders in 1981, the Islanders in 1983, the Oilers in 1990, and the Penguins in 1991 and 1992. It wasn't until the 1993 playoff series that you have referred to many times against Buffalo that Moog ever lost in the playoffs to a team that did not win the Stanley Cup that year. He split time in 1988 and 1989, so he can't be given the entire blame or credit for those years, but even then they lost to the Oilers in 1988 and to a very good Montreal team that went to the Finals in 1989.

Sure, Patrick Roy dropped a puck and it cost him a goal. That's a negative, certainly. But one of the worst meltdowns ever? His team was shut out in two consecutive games. Even if Roy stands on his head in both of those games, they are still very likely to lose. When a team loses because they don't score, it is not the goalie's fault, just like when a team wins because they score tons of goals, they are not winning because of the goalie. Those are the realities of a team sport.

Again, don't focus too much on a few games or events to evaluate a goalie. If I look at Patrick Roy's career, I don't even care that he dropped a puck once. That's one shot out 35,502 that Roy has faced in his career, and in the big picture it doesn't even matter. He was dominant in the playoffs in 1986, 1989, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, and 2001. He led the NHL in save percentage four times. I agree with you that most people do not realize that a lot of his success was because of his team, because he played for very good teams for most of his career. So did Fuhr, and most of the other goalies in the Hall of Fame. I'm not claiming Roy is the greatest goalie ever, as many do, but he is in the conversation, and I think it is completely unfair to slam him. He is miles ahead of Grant Fuhr in pretty much every scenario.

Re: 1993 Sabres, do not underestimate how hard it is to win the Stanley Cup. Look at 1991, for example. As you say, the Oilers and Fuhr played well, for two rounds at least. Then they ran up against a relatively weak Minnesota team. You would have expected the Oilers to beat them as well, given that they were the defending Cup champions, a better team, and had just taken out two 100 point teams in Calgary and Los Angeles. But no, the team stopped scoring, Fuhr started getting shelled (3.69, .867), and the lowly North Stars whipped the Oilers in 5 games. There is never any guarantee when it comes to the NHL playoffs. Anything can, and does, happen.

Mogilny and LaFontaine may have been playing injured, but it is tough to see how much better they could have been, since LaFontaine scored 12 points in 7 games in the playoffs and Mogilny scored 7 goals in 7 games. The Sabres were pretty much a one line team, which is rarely a formula for a Stanley Cup winner. Look at the playoff scoring:

LaFontaine, Mogilny and Hawerchuk: 36 points
Rest of the team combined: 46 points

Montreal had more points than the Sabres during the season, so did the Islanders, so did the Kings. Again, the Sabres could have won the Cup, but there is very little evidence to claim that they "should have" or "would have". You are claiming a team that finished fourth in its division and 8th in its conference and that was swept in the second round, despite its best players scoring at or above their regular season rates, should have won the Stanley Cup. That makes no sense. The only potential reason is that Fuhr was injured, but even so they should have played Hasek. I have no sympathy for a team because their goalie is injured if they have an even better goalie on the bench.

Anonymous said...

Mogilny and lafonataine werent playin injured they were injured they didnt play final 2 games. Mogilnly broke his leg in game 2 and was out rest of the series and lafontaine injured his knee same game.
And fuhr was playin with a torn groin. HOwcome fuhr took the sabres past the 1st round in 10 years his first attempt but hasek couldnt do it after what 4-5 years later past the first round when he for a few years after he took over for fuhr had relatively the same team? Next year sabres had the same team and lost to the devils. Hasek played great and in on game what he had like 60-70 saves in triple ot or something like that. But who did the devils have as scorers?????????? Randy mckay? who else that team have to put the puck in the net? Year before sabres sweeped the bruins who were second place in the nhl to the pens in total points and who were one of the highest scoring teams in the league. boston had 109 pts that season and about 4 guys who had 100 points or more in neely oats bourque and juneau and they also had some great support as well. Fuhr stole that series. And mogilny was on fire those two were the reasons why they won. If hasek was so dominant he would of won 4-5 cups by now. He didnt have the best teams in buffalo they he had good ones and never won the cup. Hes had what 4-5 years on detroit now and always a solid team yet hes only won one cup. Hes been a sen with a dominate team and yet he gets injured and misses the whole year. Hes also been on great teams but only won the cup once why? You mostly look at stats i could careless i watched many of those games.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

You want to know why Fuhr's team won and Hasek's didn't? That's an easy one. There are two parts of the score to every game: Goals against and goals for. The first a goalie can impact, and the second a goalie cannot. Against Boston in 1993, Buffalo scored 19 goals in 5 games. Against New Jersey in 1994, Buffalo scored 14 goals in 7 games (it was actually more than 8 full games played when you include OT).

Grant Fuhr, 1993: 3.11 GAA, .899 save %
Dominik Hasek, 1994: 1.61 GAA, .950 save %

Boston, 1993: 8th in the NHL in goals
New Jersey, 1994: 2nd in NHL in goals

First you claimed that Moog choked that series away, and now you say that Fuhr stole it. I think you were a lot closer to being right the first time.

By the way, the 1994 New Jersey Devils were a very good offensive team. They had a balanced scoring attack, with 9 guys with 15 or more, and 14 players with 10+ goals. That's why they were second in the league in scoring. I doubt a goalie has ever had a better series and still ended up on the losing team than Dominik Hasek in 1994. There haven't been many winning goalies who have had better series than that either. But his team didn't score. Must have been his fault, I guess.

Hasek should have won 4-5 Cups? Are you serious? It is not easy to win Stanley Cups! Especially now with 30 teams in play as opposed to just 21 when Fuhr was winning them on one of the most stacked teams in recent memory. The Oilers could have been the last dynasty ever. Hasek played in a different era, with greater expansion, free agency, and now the salary cap, all of which make it much harder to build a team to win multiple Cups Again, you need a great team to win a Cup. Without that, you won't win. Almost every time a goalie has dragged an upset team to the Finals, they ended up losing to a much better team, including Hasek in 1999. Hockey is a team sport, goalies are part of the team. You cannot give all the credit or blame to the goaltender.

Another reason why Hasek only has one Cup is that he came over the NHL late. The last time Grant Fuhr won a Stanley Cup as a starting goalie, he was 26 years old. The first time Hasek played a game in the Stanley Cup playoffs, he was 26 years old. If Fuhr broke in at the same age Hasek did, he may never have won a Stanley Cup.

Of course I watch games, and Hasek is the best goalie I have ever seen. He isn't anymore, but he is old. In his prime, he was the best. Maybe he was on an elite team, he may have won multiple Cups, who knows. All I know is that he has played in two playoff seasons on great teams, both late in his career, and he has one Cup and one Conference Final appearance. Not too shabby.

Anonymous said...

Ok there look at the fuckin teams they went up against in 93 and 94 give me a break. How many top scorers did the devils have and u say it was one of the best playoff series ever. Fuhr allows his teams to play run and gun. When hasek was the goalie in detroit when they were losing to the avs 3-2 in the series he was complaining in practice that they were giving up to many odd man rushes. Federov told him to shut up and just play. Even in the year he left the redwings yzermen and shannahan were shooting pucks at his head in practice on purpose which led to his dismise. What about mathew barnaby wanting to run him over in practice after he got there coach fired that year, this guys a fruit cake. Hes had great teams and if hes the best ever as u claim he is he should have more cups cuz like i said hes on detroit where he doesnt need to be spectacular just avg to win. And also he was on ottawa hes been on talented teams as well and hasnt won stanly cups. The one year he did win the cup he didnt get 35 shots on goal or more in every playoff game he faced that year, hes overrated because his best seasons came in the dead era of the nhl when it comes to scoring. When he did play nhl in the 80's international tournaments ect with that wide open style and alot smaller equipment his gaa and save percentage were as any goalie in that era as the canada cup proves it. You said he was only 22 years old in the 87 canada cup, yeah so what fuhr was only 24.
And one more thing about 8th and 4th in nhl goals what in the shortened lock out season. Who had the superstars and better players, u got to be kidding me right? Neely oats juneau, bourque, poulin. against who a so called balanced scoring team with no name players whatever. Reason why sabres couldnt score cuz of a guy named martin broduer who went save for save at the other end.

Anonymous said...

Haseks gaa in the 80's and hes not even playin the nhl level.

81-82 HC Pardubice CZECH 3.09
82-83 HC Pardubice CZECH 2.67
83-84 HC Pardubice CZECH 2.81
84-85 Czechoslovakia CANADA CUP 4.00
84-85 HC Pardubice CZECH 3.25
85-86 HC Pardubice CZECH 3.08
86-87 HC Pardubice CZECH 2.46
86-87 Czechoslovakia WORLD 2.19
87-88 Czechoslovakia CANADA CUP 3.33
87-88 HC Pardubice CZECH 2.60
87-88 Czechoslovakia OLYMPICS 4.98


These are not great numbers by any stretch of the imagination it says the number of games he played but not how many wins and losses he has. If this is his avg and in the 1980's in czeh leagues what would of happened if he played in the wide open nhl????????/

Here is his 1991 canada cup numbers
5 gps 300 mins 1 w 4 l 1 T GAA 3.60
save .871

Look at his numbers in the 80's with more wide open play and smaller equipment they werent even good in international play or even in the czeck leagues and he would of been awesome in the nhl and he would of adjusted his style? Anymore excuses u going to make for him. I should start a page that hasek is a fraud. Heck lookin at these numbers if he did play in the 80's he probably would of played so bad he would of got kicked out of the nhl.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

The shots in the series were 261 for New Jersey, 198 for Buffalo. Game 7 was 46-18 New Jersey in shots, and the final score was 2-1. That's not "save for save", that's "one save for every 2.6 saves Hasek makes". New Jersey was the better team, that's why they won. They were very good, and good at scoring as well. Surely you've heard of Scott Stevens, Stephane Richer, John MacLean, Valeri Zelepukin, Bernie Nicholls, Scott Niedermayer, Bill Guerin, Claude Lemieux, and Bobby Holik? That's a solid and deep scoring attack. The Bruins had Oates, Juneau, Bourque, Neely for a few games when he wasn't hurt, and a few guys having career seasons (30 goals from Dmitri Kvartalnov??). The Devils were at least as good as the Bruins in scoring, as shown by the fact that they finished second in the league in goals in the regular season and went to the Conference Finals and won the Cup the next season.

Why do you focus on the stars so much? I don't understand it. Do you think hockey is a four person game - the top line and the goaltender, and they alone determine the win? That's why the Devils have won so many games in the last decade - they play a great team game. Hockey is a team sport, I don't know how many times I can say that. If your team sucks, you lose, no matter how good you are or what position you play.

Hasek is a fruit cake. I agree with you. It doesn't mean he's not an amazing goalie. The first time he was on a great team, he won the Stanley Cup. Yes, he was on Ottawa, but he never played in the playoffs because he was hurt. With Hasek in the lineup, Ottawa was the best team in the league. Without him, they got whipped by Buffalo. Hasek has only twice been in the playoffs with elite teams, and he won one Cup. That is a good percentage.

Grant Fuhr won Cups in 1987 and 1988 only playing one game where he faced over 35 shots. He never faced more than 33 shots in a non-overtime game with St. Louis. It's not rare to win when playing on a good defensive team like Hasek did, in fact nearly every Cup winning goalie does so.

Hasek's best years came in the dead era because that's when his career happened. How is that his fault? He absolutely dominated those years. He dominated when getting shelled on brutal Sabres teams, and he dominated on strong Detroit teams. He led the league in save percentage every season he played as a starting goalie in the 1990s. It is illogical and ridiculous to say that a guy who was so good would have been driven out of the league because there were a few more scoring chances per game. Look at 1993-94, which wasn't even the dead era yet: Hasek gave up 1.95 goals per game, Fuhr gave up 3.68. That's almost half as many goals as Fuhr gave up! Of course he would have been a great goalie in the 1980s.

You posted a bunch of GAAs from the 1980s. GAAs mean absolutely nothing without context. You don't know how many shots he faced, what the league average was, or how good his teams were. I do know how good his international teams were, and they were not very good at all. The mid-80s Czechoslovakia teams were weak. They finished last in the 1984 Canada Cup and last in the 1991 Canada Cup. Their best finish in a best-on-best tournament was 4th in 1987. At the international level, the weaker teams get crushed by teams like the Soviet Union and Canada, so it is very hard for their goalies to have great stats. In world championships, Hasek did pretty well, and was named the top goaltender at the world championships in 1987 and 1989. In your list of GAAs all of the ones over 3.25 are from international play. His season stats look very good, actually. Remember, guys like Fuhr were putting up GAAs around 4 in the NHL at the same time.

Hasek was named the best goalie in the Czech league from 1986 through 1990. He was named the best player in the league in 1987, 1989, and 1990. He also won two league championships. He owned the Czech league. He was the best goalie outside of the NHL before he came over after the end of communism, and he soon became the best goalie in the NHL as well.

I started this blog hoping to name several big-name goalies as frauds, but I never thought I'd ever hear someone claim that Hasek was a fraud. Hasek is probably the most dominant goalie to ever play in the history of hockey. If he is a fraud, then so is every goalie who has ever played the game.

Anonymous said...

Who cares about czech leagues. And his gaa and save percentage sucked and that was in the czech leagues that probably isnt good enough for nhl farm systems leagues at that team and probably bad as some beer leagues.
It doesnt say the amount of shots he had i can look for them though but his gaa was around 3. If he played in the nhl and the type of scorers they had then with wide open style dont u think his gaa would be around 4? You made the comment mid-80's czech teams were weak and he still had a gaa over 3 whats that sayin. The equipment was also twice as small as hes use to wearing with buffalo.
Detroit red wings before hasek came won with mike vernon who was great, but also with chris osgood for cyin out loud who in the same playoffs let in game winners from centre ice. How much did hasek really improve that team if he did at all?
They had the same core groups of players when hasek took over plus other great youngsters on that team.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

You brought up the Czech leagues, that's the only reason I went there. But you can't make false claims about what he did there either - in his last 4 seasons in Czechoslovakia Hasek's GAAs were 2.46, 2.99, 2.71, and 2.13. Again, we don't know what his save percentages were, but those stats look pretty solid to me.

I don't know what his GAA would have been in the NHL if he came over earlier, because GAA depends mostly on what team you play on. If he played for a terrible team like Vancouver or Toronto, then maybe his GAA would have been around 4. If he played for Boston, Philadelphia or Montreal, then there is no way his GAA would have been over 3.50, because they had great defenses. That is why GAA isn't a very useful stat, it is very dependent on the number and quality of shots faced.

Again, Hasek was 37 years old when he won the Stanley Cup, he was no longer an elite goalie. He was pretty good, but certainly past his prime. I am not giving Hasek lots of credit for that Stanley Cup, because he won it with a great team. I am just pointing out that you need a very good team to win. Hasek did not have great teams in Buffalo, and he did very well individually but did not have much team success. He finally went to a great team, and he won. It's not a great mystery why he finally won, his teammates were a lot better. In 1999, Hasek was amazing but his team lost. In 2002, Hasek was merely decent, and his team won. What does that tell you? The team is far more important than the goaltender when it comes to winning in the playoffs.

That is why it is so pointless to use Stanley Cups as a measure of goaltender success. It almost entirely depends on the team rather than the individual goaltender.

I might be starting a whole new argument here, but Mike Vernon was not "great". He was an average goalie who played on some powerhouse teams. His backups had better stats than he did, and his save percentages were very average. If you judge Vernon based on his team success, you are definitely giving him far too much credit.

Anonymous said...

Brian Hayward
86-87 Montreal Canadiens 2.81
87-88 Montreal Canadiens 2.86
88-89 Montreal Canadiens 2.90

Roy
85-86 Montreal Canadiens 3.35
86-87 Montreal Canadiens 2.93
87-88 Montreal Canadiens 2.90
88-89 Montreal Canadiens 2.47

Raciot
91-92 Montreal Canadiens 3.20
92-93 Montreal Canadiens 3.39
93-94 Montreal Canadiens 4.44

Roy
91-92 Montreal Canadiens 2.36
92-93 Montreal Canadiens 3.20
93-94 Montreal Canadiens 2.50
94-95 Montreal Canadiens 2.97
95-96 Montreal Canadiens 2.96
Colorado Avs 2.68
96-97 Colorado Avs 2.32
97-98 Colorado Avs 2.39
98-99 Colorado Avs 2.29

Billington
96-97 Colorado Avs 2.65
97-98 COlorado Avs 2.33
98-99 Colorado Avs 2.87

Heck roys numbers isnt that much better then billington and billington if u check up on those seasons had better save percentages. Billington played about 20-24 games a season while back up with avs.


Aibesher
00-01 Colorado Avs 2.24
01-02 Colorado Avs 1.88
02-03 Colorado Avs 2.43


Patrick roy
00-01 Colorado Avs 2.21
01-02 Colorado Avs 1.94
02-03 Colorado Avs 2.18

Aibesher avg 22 to 23 games a season as roys back ups lok at his gaa. Heck go check the stats check his wins and save percentage.

Since fuhr's a fraud his back ups won as much as he did. What about patrick roy. From his stats you can say the same thing about him cant you? So i guess his gaa and save percentage being good later on in his career was the result of his team not really him since his backups besides "red light" racicot usually put up the same numbers he did.

Wheres the thread roy is a fraud?
Fuhr did have better teams in edmonton first 10 11 years but montreal was also a pretty good team, then roy moved on to colorado. Safe to say most part of his career roy has been on better teams year in year out then fuhr.

Oh and on ranford winning the cup fuhr wasnt the back up, pokey reddick was the back up that year fuhr was out for the most of the season and entire playoffs with should injury which required reconstructive surgeory or he probably would of been the goalie. The next season he did take over from ranford and oilers almost went back to the finals with out gretz coffey and kurri.

Anonymous said...

And again if hasek had a gaa over 3 in the czeck leagues which was equivalent to the beer leagues talent wise in the 80's compared to the nhl he would of got murdered in that era as even his world cup of hockey from 84-87-91 shows.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

Nice work on Patrick Roy. I have done a lot of similar analysis myself recently, looking at how well a goalie did compared to the other goalies he played with, you can read about it in my recent posts. You are correct that some of Roy's backups had similar statistics, but overall Roy did pretty well compared to his teammates:

Patrick Roy, career: 2.54 GAA
Patrick Roy, backups: 2.94 GAA

After adjustments to league average and a few other things, I estimate Roy to have been 7.3% better than his backups in goals per game. This is far from the best, however, although it is still much better than Grant Fuhr, who I estimate to be 2.2% worse than his backups in terms of adjusted goals per game. Roy also won 11% more often than his backups did, whereas Fuhr lost 3% more often than his backups.

I do agree with you that Roy is overrated by almost everyone, and the reason is the strength of his teams. This is why I haven't been arguing in favour of Roy in this thread, but for Dominik Hasek. And do you know who is the best ever based on comparing against his teammates? It's Hasek.

Hasek not only dominated the league in terms of save percentage, he also massively outplayed his teammates. The numbers are very clear that Hasek is one of the greatest of all-time. I don't know why you keep claiming that he would have been a weak goaltender in a 1980s style NHL, because that is completely unsupported.

In fact, it is the opposite. Hasek could have signed with Chicago in 1987, and he would have become as a rookie the third highest paid player on his team, which shows that NHL scouts obviously thought the Czech league was a little bit better than the beer leagues. Listen to the broadcasters in international games in the 1980s and they speak about Hasek as one of the best goalies in the world, which is because he was. Another commentor on this blog has mentioned several times that Hasek is the only modern goalie who would for sure have at least matched Fuhr's playoff record in terms of Cup wins, and he is an Oiler fan. And as I mentioned before, Hasek played the 1995-96 season where he faced the most shots per game of any goalie in the league (and more shots per game than Fuhr had to face in any season of his career except 1985-86) on a team that didn't even make the playoffs and where his backups combined for only an .896 save percentage, and yet Hasek still led the league in save percentage. So he obviously played very well in many games where he faced a lot of scoring chances.

You're right that there are other goalies who are overrated because of their teams. I've researched and written about some of them, but there are many that I just haven't gotten to yet, so it's not like I'm just singling out Grant Fuhr for criticism. However, Hasek is very definitely not one of those goalies.

Anonymous said...

Come on man how can you cmopare roy and fuhr together because roy did a little better then his backups then fuhr did.
Roys backups were hayward, roy's gaa was better then his backups due to one man another one of his backups "red light" racicot, hence the name then he had craig billington and david aibescher. Aibescher is the only decent goalie and hes just that decent.
Fuhr had moog, ranford, potvin, hasek. All 4 of those guys were all-stars one time or another. Ranford cup conn smythe, moog went to the finals with bruins few times, potivin an all star when he was in toronto. So how can u compare?
I never seen hasek play in the czeck leagues but i seen his stats and they werent good. If he played in the nhl with alot more talent in the 80's i dont think his numbers would of been that good to tell u the truth.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

How do you compare? Simple, you adjust for the talent level of the backup goalies. That's part of the formula I use to calculate it. Look at the stats I posted above for Roy: He let in 14% fewer goals per game than his backups in total, and as I mentioned I rate him as being 7% better than his backups. This is because of correcting to league average and because he often played with weaker backup goalies. As you state, his teammates weren't often that great.

Fuhr let in 6% more goals per game than his backups did. Yes, some of his backups were pretty good, so that, plus a few other factors, gets adjusted down to 2%. That even may be slightly understating it as well. However, a typical starting goalie gives up 5% fewer goals than his backups do, so Fuhr isn't even close to a typical number there, and that for me raises a large red flag that there were some strong team factors involved in his success.

I agree that the situations are different, but that doesn't mean you can't compare, it just means you need to take that into account.

You haven't seen enough stats from Hasek in Czechoslovakia to claim they aren't good. All you've seen are his GAAs, which mean nothing at all on their own. If all you have is a GAA and don't know any of the the goalie's save percentage, the strength of his team, the stats of the other goalies on his team, the number of shots he faced per game, his rank in the league, the league goalscoring average, or the overall relative strength of the league, you just can't make any conclusions at all.

It would be like me saying that Grant Fuhr's career AHL GAA was 3.63 (which it was) and using that to claim something about how good he was. That stat is correct, but I don't know how good his teams were, I don't know the league averages, I don't know anything about those numbers. GAAs are very team-dependent, and mean nothing outside of context. If we had more information we could look deeper into Hasek's Czech numbers, but we don't. So I'm going to choose to rely on his multiple Czech league MVPs and best goalie awards, and the fact that he subsequently dominated the NHL like nobody else before him, to guess he would have been a decent goalie in the NHL as well. Call me crazy, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Vintage fuhr http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=le8ITY8WEuY
against the russians. Throughout the series the russians had way better puck control and scoring chances then canada, this is just a squence for a game going on few mins. The russians made canada's d look like swiss cheese no joke.

And also in my opinion one of the best all around players ever to play the game in his prime dougieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee gilmour.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wl_gMpo8xkQ

Anonymous said...

This is way old - and probably won't be viewed. But...I actually really enjoyed this.

I am a huge Grant Fuhr fan, and I have always been a staunch defender of Fuhr. I grew up watching the Oilers, and loving it all. And I was willing to take on every opponent who suggested Fuhr wasn't as good as Roy. I would always bypass the statistical arument and cite the video evidence. Because yes....virtually every game, you could watch Fuhr make saves he should not have made. It was astounding. But then, 5 shots later, he would let in a soft goal. And it's true.

In recent years, I have come to a mature (and humbling) conclusion that Grant Fuhr was not the best goaltender ever. He didn't play the game the way modern goaltenders are now forced to play, where technique and positioning rule over athleticism and reflexes. His appeal and recognition could never be measured by statistics. He was mediocre, if not poor, when stacked up against teammates and opponents of his era. Yet...why was he heralded so greatly? Was he any good at all?

I am a goaltender myself - I've played against other guys who are obviously less athletic; slower, clumsier...and frankly, a little 'out of shape'. And yet...they've been trained, whereas I have not. And they are way better than me, because they've learned how to stop pucks the 'right way'. They say, a good goaltender is one who is not forced to make a miraculous save, but is in position to make the save look easy. And this is what it comes down to - the job of the goaltender is to STOP PUCKS.

If you look back, it is obvious the game took a real change in the 80's. The old style of hockey was changing with the emergence of the high flying Oilers. And the defensive aspect of the game HAD TO CHANGE to keep up with the faster, more skilled game. And that included everything from the STYLE of goaltending (going down, butterfly), to the equipment (did you ever see the difference in Fuhr's pads in the 80's to his last season with the Flames???), to the system of defence. Everything changed. And it became vital that a goaltender learned how to STOP PUCKS more than how to make big saves.

And Fuhr was never that 'kind' of goalie with the Oilers. He wasn't Patrick Roy, who popularized the "positional goaltender". And you could see the game slipping away from him in the early 90's. He was forced to adjust his game in order to 'resurrect' his career (in St.Louis). But he was never considered one of the 'elite' in the 90's. The game passed by Fuhr - because he was the perfect goalie for the 80's, playing for the perfect team. He was super athletic, super fast reflexes - an acrobat goaltender. And playing on the Oilers allowed him to shine. And he did...and people noticed. Yes, he was good. Not just good....he was GREAT. Everyone knew his stats weren't great - but that wasn't what made people think he was great. They saw him as a athlete, who thrived in the 'big moment'. The bigger the game, the more flash and dazzle. People were impressed to the point they didn't care if he allowed 5 goals. It was the huge glove save, the wicked leg kick, and the impossible diving blocker save that people raved about. Playoff time....he was astounding. If you watched the games....yes....he WAS a clutch goalie. He did have a knack of shutting the door in key times which allowed the team the chance to put the nail in the opponent's coffin.I truly do think Fuhr could elevate his game. His athleticism allowed it and he thrived on it.

Did he deserve the Vezina he won? Statistically, probably not. And almost won the Hart that year also (was only a few votes behind Gretz). I actually think for the first time, people put down the statistics, and acknowledge Fuhr for his athleticism, and how good he really was.

Were people naive to these facts when they called him the "best goaltender in the world" during the 80's? Were they crazy to invite him to play with the World's best players in tournaments and All-Star games? Were all the hockey minds of that time blind and delusionaly. I don't think so. He was unique and incomparable in his era...and he was a goaltender worth taking the chance on for a big game tournament. Would they expect him to get shutouts ever other game? No chance. But...Would they expect him to 'perform' and 'shine'? Absolutely. And I think it had a morale affect too. The players and the fans loved seeing him play. By my estimation...he was the most entertaining goaltender to ever play.

But that style of goaltending could only have excelled on a team like the Oilers and in an era where goaltending needed to find a 'transition' to catch up to the skill of the offensive players. When the goaltenders of the following generation came in, trained to withstand the offense, the game changed. And the mystique of Grant Fuhr came to an end.

Hasek and Richter, to me, were the last real 'acrobat' goaltenders who managed to find a way to make technique blend with acrobatic athleticism.

I often wonder - if Fuhr was trained from a junior to play the game we see today, would he have been recognized as 'one of the best'? Who knows. Maybe not. But would Ed Belfour or Brodeur or Joseph excelled in the 80's?

In conclusion - I think Fuhr was a man with the right talent, in the right era, on the right team - and we got to see a rare talent be allowed to shine. Change any of these conditions, and perhaps it never would have been.

But...I'm glad I got to watch Grant Fuhr play.

He was the best and most memorable goaltender in his day, and he will never be measured by convention. To this day, I will say....I would take Grant Fuhr in his prime as my goaltender for game 7 of the Stanley Cup...any day.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe it hasn't been brought up till now, but do you young'ns realize how banged up Fuhr was in the later part of his career? Grant not only had 2 bad knees, but he separated his shoulder no less than 3 times over the course of his career, with the infamous Pronger/Kyprios incident from 1996 being the final straw. And another 4 or 5 surgeries on the same knee because it was never the same.

You want to know why Grant was tailing off after his 30s, well he was held together with duct tape and gum. And, not that it's any excuse, but how hard was it on his body recovering from the substance abuse situation?

I'll always remember Wayne Gretzky's autobiography: "...With the game on the line, if I could have only one goaltender in the whole world, I'd take Grant every time..."

And call me old-school, but I'll take Gretz's word on anything, any day of the week and twice on Sundays...

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