Wednesday, October 29, 2008

2 Major Records ≠ Destroying the Record Book

Who does journalist Damien Cox think is the most dominant goaltender of the modern era?

If you guessed that it was the goalie who is likely to break the career wins and shutouts records this season, and whose autobiography Cox co-wrote, well, you don't win a prize.

Cox goes on to refer to Brodeur's alleged "destruction of the NHL record books" and argues that 6 early regular season games prove Brodeur deserves the starting job at the 2010 Olympics. If I was someone like Cox who placed a heavy emphasis on team stats like wins and shutouts, I might be more concerned by Brodeur's 13-16 record in the Olympics and NHL playoffs combined since the lockout. I might even suggest that to be a more important sample than shutouts against Atlanta in October, but I'm not a mainstream journalist so what do I know?

My standard response to the "OMG, Brodeur is the Gretzky of goaltending and is going to smash every single goalie record eva!!1!!1!" school of thought continues to be this: How come Martin Brodeur doesn't hold a single record for GAA or save percentage, including career, single season, career playoff, or single playoff marks, as well as times leading the league in either?

With respect to that last one, times leading the league, something that I think most reasonable people would consider to be important evidence when considering who has been the most dominant, Brodeur has only ever led the league once in GAA and has never led the league in save percentage. Let's compare that to some of his contemporaries: Roy led 3 times in GAA and 4 times in save percentage, Hasek led twice in GAA and 6 times in save percentage, and even Belfour led twice in GAA and twice in save percentage. You can make a case for Brodeur as an all-time great, but then you should be using the words "longevity", "reliable", "durable", "valuable" and "team success". And unless you want to remind everyone of this guy, both in terms of his name and his play, you should probably stay away altogether from the word "dominant".

29 comments:

Bruce said...

"Winning is what I need, and winning is what the team needs."
-- Martin Brodeur

What? Does this mean shot quality neutral save percentage isn't what he needs?

overpass said...

I agree with you that Brodeur has never played at a high enough level to justify the "best of all time" accolades that are coming in now. It's strangely fascinating to see a consensus forming that is, to me at least, so clearly incorrect. I think there are two main reasons for this.

1. Longevity
There's no doubt that Brodeur's longevity and durability are almost unique among goaltenders. This, as much as skill in stopping the puck, is leading to his current assault on the goaltender counting records.

As your last post said, competition in goal is fierce, due to the fact that only above-average play has value. This makes it harder for goalies to earn a job early and to hold on to it in their late career. As a result, few goalies have very long careers, and Brodeur stands out here. The main factor is that he won a starting job at the age of 21. While he deserves some credit for that, he certainly had the good luck to be in the right situation here - he could have been playing in Chicago for Mike Keenan, for example.

2. Counting Stats Rule
The other factor is that counting stats rule when it comes to player evaluation for most fans and journalists. This works well enough for skaters most of the time, as points scored approximates offensive value fairly well. There are still problems with era adjustments, but within eras the general consensus on the top offensive players is pretty good.

On the other hand,counting stats for goalies are incredibly team-dependent. There isn't any counting stat related to SV%, or even GAA, that you can easily look up the all-time leaderboard. If there were, then Brodeur might be seen as behind Hasek and Roy still, but unfortunately this isn't the case.

Personally, I think picking Martin Brodeur over Dominik Hasek is like picking Ron Francis over Mario Lemieux. Sure, one guy played very well for a long time and put up huge counting stats, but the other guy was simply the best player every time he stepped on the ice, even if he wasn't on the ice as often. Everyone recognizes Lemieux as the better player in this comparison. It's too bad they don't hold goalies to the same standard.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

“Definitely the way that the Devils have been playing as far as the system is concerned, it’s pretty rare I’m going to get into these big shootout with like having to stop 45 shots one night, travel somewhere else and have to kill 12 penalties. We’re a pretty structured team. Games are not maybe as hard as other teams’. When you have a good team year in and year out, I think it makes it fun to play a lot of games.”
--Martin Brodeur

Bruce: Would you use the word "dominant" to describe Martin Brodeur, as Cox did in his article? Nobody is saying Brodeur isn't efficient or valuable or durable or anything of that sort, but "dominant"? What do you think?

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

Interesting you picked that comparison, overpass, as it's exactly the same one I used in a previous post:

"I will never understand how people rank Marty ahead of the Dominator. That is like rating Ron Francis ahead of Mario Lemieux."

I think the career totals are the primary reason. I've seen a few polls from the early 2000s (like this one from around when Roy retired) and Brodeur was not even close to a serious candidate for the best goalie spot. Roy and Hasek were crushing him. Three seasons later (which contained two Vezina trophies, sure, but both of them by the slimmest of margins, as well as an Olympic disappointment and underwhelming playoff results), Brodeur is suddenly the best of all time?

There is a surprising amount of reverence for the career wins and shutouts records, especially the shutouts mark (which may well be the most overrated record in all of professional sports, given how overwhelmingly era- and team-dependent it is).

Anonymous said...

Nice quote, Brodeur. But if, throughout your entire career, you had the save pct. of an elite goalie, you would've had 50+ wins per yr & the Devils may have won several more Cups.

overpass said...

CG, I guess we were thinking along the same lines, regarding the comparison. Francis is a good example of a long-career player who was never great.

I think the Lemieux-Hasek comparison is apt. At their peaks, they were each arguably the greatest of all time at their position, but weren't able to match the career totals of less-dominant players for one reason or another. Part of Lemieux's perceived edge is probably the fact that he led his team to the Cup in his prime, and Hasek's Cup came on a stacked team past his prime.

Francis is an unflattering comparison for Brodeur, as he was never an elite (top 10) player. I suspect many Brodeur supporters would say that underrates Brodeur. Steve Yzerman and Mark Messier would be more flattering comparisons for Brodeur. Both, like Brodeur, were long-career, consistent producers who were top players on multiple Cup winners.

However, even these more favourable comparisons are ranked below Lemieux by almost everyone. I would guess that most Brodeur supporters rank Lemieux over Yzerman and Messier. Why Brodeur over Hasek? Like you say, the narrow focus on career totals for goalies is likely a major reason.

That poll you linked to is very interesting. I suspect some of the love for Brodeur right now comes from a lack of historical perspective, also known as the "What have you done for me lately?" syndrome. It's the same thing that had Pierre McGuire listing Scott Niedermayer as the seventh greatest defenceman of all time after Anaheim won the Cup. Roy's greatest accomplishments were a decade or more ago and Hasek is a shell of his former self, but Brodeur is posting shutouts and winning Vezina trophies right now, and that makes it tougher for a lot of people to get perspective, I think.

Anonymous said...

brodeur holds the record for lowest career playoff gaa at 1.96

Anonymous said...

and this is even after a bunch of "subpar" playoff performances

Anonymous said...

1.96? You still have to adjust for era. 1/2 of Brodeur's career has been in the so-called "dead puck era" (very low scoring; even lower in the playoffs)

Compare 1.96 to the high-flying 80's. It's the same reason why the leading playoff scorer had 35-45 pts in the 80's, but only in the low/mid 20's now.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

brodeur holds the record for lowest career playoff gaa at 1.96

That depends on your cutoffs. Compared to all goalies who ever played, 25 game minimum, Brodeur is 9th (see Hockey-Reference's list). Throw out the pre-WWII guys, and Lalime (1.77) and McNeil (1.89) still rank ahead. Now you could raise the minimums to get rid of those guys as well and put Brodeur on top, but it still won't be for long because Turk Broda (1.98) and Dominik Hasek (2.02) are right behind Brodeur, and both of them have already gone through their old age decline stage. I highly, highly doubt Brodeur keeps up a sub-2.00 GAA for the rest of his playoff career.

Anonymous said...

regardless of your view of cox or any other mainstream journalist, there is a reason for brodeur being considered the greatest. there is a reason the high majority share this opinion. there is also a a reason you are not somebody who's opinion matters enough to be published mainstream. i am sure there have been people in mainstream media who share the same views as you, but they aint talking right now.

Bruce said...

Not that a goaltender has any influence on the flow of play, but I find the pre-game comments of Ron Wilson to be pretty interesting:

"Everybody on our team understands what Marty Brodeur can do with the puck. It's just a matter of concentrating and putting the puck in the right place if we do have to let go of it and dump it in, high rims on the glass, soft little slide-ins or cross-corner dumps but keep the puck away from Marty. If he does get it go straight at him and take away his options."

That doesn't sound like an effect that will show up in his Sv%, but is sure does sound like an effect.

Bruce said...

^^^
|||
Just wanted to write that down somewhere while Wilson was still in my PVR's memory. Looking forward to watching Marty play, will try to evaluate puckhandling for at least part of the game and also watch for Leafs' tactics to counteract that weapon.

Bruce: Would you use the word "dominant" to describe Martin Brodeur, as Cox did in his article? Nobody is saying Brodeur isn't efficient or valuable or durable or anything of that sort, but "dominant"? What do you think?

Dominant is in the eye of the beholder. I think his effect is pretty subtle, but very, very positive. He's a huge part of that system he talks about in your quote, an efficent, organized player behind an efficient, organized defence. Like his team, he's pretty understated, and until very recently he's been underRated as well. But as the numbers continue to mount, they make his case as one of the elite. You can count on the Damien Coxes of the world to pump up the rhetoric occasionally, but don't blame that on Marty. Near as I can tell, he just wants to play, and win.

1. Longevity
There's no doubt that Brodeur's longevity and durability are almost unique among goaltenders. This, as much as skill in stopping the puck, is leading to his current assault on the goaltender counting records.


I agree, Overpass. Where I suspect we might disagree is the value of that unique longevity and durability, which I think is immense. He has been a fixture in the Devils net for 15 seasons, playing 70+ games every season and never missing a playoff game in all that time. He's not a showboat like Roy or a highlight reel like Hasek, he just keeps doing what he's doing, ranking among the league leaders in a broad range of categories year after year after year. So far this year, 5-2-1, 1.96, .919, 2 shutouts, business as usual.

Steve Yzerman and Mark Messier would be more flattering comparisons for Brodeur. Both, like Brodeur, were long-career, consistent producers who were top players on multiple Cup winners.

Agreed, they're much better comparables than Francis. Messier kept on going for 1992 regular season and playoff games, an NHL longevity record. Over that time he compiled some staggering numbers, retiring as the second highest scorer all-time in both regular season and post-season. Probably "most" observers would rank him behind his contemporaries Gretzky and Lemieux (although he won as many Cups as both those legends put together), but nonetheless one of the very greatest players of his era. Similarly, if you choose to rank Brodeur behind Hasek and Roy, that hardly removes him from the pantheon of Great Goalies.

Whatever, I'm sure Brodeur cares a lot less who thinks he's the Best Ever than about who wins tonight's game. That has been his focus since Day One, and I for one am pretty impressed with the results. Aren't you?

Bruce said...

First period review: Brodeur was officially credited with 13 stops, of which 2 were dangerous emergency saves and several were in traffic. What struck me was how the shots were spread out, the Leafs would get one or none in each entry of the zone rather than sustained pressure. Brodeur covered a couple of rebounds but mostly just cleared them out of danger into the corner and/or on to the stick of a teammate. Only one went to a Leaf who made a good hustle play to get it. Pierre McGuire isolated on one very fine clearance during the Leafs lone PP, in which a puck dropped on the lip of the crease until a flick of the big paddle zipped it right past the attackers and on the tape of a Devil in the high slot who was just able to walk it out. Brodeur made one stick check on a puck around his crease, and came out to handle it behind the goal line twice that I saw, one clean pass that led to an easy breakout, one simple tee up and get out of the way. Leaf shoot-ins were such that mostly he stayed in his crease while the defencemen hustled back to the corners. All in all, five or six very positive plays, a number of routine (neutral) contributions, a couple of dicey situations that could have bounced different but didn't, and a 2-0 lead.

Tonight these are just observations, CG, but I hope to develop some sort of methodology for counting such plays, and at both ends of the ice. But it will have to be video evidence rather than anything in the official stats.

Now I'm off to the World Series for awhile. First though, another "expert" opinion on this intermission question to Keith Jones:

Duthie: "You played with Patrick Roy in Colorado, you played against Marty Brodeur, Brodeur's closing in, who's better?"

Jones: "Marty Brodeur. The one thing that separates Brodeur is his great puckhandling ability, he made it so easy for the Devils' defence. In goal, both guys unbelievable, the statistics back it up, no Conn Smythes for Marty Brodeur but he made everybody else on his team better by getting back and reinventing the position of goal."

Hmmm, a little hyperbole perhaps, and you can argue who's got the better statistics, but it's clear that players and coaches alike seem to think Brodeur has an effect beyond just stopping the puck ...

Anonymous said...

maybe bruce should run this sight as he seems to have a better grip on reality

Anonymous said...

now from watching the game, brodeurs given up 3 goals right? guess that means he's had a bad game right? well thats the difference between people who watch games and really follow hockey as opposed to those who just pull up stats as the foundation for watch they think.

Bruce said...

I've seen a few polls from the early 2000s (like this one from around when Roy retired) and Brodeur was not even close to a serious candidate for the best goalie spot.

Let's have a look at that "poll", which is more like an opinion piece and which, your words to the contrary, does say nice things about Marty Brodeur while acknowledging that much of his career remained in the future:

"Roy's win totals, both in the regular season and playoffs, were achieved on the good, the bad and the ugly in terms of NHL teams."

Now to me this is pure mythology. Patrick Roy never played on any ugly teams. His team finished with a winning record every single year of his career with the exception of the lockout-shortened 1995-95 season (18-23-7). He was always on a good team, and when the Habs started to suck, he bailed on them and got traded into a great situation.

Meanwhile Brodeur supposedly benefits from playing on this "great" team, and it's true the Devils have had a winning record every year of his career. But overall their record is very similar to Roy's clubs. I did an approximate comparison, chucking out Bettman points to calculate a "adjusted Points percentage" based on two-point games across the careers of both, and I get a .600 percentage for Brodeur's Devils, and approximately .598 for Roy's Habs and 'lanche (I simply divided the 1995-96 season in which he was traded between the records of the two teams rather than take the trouble of working it out precisely). Point is that Roy's teams were NOT markedly inferior to Brodeur's ... unless you buy the twisted logic that Roy made his teams better whereas Brodeur merely benefitted from the Devils being so good. Which to me is obvious BS.

"Roy won two Stanley Cups with ordinary Montreal teams before winning two more Cups with the talent-laden Avs."

Ordinary, eh? OK, let's compare Roy's and Brodeur's first two championship teams:

1985-86 Habs:
40-33-7, .544, 7th overall
330 GF, 280 GA, +50

1992-93 Habs:
48-30-6, .607, 6th overall
326 GF, 280 GA, +46
---
1995-95 Devils:
22-18-8, .542, 9th overall
136 GF, 121 GA, +15

1999-2000 Devils
45-24-8-5, .628* (.598 sans Bettman points), 4th overall
251 GF, 203 GA, +48


The 1995 Devils were every bit as ordinary as the 1986 Habs (much more so if you place much stock in goal differential, which I do), and the 2000 Devils were about as good as the 1993 Habs.

So please, spare us the legend about the "ugly" teams Patrick Roy played on. It's simply not true. Like Marty brodeur, he was a great goalie on consistently good teams.

Bruce said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bruce said...

Sorry to keep harping on this, but on Sportscentre's hockey panel segment, Duthie asked Jones the identical question -- who's better? Roy or Brodeur? -- but Jones' answer was clearly Take 2, and a little more coherent:

"Martin Brodeur. He's going to be the best, ever, and the one thing that separates him from Patrick Roy, they're equal in saves and playing in that net, it's when he leaves the net, sets up the puck for his defencemen, his ability to calm everything down, limit the shots on net he faces because he's so good at moving the puck for his team."

Now "expert" is in the mind of the beholder, Jones is just a former player cum talking head with a penchant for run-on sentences, not a sophisticated couch potato like us. :) A solid argument could be advanced that he is at least a little off base in "they're equal in saves", and there will surely be howls of protest at the "he's going to be (?) the best ever" (with the future tense presumably referring to whatever gaudy numbers Brodeur will post before he's done providing the last spike in the debate). I don't entirely agree with him on either point, I can assure you, although I do understand where he's coming from.

That aside, I find his repeated emphasis on puckhandling, and especially the connection to shot reduction to be ver-ry interesting. Not sure I've heard their relationship as cause and effect enunciated quite so clearly on a major network before. It will be obvious to any who have been following this ongoing discussion for any length of time that I agree with Jones on this point.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

Bruce, you missed the point with that poll link. I agree the article is shallow and unenlightened (this is the Hockey News, after all), but I was referring to the poll results in the box beside the article, where they surveyed 41 writers and did a fan poll as to who was the best goalie ever. Roy won going away in both polls, with Hasek 2nd with the writers and 3rd with the fans.

You don't have to convince me that Roy played on great teams. Remember when I did that comparison to backup study, and Roy came out as having been outplayed by his backup goalies, and I posted something like, "I don't think it is fair to say Roy was a below-average goalie" and you thought it was the understatement of the year? I did an entire post already dedicated to shooting down the myth at Roy won his Stanley Cups singlehandedly. That Roy played on great teams was obvious.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

That doesn't sound like an effect that will show up in his Sv%, but is sure does sound like an effect.

I don't doubt there is an effect. My question all along has been how big of an effect? A couple goals saved per week, per month, per season, what? That is a very difficult question to answer, I know because I have worked it on it as well. Just because coaches focus on it does not mean it is something that is a huge effect - for example, coaches go out of their way to put a second centre on the ice on key defensive zone draws so that in case their first option gets thrown out then the second guy can take it. When you consider the chance of that happening and the fairly low average success rate among the best faceoff guys, that strategy has to be worth very little in terms of goals for or against. The coaching mindset is simply to grab every advantage you can.

Tonight these are just observations, CG, but I hope to develop some sort of methodology for counting such plays, and at both ends of the ice. But it will have to be video evidence rather than anything in the official stats.

I agree, I don't think we will ever be able to isolate things like puckhandling from the official stats, so the only way to evaluate it would be to manually track it from the game video. If you figure out a system and put together some data, that would certainly be very interesting to look at.

I for one am pretty impressed with the results. Aren't you?

Sure I'm impressed with his results, the guy played a long time in the best league on the planet. I have been quite impressed over the last couple of seasons because Brodeur raised his level of play at a time when his age suggests that he should be declining. However, the most overrated players are usually also pretty good players. Derek Jeter in baseball is a similar example. The reason this site exists is of course the hyperbole surrounding Brodeur (as well as the general misapplication of credit or blame because of a misvaluation of a goalie's contribution to team success).

Which leads us to Keith Jones. In my view he is simply being a lazy analyst. Instead of going and evaluating the goalies based on their abilities in a bunch of different areas, and comparing their save statistics, he is just focusing on a clear difference in skill between them in the area of puckhandling and declaring that to be the decisive tiebreaker. It is like an analyst that looks at two uneven teams, and picks the weaker team to win because they have the better goalie, i.e. disproportionately elevating one variable above everything else.

Anonymous said...

My god, imagine the difficulty for NHL-quality players to do this: "concentrating and putting the puck in the right place if we do have to let go of it and dump it in, high rims on the glass, soft little slide-ins or cross-corner dumps.."

Every goalie (& player) is different - I'm sure some coaches tell their players to randomly take long shots at certain goalies; to dump it in a certain way; to make certain types of passes; to crash the net more often, etc.

Is Brodeur 10% better than the avg goalie at puckhandling? 20%? 50%? 200%? What effect does this have on shots against? And why doesn't Brodeur just focus on saving as high a % of shots as the league leaders? (of course, since the lockout he's been near the top; prior to the lockout he wasn't that impressive)

As for Jones' analysis -- yeah, lazy. He obviously doesn't know much about math & the effect over 1,000's of shots of having a higher (or lower) relative save pct. Wouldn't be the first thin analysis I've heard from an ex-player.

Bruce said...

Bruce, you missed the point with that poll link.

Yes I did. I read the puff piece beside it and got my dander up at another reading of the Great St.Patrick Myth. You and I are on the same page on that, CG; I see your "singlehanded" piece cites goal differential in a similar manner that I did.

None of which is to deny that Roy was a fantastic goalie who belongs in any discussion of the greatest goalies of all time. He played on average teams and made them good; he played on good teams and made them great. Identical statements can be made about Brodeur, who also belongs in the same discussion, whether or not he makes it to the top of the pile in a given opinion.

As for the cited poll, I put no stock in it whatsoever. Roy and Hasek* had just retired, their statistical legacy fully matured and fresh on people's minds, and Brodeur was just finding the next gear midway through own extraordinary career. To ask such a poll question in that context is like asking today, who was the better NHLer, Jaromir Jagr or Evgeni Malkin?

Now that Brodeur's own counting numbers are starting to separate out, there will be a similar groundswell of support for him as the Best Ever. A mouthpiece like Damien Cox making grossly simplified -- and plainly wrong --absolute statements like "there won't be much discussion about it" just serves to polarize the issue. Pay him no mind. (Good catch on the co-written biography, btw)

Keith Jones ... is just focusing on a clear difference in skill between them in the area of puckhandling and declaring that to be the decisive tiebreaker.

Of course you're right, and I don't think I have been suggesting otherwise. I am less interested in Jones' opinion who is "better", and more on his emphasis on that particular difference in skill, and especially of its effect to "limit the shots against him". His comment about "calming things down" speaks to Brodeur's influence in organizing the defence. I have hammered on these attributes all along. That they are things that will never show up in Sv% is why I refuse to accept Sv% based stats as the ONLY measurement of goalies. It's one of the most important ones, maybe the most important, and I have used it myself as a quick-and-dirty measurement of minor league performace. But there is more to goaltending than stopping the puck, as you well know as an active goalie.

I don't doubt there is an effect. My question all along has been how big of an effect?

And that's been my question all along too. The only answer I'm prepared to offer at this point is "non-zero", and even such an imprecise statement as that serves to shake the foundation of the concept of Sv% as the be-all and end-all, an over-simplied trap that even some sophisticated stats guys occasionally fall into.

But we've been around that mulberry bush before; without closer observation and new data, perhaps along the lines of the extremely preliminary analysis in the comments above, I don't think we're close to an answer to "how big the effect?" But if former opponents consider it a game-changing skill and present-day coaches are making game plans to counteract it, certainly I accept that as at least anecdotal evidence that it's pretty important. The simple effect of getting into opponents' heads that they have to change their approach makes it important before Marty even touches the puck.

As a final aside, Wilson's strategy apparently worked. Of all the nights to look at Brodeur I could hardly have found a more atypical one ... 48 shots against?? His foes can point to the fact that he couldn't win with 5 goals of support -- like that happens often! -- and his fans can say he stole a standings point despite his team being outshot 48-25. Both would be right ... and such is the ambiguous nature of observing and interpreting hockey.

Anonymous said...

not being able to quantify puckhandling skill is difficult but not impossible. it is pretty apparent that is decreases shots, and it is a huge advantage. i dont know why you try to deny this. if a team changes its entire gameplan because of a players skill, then that is tremendous. look at barry bonds during the early 2000's. teams changed their entire gameplan because of his presence. he took a mediocre team to the world series. and this is in baseball were he only bats 3-5 times a game. an opposing team in hockey encounters brodeur every time they have the puck past the redline.

Anonymous said...

Teams change their gameplans - to a greater or lesser extent - every single game... every single shift, really. Depends on the players on the ice, situation, etc.

"Decreases shots"... by how many per game? And the shots would probably decrease only to the extent that the opposition's offensive plays are not changed to account for Brodeur's strengths. In other words, if they don't follow their revised gameplan.

How often does a team get the puck back when dumping the puck in? (vs. a 'regular goalie', vs. Brodeur) How often does a goalie get out of position by leaving the net to puckhandle or go get the puck?

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

To ask such a poll question in that context is like asking today, who was the better NHLer, Jaromir Jagr or Evgeni Malkin?

Sure, that is a good analogy, if Malkin had played 10 seasons in the NHL, won 3 Stanley Cups and one Olympic gold medal, had better career counting stats than Jagr, and for the past two seasons in a row had been voted the best at his position in the NHL.

Sorry, Bruce, but that was simply a very poor comparison. At the time of the poll (Nov 2004), Martin Brodeur had 403 career wins and 75 career shutouts. Dominik Hasek had 296 wins and 63 shutouts. Hasek still crushed him in the voting. Has Brodeur really outplayed Hasek by that much over the last 3 seasons to change that ranking?

I've been taking a look at the shots against issue, and will shortly have a post up on the topic relating to Brodeur. I agree with Bruce that the effect is very probably "non-zero", but I still flatly reject the notion that Brodeur is saving multiple shots per game compared to everybody else, or that a strong puckhandling goalie represents a "huge advantage".

Anonymous said...

Maybe Mr. Cox should have argued that Brodeur should be Canada's top goalie for the olypmics because over the past 3 seasons and into this season Brodeur leads the 5 candidates (Luongo, Ward, Mason, and Fleury) in all categories on a per game basis except for shutouts. He has the highest save percentage of the bunch, highest win percentage, lowest GAA, and is 2nd in shutout percentage only to Mason, who has a smaller sample size. When you factor in playoff games, Fluery has the highest win percentage and Luongos save percentage overtakes Brodeur's .920 to .919. So Canada has the decision to make - who is a better bet a guy with a .920 save percentage and some World Cup/World Championship golds, or a guy with 3 cups and an olympic gold medal, along with the most wins and 2nd most shutouts all time, 15 NHL records, 4 vezinas, etc. It is easy to see that although Brodeur has aged, his numbers have not declined and they are still among the best that Canadian goalies have to offer, but what he can offer beyond the other goalies is an unmatched level of experience. Luongo has 11 playoff wins to his name over 8 nhl seasons and is being outplayed by his backup this year and has a lingering injury. I guess Daimen Cox didn't really mention all of this but I have a feeling that Canada's GMs probably notice this.

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