Damien Cox, who has been known in the past to massively overrate the impact of goalies in hockey (which may explain his enthusiastic support of Marty Brodeur as the best ever), is at it again.
Here is the money quote:
"There have been many who have suggested the sport shouldn't be called hockey, but rather, goalie. The identity of the player who fills the crease, after all, is the major determing factor when it comes to the success or failure of a hockey club."
That must be great news, then, for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who currently sit 4th in the NHL in save percentage behind Mike Smith's goaltending. With that kind of production at such an overwhelmingly important position, they must be having a great season. Oh, wait.
Other top-10 save percentage teams languishing at the bottom of the standings include Phoenix, Ottawa and Florida. Meanwhile, the two best teams in the league are San Jose and Detroit, with their scintillating .906 and .892 save percentages respectively. I guess there must be other factors at work in NHL games other than goaltending! Who knew?
Correlation of goals for and winning percentage in 2008: .611
Correlation of save percentage and winning percentage in 2008: .374
If we are going to rename hockey, I think "scoring" should rank a lot higher on the list than "goalie".