Monday, June 1, 2009

What to Make of Chris Osgood

I'm a stats guy. I think that style doesn't really matter and that flashy play is just a distraction and that the only thing that matters is whether the goalie makes the save or not. I like ranking goalies by their save percentages while ignoring their win totals. And yet there is a guy in the playoffs who has a .930 save percentage for the second year in a row and plays a steady, non-flashy style and by my count is 6 goals above average after adjusting for shot quality, and yet all my eyes keep telling me is that he is combining a well-timed personal hot streak with some fortunate bounces and some great help from his teammates.

I haven't seen every game Chris Osgood has played this playoff season, and I probably haven't seen him at his best. I do find it a little strange that a goalie can get essentially beaten on 5 shots and still get roundly praised and named the player of the game. Surely a portion of last night's first star billing should be shared with Zetterberg and the goal posts.

The shot charts are saying that Osgood is making more hay in these playoffs from not letting in the easy long shots than standing on his head against the tough ones, which makes sense to me. That's not a criticism, obviously you want your goalie to be making the easy saves. Still, given how rare it is that Detroit gets hemmed in their own end, you have to think that most of the time Ozzy is picking cherries on those shots while the guy at the other end of the ice is struggling to see through the backsides of Holmstrom and Franzen. My sense from having worked with some shot quality measures in a little more detail over this playoff season is that there is still room for improvement.

It is interesting to me that Osgood has suddenly gained a reputation as a good playoff goalie. There have even been some comparisons to guys like Billy Smith or Grant Fuhr in the media. In the event that Osgood finishes the job and pulls down the Conn Smythe Trophy, which I think is a pretty good bet to follow a Wings victory given the likely vote splitting among the skaters, I still don't really see how he fits that description. Other than the last couple of playoff seasons, there really isn't much that deserves to be called "good" in Osgood's record - it's pretty much a nice collection of averageness.

Osgood won a Cup in 1998, but he did it while getting maligned (and in my opinion justifiably so) by observers after posting only the 6th best save percentage in the playoffs that year, an unusually low mark for a Cup winner. Even leaving aside the ability of the Red Wings to play defence, one of the benefits of playing on a great team in the playoffs is a lower strength of opposition since you get to meet lower seeds in the first couple of rounds. The pre-lockout version of Osgood pretty obviously fattened his playoff stats on the also-rans before getting chewed up by the elites. I figured 95 points seemed to be a good cutoff to separate the contenders from the rest. Note the disparity:

Opponent below 95 pts: 27-11, 2.01, .917
Opponent above 95 pts: 18-26, 2.45, .905

(For reference's sake, league average in this period is about .915).

Over the last 2 playoff seasons, the Wings and Osgood have dominated all comers equally. I wonder if they don't even have a greater relative advantage now than before because of their excellent management combined with the salary cap-induced parity around the league. We have to keep in mind the point inflation from the shootout when comparing with earlier results, but as of late the combination of Detroit and Osgood hasn't had the same problem of keeping good teams from scoring against them:

Above 95 pts: 18-5, 1.74, .930
Below 95 pts: 10-3, 1.83, .927

Two good playoff runs are two good playoff runs, but I don't imagine I would find much agreement in the general population if I went back in time to March 2008 proclaiming to the world that Osgood was a clutch money goalie. I imagine I would instead get more than a few curious, if not downright sympathic, looks.

I figure we're getting close to the point where I can get a sense of somebody's ability to evaluate goalies by just asking them if they'd rather have Osgood or Luongo in net for their team in a key playoff game. If they say Ozzy, then it's time to smile and move along and save yourself the hassle.

Having said all that, I think Osgood has been pretty good in these playoffs, all things considered and my eyes notwithstanding. That doesn't mean I would wager any money on Osgood having the same success next season, though, in either the regular season or the playoffs. I'm not even sure I'd bet a whole lot on him continuing the same success in game 3. I imagine the Penguins are going to start catching some breaks or making some shots pretty soon. But maybe I'm wrong altogether and Osgood is just that good at stopping pucks / rolling the dice / playing behind Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom. As they say, that's why they play the games.

83 comments:

Justin said...

When I made a comment over at Japers Rink that Varlamov couldn't sustain a save percentage of over .940 throughout an entire playoff season, largely because nobody his age has done it before, and neither had a rookie, I got called out on the carpet for it. Granted, I shouldn't have expected any differently, that being a Caps blog and all.

I don't see this as being any different. Osgood is not a good goalie. Eventually the renewed offense from Pittsburgh has to find the chink in his armor. The difference this time is that the playoffs are almost over and done with. I'd have thought that he'd fall apart by now if he was going to at all.

Anonymous said...

Good post, although I still think you are selling Osgood short.

The best recent comparison to Ozzy is Roloson in the 2006 playoffs. I think almost all hockey observers would agree that the Oilers would have taken the Cup that year had that goalie--who had played an extremely mediocre regular season and whose previous "good" years only came behind an outstanding Jacques Lemaire defense--not been injured in game 1 of the SCFs.

A couple of games, or even a series or two, might be attributable to luck, but Osgood has had three series so far where he has played very well. So far in this year's SCFs, when he is now being tested as never before, he has been outstanding.

As for this comment:

"I figure we're getting close to the point where I can get a sense of somebody's ability to evaluate goalies by just asking them if they'd rather have Osgood or Luongo in net for their team in a key playoff game. If they say Ozzy, then it's time to smile and move along and save yourself the hassle"

all I need to point out is that Osgood is being tested much more by Pittsburgh than Luongo was by Chicago, and so far has only allowed two goals--let alone lost a game in humiliating fashion. So for this playoffs at least, the answer would be Ozzy, no question.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

"all I need to point out is that Osgood is being tested much more by Pittsburgh than Luongo was by Chicago, and so far has only allowed two goals--let alone lost a game in humiliating fashion. So for this playoffs at least, the answer would be Ozzy, no question."

That question was meant to be forward looking, i.e. who would you start in the next game? I'd agree with you that Osgood's results have been better than Luongo's in the 2009 playoffs, but the point is that is a small sample size where chance and team effects can have a big impact.

By the way, I don't agree that Pittsburgh has tested Osgood much more than Chicago tested Luongo. I have virtually identical expected goals against per game numbers for both series. The Hawks did a lot of their scoring on the power play, and Osgood has only faced 3 power play shots against so far in the Finals.

That's also not to mention that Pittsburgh has been hitting posts while the Chicago shooters made some very good shots. If the Penguins were picking corners like the Blackhawks did then Osgood would have let in a lot more than 2 goals. You can only control so much as a goaltender, sometimes the other team gets great chances and simply buries them. I don't anticipate Pittsburgh's shooting percentage will remain at 3% for the rest of the series.

Anonymous said...

"That question was meant to be forward looking, i.e. who would you start in the next game? I'd agree with you that Osgood's results have been better than Luongo's in the 2009 playoffs, but the point is that is a small sample size where chance and team effects can have a big impact."

Luongo is well above-average, at least in the regular season, no doubt. He put together a few stellar seasons on the Panthers and a few good to very-good seasons on the Canucks. Still, he has not managed to put together anything Hasek-like or Giguere-like (even now that he is on a much-better team than the Panthers), and had an absolutely horrid postseason this time around. Osgood has shown in the past two years a pretty strong knack for pulling everything mentally together in the postseason, so even in the future, given equal defense, I think I'd pick Osgood. A goalie that plays ten games at exactly .900 (although Ozzy has way exceeded that) is ultimately more valuable than one who plays six at .940 and four at .850.

"That's also not to mention that Pittsburgh has been hitting posts while the Chicago shooters made some very good shots. If the Penguins were picking corners like the Blackhawks did then Osgood would have let in a lot more than 2 goals. You can only control so much as a goaltender, sometimes the other team gets great chances and simply buries them. I don't anticipate Pittsburgh's shooting percentage will remain at 3% for the rest of the series."

Detroit has also hit a few posts, but you don't see that being mentioned. The fact that Pittsburgh is hitting more could be due to (a) bad luck, (b) quality defensive pressure from the opposition that gives the Pittsburgh shooters a little less aiming time, or (c) a panicky mindset by the Pittsburgh shooters. Likely all three are involved, but IMO it's not all that relevant since plenty of great Pittsburgh scoring opportunities ARE getting through and being swallowed up by Osgood.

If Pittsburgh were successful in picking more corners, they probably would put a few more goals in, but I suspect Osgood would also be able to grab quite a few of them the way he has been playing. Let's say hypothetically they get 3 more quality high shots in per game, resulting in another goal scored per game. That still puts them down 3-2 each of the first two games.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

Luongo did not have a "horrid" postseason. I'm still amazed that is the general perception. I rate Luongo as slightly above average in the 2009 postseason, and Hockey Numbers agrees with me.

Luongo had only 2 games where his save percentage was below .897. Two bad games (which weren't even really as bad as the results suggest, based on all the scoring chances Vancouver gave up and the goals that actually went in) do not make a terrible playoffs.

If you look at the expected goals against, Luongo had 2 games where he let in 12 goals when the shot chart suggets he should have let in around 7, and he had 8 games where he should have let in 21 goals and actually let in 14. Vancouver only outshot their opponents twice in 10 playoff games, and probably didn't lose a single game in the entire playoffs where they weren't outchanced.

The main difference was on special teams. If Osgood had faced the same kind of power play chances against that Luongo was facing, Ozzy would have been lit up just as bad. Osgood is a dreadful 68/84 on the PK these playoffs, while Luongo was 60/69 in 8 fewer games.

Let's take Osgood's situational save percentages so far in the playoffs (.952/.810/1.000) and apply them to Luongo's situational shot distribution (22.8/6.9/0.7). What do we get? A .921 save percentage. Compare that to Luongo's actual final save percentage of .914, and you get a sense of the importance of special teams factors.

"A goalie that plays ten games at exactly .900 (although Ozzy has way exceeded that) is ultimately more valuable than one who plays six at .940 and four at .850."

This is probably false if you are the Vancouver Canucks. Any team that regularly gets outshot by their opposition would probably do better with the second guy. Maybe Detroit would prefer the consistent hand, but if you're Detroit you don't need to worry an awful lot about goaltending to begin with.

"If Pittsburgh were successful in picking more corners, they probably would put a few more goals in, but I suspect Osgood would also be able to grab quite a few of them the way he has been playing. Let's say hypothetically they get 3 more quality high shots in per game, resulting in another goal scored per game. That still puts them down 3-2 each of the first two games."

I'm not talking about creating more chances. I'm talking about having Guerin or Crosby shoot the puck an eight of an inch to the right so it hits the post and goes in, rather than hitting the post and bouncing along the goal line behind Osgood. Pittsburgh has created good enough scoring chances to have scored at least 5 or 6 goals by now, but they've only scored 2. Some of that is Osgood, some of that is Zetterberg filling in as the backup goalie, but most of it seems to be Pittsburgh missing their shots. They've had several chances that were close enough that it doesn't matter what the goalie does - make your shot and you get a goal, and they just haven't made them. In fact, if not for a bad rebound by Osgood and a unlucky bounce off of Stuart, the Penguins might still be looking for their first goal of the series. Then again, as those goals illustrate and Crosby and Babcock both pointed out in their post-game comments, a lot of it comes down to bounces.

Anonymous said...

"The main difference was on special teams. If Osgood had faced the same kind of power play chances against that Luongo was facing, Ozzy would have been lit up just as bad. Osgood is a dreadful 68/84 on the PK these playoffs, while Luongo was 60/69 in 8 fewer games."

Most goalies are going to perform significantly worse on the PK than at 5/5. Osgood's PK struggled a bit against Anaheim, but was actually decent against both Columbus and Chicago. (Hiller, the best goalie so far in the playoffs, also struggled against Detroit's PPs.) Remember in Game 7 of the Ducks series where the Wings killed two five-on-threes by the Ducks and Game 3 of the Hawks series when the Hawks got blanked on the 5-minute major to Kronwall that was shortly thereafter followed by another two-minute penalty? The numbers show that Detroit's PK has steadily improved.

As for Luongo, St. Louis was a much weaker team that had a lot less shooting skill in their power plays, and Luongo was able to shut them down. Chicago had a lot more firepower and skill and so was able to bury more chances. Chicago probably would have taken this series no matter what but Lou could have kept it tighter for sure.

"This is probably false if you are the Vancouver Canucks. Any team that regularly gets outshot by their opposition would probably do better with the second guy. Maybe Detroit would prefer the consistent hand, but if you're Detroit you don't need to worry an awful lot about goaltending to begin with."

A goalie who is always playing at .900 always gives their team at least a 50/50 chance to win. A goalie who plays six games at .940 may win several of those games (although if his team gets outshot by like 45 to 15, it is likely not to make much difference), but will probably lose most or all of the four games that he plays at .850 (unless he's on the Wings and is playing against the Islanders, present-day Avs, etc.)

"Pittsburgh has created good enough scoring chances to have scored at least 5 or 6 goals by now, but they've only scored 2."

Some of that has been bad luck, some of that has been good defensive pressure by the Wings to keep some crucial shots to the periphery just enough, and some of it has been blatantly illegal plays by Zetterberg, but at the end of the day Osgood has been utterly sterling for every real chance he has faced. Like you said, we could easily be looking at back-to-back shutouts if it weren't for a rare moment of Ozzy being caught out of position in Game 1 and a fluky bounce by Stuart in Game 2.

"Some of that is Osgood, some of that is Zetterberg filling in as the backup goalie, but most of it seems to be Pittsburgh missing their shots."

Hiller was the beneficiary of the Sharks hitting a lot of posts in that series also, and nobody is diminishing his phenomenal level of play because of that (as they shouldn't). They got plenty of doozies on net anyway, and he was phenomenal for those pucks that did get through.

Anonymous said...

One last comment Contrarian: how would you analyze Roloson's 2006 run? Would you call that a lucky streak, a good team in front of him, or a genuine sudden explosion of skill on his part?

Kent W. said...

Osgood has been extremely lucky by my eye this year as well. How many posts did the Pens hit in the first two games? 4? 5?

Has Osgood been bad? Not really. Should he win the Conn Smythe? Pfffft.

Tom said...

Ozzie let in some less than spectacular goals in Game 3, and the Pens were still dinging 'em off the posts as well.

I will give Osgood credit for one thing -- he's got to be one of the most mentally-tough goalies out there. He's always in an underdog role, even when playing on a dynastic team with a great chance to win the Cup every year.

But in terms of talent/ability? No way he's even in the top 10. He's a good enough story without needing all the "should he be in the Hall of Fame" nonsense which just cheapens the narrative into a homer-fest.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

"As for Luongo, St. Louis was a much weaker team that had a lot less shooting skill in their power plays, and Luongo was able to shut them down."

St. Louis was a weaker team on the power play? I love how the teams that lost in the first round are always characterized as weak or unskilled or whatever. St. Louis had a better power play this season than Chicago and a better overall shooting percentage as well, and they were absolutely lights-out in the second half of the season. The Blues had almost 5 minutes of 5 on 3 time yet didn't score a single goal. A lot of that credit should go to Ryan Kesler and Vancouver's penalty killers, but certainly a part of it was the play of Luongo.

"A goalie who is always playing at .900 always gives their team at least a 50/50 chance to win."

Actually, given that the playoff average is about .915, a goalie playing at .900 on an average team against an average opponent gives their team about a 40/60 chance to win. Against a stronger opponent, it's probably more like 30/70 or worse. The goalie's team would have to outshoot the opposition by 20% to improve the odds just to 50/50.

That's why on a team that gets routinely outshot, they'd probably be better off with the goalie standing on his head for 6 games, because if they win 4 or 5 of those ones then they're better off even if they lose all of the ones where he plays poorly.

If you play on a team that routinely shoots the opposition by 50% or more, like, say, the Detroit Red Wings, then you can get away with putting up .900 game after game. Otherwise I don't think you can.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

Re: Roloson, I'd say any playoff hot streak usually has some element of luck, whether it happens to be facing easier shots or getting a few favourable bounces. The difference in my mind is that I think Roloson's numbers back in 2006 were closer to his "true" level of ability than Osgood's numbers this year are to his, which seems to indicate that team/luck factors are a bigger influence on Ozzy than Roly.

All goalies go on hot streaks and cold streaks. Break up a goalie's regular season in 7 game segments and you might see .850 in one and .950 in the next. Nobody can sustain .950 forever, and you can't be up in that range for long without luck being a significant factor.

Anonymous said...

"St. Louis was a weaker team on the power play? I love how the teams that lost in the first round are always characterized as weak or unskilled or whatever. St. Louis had a better power play this season than Chicago and a better overall shooting percentage as well, and they were absolutely lights-out in the second half of the season."

There are two things to take into account here. 1: Chicago has more available SKILL to them on the PP. The combined talent of Toews, Kane, Havlat, Sharp, and Versteeg is considerably better than Boyes and Tkachuk. 2: The postseason changes everything for many teams. Some teams that were mediocre become great, and vice versa. The Bruins, who were a grizzly bear in the first 82 games, were highly ordinary in the playoffs (and their sweep of Montreal had a lot to do with very favorable reffing). Conversely, many teams that were merely good during the RS find another gear in the playoffs and become outstanding for stretches, or perhaps the whole postseason, in terms of goaltending, general scoring, the PP, or the PK, or several of the above. Chicago found their PP groove in the postseason because they are the more-skilled team with a stronger overall record and more talent, whereas the Blues did not. We see this phenomenon in individual players too (like Osgood and Roloson).

"Actually, given that the playoff average is about .915, a goalie playing at .900 on an average team against an average opponent gives their team about a 40/60 chance to win. Against a stronger opponent, it's probably more like 30/70 or worse. The goalie's team would have to outshoot the opposition by 20% to improve the odds just to 50/50."

Fine then, let's make it 10 games at exactly .915 or 6 at .955 (a level of play that Hiller and Osgood, both on paper worse than Luongo, maintained for stretches) and 4 at .875 (a level that Luongo had for a stretch in the Chicago round).

"The difference in my mind is that I think Roloson's numbers back in 2006 were closer to his "true" level of ability than Osgood's numbers this year are to his."

Probably so, but the analogy is that Roloson also had an average-at-best regular season and somehow flipped the "on" switch in time for the first game of the playoffs. Certainly Ozzy has a better team in front of him, but why did his team not inflate his numbers during the regular season?

The final thing to take into account is that goaltender skill levels are not usually constant throughout their careers. Most goaltenders have a bell-shaped curve where their best years are around the middle of their careers, i.e. around 30 years of age, but some peak out young and go downhill after that (such as Kiprusoff), others have a relatively late prime (like Hasek, whose career year came at the age of 34, or Martin Brodeur considering his last few years relative to the quality of the team in front of him now), and a few actually peak quite suddenly and without warning at a late age (like Roloson and Osgood). Kiprusoff was the best goaltender in the world in '04, but now is below average. Likewise, Osgood in '04 (or even this regular season) was just average, but right now he is one of the best goaltenders in the world.

Anonymous said...

Tom wrote:

"Ozzie let in some less than spectacular goals in Game 3, and the Pens were still dinging 'em off the posts as well."

I watched the game and the Letang and Gonchar PP goals were absolute rockets that were definitely not soft. As for the posts, the real "steal of the game" was the high bouncer during the Detroit PP in the 3rd (was that Franzen?) that would have gone in behind Fleury's head had it been fired 1/10" lower.

However, this comment

"I will give Osgood credit for one thing -- he's got to be one of the most mentally-tough goalies out there"

explains precisely why I think that a legitimate case can be made for going with Ozzy over Luongo in one crucial playoff game. Luongo is superior to Osgood in raw skill, but so far, he has not had the mental or physical toughness (or both) to put together an Osgood, Roloson, Giguere, or Hasek-like playoff run. Until he does that, I don't think he should be crowned "best goalie in the league" by anybody. With Osgood in net, the team in question is guaranteed at least decent performance on any night.

There are many goalies that are very skilled but lack mental toughness (Lalime and Bryzgalov are two), but also some that aren't the most talented but are able to hold it together night after night and avoid stinkers almost completely, like Osgood.

Statman said...

I guess I missed Osgood's long playoff runs & Cups with the Islanders & the Blues.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

"I watched the game and the Letang and Gonchar PP goals were absolute rockets that were definitely not soft"

I agree with you on Gonchar's goal, but you seriously think Letang's goal wasn't soft? A slapshot from beyond the top of the circle through Osgood's legs that he had all the time in the world to get set for? I don't think you'd get much agreement that was anything other than a weak goal. Just watching Osgood after it went in makes me think that he'd probably side with me.

Re: Luongo, you are seriously waiting for Luongo to put up an "Osgood-like" run? Luongo's 2007 playoffs destroy anything Osgood has ever done by some margin. Osgood just doesn't fit in the same sentence as Giguere or Hasek when you are talking about dominating playoff runs.

Statman said...

As for mental toughness, I suspect it is easier to be 'mentally tough' (or, give the appearance of being mentally tough) when the team you play for has an excellent offense & defense. I wonder how mentally tough Osgood might have appeared to be had he played his whole career with poor-mediocre teams?

Although the 80's Oilers didn't have a great (or even very good) defense, Grant Fuhr knew that if he allowed 3 goals in the first period that his team still had a good shot of scoring 5-6 in the game & coming up with a win. (That Fuhr is unflappable!! ha)

Bruce said...

There are many goalies that are very skilled but lack mental toughness (Lalime and Bryzgalov are two),

Lalime 41 GP, 1.77 GAA, .926 Sv%
Bryzgalov 16 GP, 1.68 GAA, .937 Sv%


Lalime has the lowest GAA of any active goalie with 25+ playoff games (Brodeur is second, way back at 1.98), and the second best Sv% (just behind Kolzig's .927). Bryzgalov's numbers are better still in both categories, but he doesn't quite have the 25 GP that Hockey-reference.com uses as a threshold. (Nor does Luongo)

Luongo's 2007 playoffs destroy anything Osgood has ever done by some margin.

Luongo 2007: 5-7 (.417), 1.77, .941
Osgood 2008: 14-4(.778), 1.55, .930

I guess Luongo's Sv% "destroys" Osgood's, though of course he only had to maintain it through two rounds of the playoffs rather than four. As I recall Bobbi-Lu's "run" ended abruptly when he seived in S.Neidermayer's slow-mo 65-footer from the side boards cuz he was too busy trying to do the referee's job at the time to do his own. Whereas Osgood in 2008 kept his focus long enough to win the Stanley Cup.

To be sure Ozzy has had his bad moments too (remember Jamie Baker?), but as he approaches 400 wins and perhaps his fourth Stanley Cup he's making a decent HHoF case for himself. To me he falls just a little short of being a truly Great goalie, but he has posted good to very good results for a long time. I would put him in the same class of goalies as Andy Moog, Mike Vernon, or Tom Barrasso, good enough to hold up his end of the bargain on a great team but unlikely to carry a lesser club to the grail. All of those guys are on the outside of the Hall looking in, but there's no denying they were excellent goalies with outstanding careers.

Osgood is similar. He's still making his statistical case and may yet do enough to win entry to the Hall, although I don't see him as a fist-ballot guy like Hasek, Roy and Brodeur will be. Noentheless Ozzy deserves respect -- which is to say more than he generally gets around here, but less than he's receiving lately from a suddenly-fawning media.

Anonymous said...

There is no way to convince these stat junkies of anything. If they are wrong then they just change their argument or claim that what they said actually happened. Looking at the idiot above who faults Osgood for not having a long playoff run during his 3-4 year stretch with the Isles or Blues is a perfect example of that. Yet realistically Hasek only had one decent playoff run in his tenure with Buffalo, and still could not win the Cup. Yet it is never mentioned how the only way Hasek could win a cup was by jumping aboard the same HOF type team Osgood has road to 3 Cups. In fact some of Osgoods playoff runs with Detroit are actually far better than Hasek's, including last year, were the Dominator rode the pine to a Cup. Yet whenever the Hasek crowd starts pointing to his resume, they also bring up those 2 Cups as if he was a major reason for them.

Anonymous said...

"A slapshot from beyond the top of the circle through Osgood's legs that he had all the time in the world to get set for?"

It was certainly not a weak shot. Stoppable, perhaps, but it was a bullet, no different from the Jonathan Ericsson goal in Game 2. In any case, all goalies have an off-moment. He didn't put it in the net himself like Fleury has three times already (though he finally stopped that last game).

"I suspect it is easier to be 'mentally tough' (or, give the appearance of being mentally tough) when the team you play for has an excellent offense & defense."

What I mean is that Osgood never lets his confidence falter in any way, even after bad goals. His last game (especially the second period) against Columbus was rather poor, but in the third period, despite pretty strong domination by the Jackets, he held it together and prevented any more scoring, enabling Franzen to win with 41 seconds left. If Luongo had faced the barrage that Ozzy did during the first half of that third period, he would have let in AT LEAST one more goal, I can guarantee.

"I guess Luongo's Sv% "destroys" Osgood's, though of course he only had to maintain it through two rounds of the playoffs rather than four."

Luongo had a very good 2007 run, I would not deny. (The same cannot be said for 2009.) Luongo's 2007 run was similar to Hiller's this year; dominant, but not superhuman enough to warrant placement in the same category as Hasek and Giggy. Hiller is a very fine young goaltender who turned in a sterling postseason (and totally got screwed on several goals that should have been waived-off, which would have boosted his stats even more), and I would even say he is better than Luongo, but I would not put him in the category of the world's greatest until he accomplishes a feat like Kolzig in '98, Hasek in '99, or Giggy in '03. The same should apply to Bobby Lou.

As for Ozzy--I am not really counting last year's playoffs, where he was relatively untested every single series (even the Finals, as TCG has pointed out amply), but just this year's. Osgood was tested strongly by the Jackets for stretches in that brief series, by the Ducks throughout that long one (remember Christensen's near-goal in Game 5 or Selanne's breakaway in Game 7?), by the Hawks, who had just annihilated Luongo, and now, by the Penguins, who dominated the first two games but were stoned by him.

I think it is fair to say that the current Ozzy, who admittedly is still not of Giggy or Hasek caliber, is vastly and enormously improved over previous incarnations with the Wings or any other team. I'm not sure the old Ozzy would have gotten through to the Finals this year facing the teams of this year.

"Lalime has the lowest GAA of any active goalie with 25+ playoff games (Brodeur is second, way back at 1.98), and the second best Sv% (just behind Kolzig's .927). Bryzgalov's numbers are better still in both categories, but he doesn't quite have the 25 GP that Hockey-reference.com uses as a threshold. (Nor does Luongo)"

I mean counting both regular season and playoffs. Bryz is capable of being outshot like 45-15and still keeping the Ducks or Coyotes in it, but on other nights a single bad goal will cause him to fall apart and he'll let in like five goals on seven shots. In 2006, where he was probably the best goaltender in the playoffs in pure talent, he simply fell apart in the Edmonton series. Same story applies to Lalime in '03 against the Devils. I don't see Ozzy doing that, ever.

Justin said...

So which Ozzy was it during the regular season? He was terrible through most of the year. What, after all these years, he finally figured it out in April?

I doubt it.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

"As I recall Bobbi-Lu's "run" ended abruptly when he seived in S.Neidermayer's slow-mo 65-footer from the side boards."

Sigh. Has it really been that long since that game? Didn't anyone actually watch it? Luongo played one of the best playoff games of any goalie in the last few years, and all that everyone apparently remembers is the last goal, which, of course, he should have had.

Just to further back up my claim that Luongo wasn't even close to Osgood: Over the last 2 playoff seasons covering nearly 8 full rounds of action, Hockey Numbers has Chris Osgood at about 16 goals above average after adjusting for shot quality. In the 2007 postseason, he has Luongo at 16 goals above average. In two rounds.

"To be sure Ozzy has had his bad moments too (remember Jamie Baker?), but as he approaches 400 wins and perhaps his fourth Stanley Cup he's making a decent HHoF case for himself. To me he falls just a little short of being a truly Great goalie, but he has posted good to very good results for a long time."

I think I've already posted all my arguments on this topic before, so I'll just say that I still don't see it. Vernon is a good comparable, but I don't think either of them are close to Hall of Famers. In my book, average save percentages in the regular season and playoffs indicate an average goalie, regardless of how many games his team ends up winning.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

"There is no way to convince these stat-junkies of anything."

Well, as the name suggests, one way to convince stat-junkies of something is by using stats. For my part, I don't put much stock into how many games Osgood won in New York and St. Louis. I don't rate his work there particularly highly because of his .905 save percentage over 3 playoff seasons when the playoff average was .920.

"Yet whenever the Hasek crowd starts pointing to his resume, they also bring up those 2 Cups as if he was a major reason for them."

I'm one of the biggest Hasek supporters you'll find, I've made that repeatedly clear in my posts here, but I don't think I've ever used the Cups argument in Hasek's favour or claimed that he was a major reason for them. I really don't care how many Cups he has, just how he played, and his play was simply awesome.

By the way, you don't consider 1998 to be a "decent" playoff run for Dominik Hasek? Wow.

Bruce said...

As for Ozzy--I am not really counting last year's playoffs, where he was relatively untested every single series
.
Osgood 2008: 14-4 (.778), 1.55, .930

OK, let's not count that year. Let's drop all his other Stanley Cup years while we're at it, and we can conclusively prove the guy is a bum, and a loser besides.

In 2008 Osgood became the fourth goalie since the WHA merger to lead the playoffs in GAA while winning the Stanley Cup, the others being Billy Smith (1981), Patrick Roy (1993, 2001) and Marty Brodeur (1995, 2000). Usually the leader is gone after one or two low-scoring series; it's hard to maintain top-notch numbers through four full playoff rounds. It's also hard to maintain a Sv% like .930 on a low shots-against team.

What's the poor bugger got to do to get respect if we vapidly discount numbers like those?

Sigh. Has it really been that long since that game? Didn't anyone actually watch it? Luongo played one of the best playoff games of any goalie in the last few years, and all that everyone apparently remembers is the last goal, which, of course, he should have had.

I watched it, I also remember Luongo had to go to the bathroom in overtime, nearly hanging his team out to, uh, dry.

:D

Yeah, he played a great game, but he lost it. In fact he blew it. There's no ties in the playoffs, no Bettman points, you play until somebody wins. 20 great saves are nothing if you forget to stop the weak dribbler from back o' beyond.

In my book, average save percentages in the regular season and playoffs indicate an average goalie, regardless of how many games his team ends up winning.

CG: You're still all about Save Percentage, aren't you? I like it too, in fact it's the first column I look at, but it's far from the last. Too many variables to take it, or any one stat, at face value.

Anonymous said...

"Sigh. Has it really been that long since that game? Didn't anyone actually watch it? Luongo played one of the best playoff games of any goalie in the last few years, and all that everyone apparently remembers is the last goal, which, of course, he should have had."

It was a very good game by Lou, indeed--almost as good as Giggy's 63-saves-on-64-shots performance in the first game of the Red Wings series back in '03, and in general that was a great playoff run for him, but he still hasn't taken the Canucks to the Finals. In any case, it's ridiculous to argue that Luongo is still a great playoff performer this moment based on his 2007 campaign. He had a stinker of a run THIS year--that is all there is to it.

"Well, as the name suggests, one way to convince stat-junkies of something is by using stats. For my part, I don't put much stock into how many games Osgood won in New York and St. Louis. I don't rate his work there particularly highly because of his .905 save percentage over 3 playoff seasons when the playoff average was .920."

What matters is his performance NOW. Would you argue that Kipper is still the best goalie in the world on the basis of his 2004 performance?

"In my book, average save percentages in the regular season and playoffs indicate an average goalie, regardless of how many games his team ends up winning."

He has not turned in an average performance in THESE playoffs.

Anonymous said...

"Osgood 2008: 14-4 (.778), 1.55, .930

OK, let's not count that year. Let's drop all his other Stanley Cup years while we're at it, and we can conclusively prove the guy is a bum, and a loser besides."

Of course he had a good run last year, he just wasn't tested as much as he is now. 2008 was Ozzy's best playoff performance until this year.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

"[Luongo] had a stinker of a run THIS year--that is all there is to it."

Luongo had one outstanding series and one mediocre series, which adds up to an average run.

"What matters is his performance NOW. Would you argue that Kipper is still the best goalie in the world on the basis of his 2004 performance?"

Of course not. But I'm also not going to rely on an 18 game sample to judge a goaltender. This season, Osgood has an .899 save percentage in all competitions. Not overwhelming, regardless of how hot and/or lucky he's been over the last few weeks.

"He has not turned in an average performance in THESE playoffs."

That is indisputable. However, one postseason does not make or break a Hall of Fame career, which was the topic being discussed.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

"What's the poor bugger got to do to get respect if we vapidly discount numbers like those?"

I'm actually not all about save percentage. I'm about a goalie's performance within the team context. And last year's Detroit Red Wings were an absolute defensive juggernaut.

Osgood faced 25 shots in only 4 out of 17 starts, and in one of those it was only because the game went into triple OT. Martin Brodeur would have been bored by that kind of workload. And my subjective view from watching the game is that the expected goal numbers suggested by the shot charts were correct and that Osgood had a spectacularly easy job of it behind that blanketing defence.

"Yeah, he played a great game, but he lost it. In fact he blew it. There's no ties in the playoffs, no Bettman points, you play until somebody wins. 20 great saves are nothing if you forget to stop the weak dribbler from back o' beyond."

Was Sidney Crosby's hat trick in game 2 "nothing" because his team didn't win? I disagree with the logic. You make your individual contribution to the game, and that gets blended in with that of the rest of your team and then you find out who wins. In a sense of course Luongo blew it that night, but in the big picture he probably saved his team 4-5 goals. To me that's more significant.

"CG: You're still all about Save Percentage, aren't you? I like it too, in fact it's the first column I look at, but it's far from the last. Too many variables to take it, or any one stat, at face value."

You're right, of course, you can't just read off the stat sheet. Save percentage is pretty good but there are team effects in there, especially in the playoffs. In fact, Osgood's 2008 playoff results are pretty close to Exhibit A of why that is the case.

Anonymous said...

"Luongo had one outstanding series and one mediocre series, which adds up to an average run."

He had one good series against a WEAK team (and are you going to seriously tell me that you, as a goalie with the same amount of team defense either way, would rather play against the Hawks than the Blues?!?), and one atrocious series against a good, but not yet great, team. That adds up to a poor postseason.

"Of course not. But I'm also not going to rely on an 18 game sample to judge a goaltender. This season, Osgood has an .899 save percentage in all competitions. Not overwhelming, regardless of how hot and/or lucky he's been over the last few weeks."

Like I said previously, Roloson had a forgettable '06 regular season too, and yet you credited his playoff run that year with his "real" skill level more than you do Osgood. Why?

You seem to be judging Luongo by four games he played against an offensively-challenged St. Louis squad. According to TSN, which I would consider a fairly reliable source, Luongo posted a .941 save percentage in '07, and .914 (average at best, and below-average considering his skill level) SP this year. I think that's a pretty stark difference. Figures like that do not lie, and what is all the more damning is the fact that Bobby Lou faced 122 MORE playoff shots in '07 than he did this year.

"Osgood had a spectacularly easy job of it behind that blanketing defence."

Nobody questioned that. That is why I attach less value to last year's run than this year's (though he was a lot better during the '08 Cup run than the '98 run, where he was similarly protected by his team). This also ignores the fact that sometimes goaltenders fail miserably even when behind great teams. Three examples would be Vernon in '95, Brodeur in '01, and Lalime in '03.

"That is indisputable. However, one postseason does not make or break a Hall of Fame career, which was the topic being discussed."

It's debatable that he deserves to be in the HOF for one outstanding run, I would agree (any more than Roloson does), but if the Wings win the Stanley Cup he probably deserves the Conn.

Anonymous said...

"By the way, you don't consider 1998 to be a "decent" playoff run for Dominik Hasek? Wow."

No one said that. It was just said in response to the moron who though Osgood should have taken the Islanders and Blues on long cup runs that Hasek only did in ONCE in his career before he got his charity cup in Detroit.

"I'm one of the biggest Hasek supporters you'll find, I've made that repeatedly clear in my posts here, but I don't think I've ever used the Cups argument in Hasek's favour or claimed that he was a major reason for them. I really don't care how many Cups he has, just how he played, and his play was simply awesome."

So essentially what you are saying is that even though the point of the game is to win, it does not matter? Now before you jump in with your "4th liner so-and-so won 6 cups, does that make him better than Pavel Bure" b.s., its quite obvious it doesnt, but it also does not mean that it is irrelevant when comparing players.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

"That adds up to a poor postseason."

I think we just disagree on that one. I'm not saying Luongo was great, I'm just saying at the end of day his overall postseason was pretty average. By the way, Luongo didn't have the same amount of team defence in both series, or he wouldn't have let in so many more goals against Chicago.

"Like I said previously, Roloson had a forgettable '06 regular season too, and yet you credited his playoff run that year with his "real" skill level more than you do Osgood. Why?"

From 1999-2009, Chris Osgood's single best seasonal even-strength save percentage mark was .921. Dwayne Roloson's average was .920. Roloson is a better goalie. I think that's pretty obvious.

"So essentially what you are saying is that even though the point of the game is to win, it does not matter? Now before you jump in with your "4th liner so-and-so won 6 cups, does that make him better than Pavel Bure" b.s., its quite obvious it doesnt, but it also does not mean that it is irrelevant when comparing players."

Sure, winning matters. But players cannot win a game by themselves. As such, my philosophy is that each player should be judged based on their contribution to their team winning, not whether their team actually won or not. It's focusing on the individual process rather than the group result.

For example, stopping 46 of 48 shots is a valuable contribution, it's probably about 2 goals better than average. If the goalie's team scores 5 goals for him, then it doesn't matter anyway, he could have let in those extra shots and his team would still have won. If his team scores 3 goals for him, then those two goals saved make the difference between winning and losing. If his team got shutout, then again it doesn't matter how good the goalie played. To me, it doesn't make sense to praise the second guy up and down and criticize the third guy. They did exactly the same thing, and their teammates made the difference as to whether they were celebrating at the end of the game or not.

Hockey games are won by scoring and preventing goals, so players and goalies should be measured by their contributions to doing so. Whether their team carries the day simply depends on too many other variables.

Anonymous said...

"I think we just disagree on that one. I'm not saying Luongo was great, I'm just saying at the end of day his overall postseason was pretty average."

I do not think Ozzy would have let SEVEN goals in one game if he were playing for that same Vancouver team in the same Game 6.

"By the way, Luongo didn't have the same amount of team defence in both series, or he wouldn't have let in so many more goals against Chicago."

How do you say this? The shot ratios by Vancouver and opposing team were similar in each series. In fact, I am not certain of this, but I think Van was outshot more by St. Louis. But since you seem to be agreeing with me that his teammates handled the WEAKER Blues better than the stronger Hawks, maybe we are making some progress.

"From 1999-2009, Chris Osgood's single best seasonal even-strength save percentage mark was .921. Dwayne Roloson's average was .920. Roloson is a better goalie. I think that's pretty obvious."

Ozzy played on some so-so Islanders and Blues teams. Roloson played almost all of that time behind a great Jacques Lemaire trap.

Roloson was a better regular-season goalie THIS year, behind a very average Oilers defense, but we don't know what his playoff performance would have been like in '09, because his Oilers did not qualify. Maybe he has another '06 campaign left in him; maybe he doesnt, but Ozzy has so far put one together right now.

Statman said...

"It was just said in response to the moron who though Osgood should have taken the Islanders and Blues on long cup runs that Hasek only did in ONCE in his career before he got his charity cup in Detroit. "

Actually, asshole, what I meant by saying "I guess I missed Osgood's long playoff runs & Cups with the Islanders & the Blues." was that Osgood wouldn't even be remotely considered for the Hall of Fame if he played for mediocre teams instead of the dominant Detroit teams.

I didn't mention Hasek, but even if Hasek had never won a Cup his regular seasons were so outstanding (amazing stats, multiple Vezinas, Hart winner) he should be inducted into the HOF in his first year of eligibility. He took his mediocre Buffalo teams about as far as they could go, & was obviously past his prime when with Detroit (Osgood clearly outplayed him in the '08 playoffs).

[Why is it always the Anonymouses who have to start with the "idiot" this & "moron" that? Crap like that can go stay on the juvenile fan-boy sites.]

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

"I do not think Ozzy would have let SEVEN goals in one game if he were playing for that same Vancouver team in the same Game 6."

He might not have. He still would most likely have let in at least 4 or 5. None of the goals against Luongo in that game was what I'd consider a soft goal. And Osgood has already let in seven goals twice this year.

I don't think Osgood would have let in only five goals in four games if he was playing for that same Vancouver team against St. Louis. But it is pretty futile, really, to speculate about what one goalie would or wouldn't do in a single game or playoff series. The only reasonable way to measure goalies is over a large sample size. The coin is certainly weighted towards Luongo over Osgood, but that doesn't mean Ozzy isn't going to outplay him over a stretch here and there, and these playoffs are one example of that.

"How do you say this? The shot ratios by Vancouver and opposing team were similar in each series. In fact, I am not certain of this, but I think Van was outshot more by St. Louis. But since you seem to be agreeing with me that his teammates handled the WEAKER Blues better than the stronger Hawks, maybe we are making some progress."

I say this from watching the games and analyzing the shot charts. For the most part, Vancouver smothered St. Louis at even-strength, although a lot of that was because they were in the lead for much of the series. The Blues' main chances came on the power play and Luongo played really well.

Against Chicago, he couldn't make the same saves with the extra man, partly because he wasn't playing at the same level, partly because the shooters made some good shots, and partly because his teammates were giving the Hawks more time and space to make those shots.

Chicago made better shots than St. Louis did, I'll agree with that. But the expected goals numbers were almost identical in both series. To my eye, the rest of the Canucks were weaker defensively against Chicago, allowing the Hawks the time and space to make their shots. Guys like Kane will snipe goals if you let them (just ask Osgood what happened in pretty much the one time Kane got loose in that series).

Anonymous said...

"He might not have. He still would most likely have let in at least 4 or 5."

Maybe so. In last night's game, which I would call similar to Game 6 of the Hawks series, he allowed four. That is still better than seven, especially considering that a--his team led TWICE in that period and gave him a chance to put it away, and b--that his team outshot the Hawks by a 2-1 margin that period (17-9). Is it really unrealistic to expect more than a .667 period SP from a goalie, especially supposedly the best one in the world?

"None of the goals against Luongo in that game was what I'd consider a soft goal."

Not even the first wraparound goal by Kane?

"And Osgood has already let in seven goals twice this year."

That was in the regular season, where we all know he was subpar. He's pulled it together since. What about those two RS times that Luongo allowed six goals against the Ducks?

"I don't think Osgood would have let in only five goals in four games if he was playing for that same Vancouver team against St. Louis."

He may not have. Osgood has rarely shown the ability to absolutely rob games; his selling point is his great consistency and the extreme rarity of stinkers from him.

"The coin is certainly weighted towards Luongo over Osgood, but that doesn't mean Ozzy isn't going to outplay him over a stretch here and there, and these playoffs are one example of that."

Luongo picked a heck of a time to have a breakdown. He cost the Canucks two games (2 and 6). If he had been even okay during those two games, the odds are the series goes to seven. Maybe it's even the Canucks facing the Wings in the WCFs.

"The Blues' main chances came on the power play and Luongo played really well."

I keep hearing about the Blues' PP and it doesn't really fly as an argument that the Blues are a powerhouse team, even if they put together a strong run with it for a stretch in the regular season.

The 1999 Mighty Ducks were the best team in the league with the man advantage (25.5%!) thanks to the unbeatable Selanne/Rucchin/Kariya line. They were also defensively very solid and had a well-above average goaltender in Hebert. What happened when they met the Wings (a Wings team that is not as good as this year's, btw)? They weren't just swept, but were swept in probably the most humiliating fashion of any sweep that's taken place in the past 15 years. The Ducks couldn't even win the one game of the series that they mostly dominated (game 4). What happened is that they were a very one-dimensional team and that it was extremely easy for Detroit's dominant D to hold Kariya and Selanne shotless. The Blues PP doesn't even have any stars of the late '90s Selanne and Kariya caliber.

"partly because he wasn't playing at the same level, partly because the shooters made some good shots, and partly because his teammates were giving the Hawks more time and space to make those shots."

Why would Luongo suddenly have a slump and play at a poorer level? The St. Louis shooters also made some fairly good shots, but without the same level of skill behind them, far fewer went in. I am not sure that I buy the third argument, as St. Louis got more shots on goal than Chicago per game, but if it is true, it would demonstrate that Chicago is a substantially better team and a harder one to guard against, and therefore that the Blues were not that good, since the Vancouver D handled them well.

"To my eye, the rest of the Canucks were weaker defensively against Chicago, allowing the Hawks the time and space to make their shots."

Let's just assume that. An elite goalie should be able to step it up then and make the giant saves. Why was Hiller able to make much tougher saves against San Jose and Detroit?

"Guys like Kane will snipe goals if you let them (just ask Osgood what happened in pretty much the one time Kane got loose in that series)."

Aha, so you are conceding my point that Chicago's shooters are much deadlier than St. Louis'. :-)

Bruce said...

He cost the Canucks two games (2 and 6).

You're right, Anon, to my eye Luongo just caved in both games. Game 1 also. In under 15 minutes each time, he gave up 3, 5, and 4goals. Shocking, really, especially for a guy who was supposedly Vancouver's big advantage going into the series.

You're also right that Kane's wraparound goal was lame-ass. Luongo wasn't sharp, period.

If he had been even okay during those two games, the odds are the series goes to seven.

If he had played anywhere close to his larger-than-life reputation the Canucks would have taken them both and walked away with the series. They certainly put enough goals on the board to win both times.

Luongo's early playoff career -- if up to age 30 can be considered "early" -- is reminiscent of Curtis Joseph's or Tony Esposito's: All-World in the first round, but no sustain. Given his dreadful performance late in games -- Chicago pumped in 15 goals in the third periods plus a little snippet of overtime, which even discounting 3 empty net goals is a GAA approaching 6.00 when it matters most -- I wonder about his stamina. Perhaps it was a health issue?

Anonymous said...

"I wonder about his stamina. Perhaps it was a health issue?"

Luongo did need an IV in the intermission following the first overtime of the last game of the Ducks series in '07, but many goalies suffer from dehydration (Giggy is famous for it, and Ozzy needed an IV after the second period of Game 4 in the Hawks series), and their performance does not seem to drop off as a result. Lou just was not mentally in-it this year.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

Evaluating goalies is highly subjective, of course, but I really don't understand the flak Luongo took for Kane's wraparound. I mean I suppose he could have had it, but watch it again in slow-motion on the camera from behind the net - funny bounce off the glass, bounce over Mitchell's stick right onto Kane's forehand, and Kane wraps it in right away. Luongo reacts as soon as the puck clears Mitchell's stick and he comes across fine, Kane just beats him to the post with a great move. I bet Luongo didn't even know Kane was there, and from the way the puck was cycled there was not a whole lot of reason to expect such a quick shot. That's more of a bad bounce than a bad goal in my book, although of course the timing was particularly poor for the Vancouver Canucks.

"Perhaps it was a health issue?"

Maybe, he did miss a lot of games because of a groin issue. I still think it is was more likely to be a small sample size issue, something that periodically afflicts all goaltenders of all stripes and abilities. Goaltending performance and team defensive play are both highly variable, which is why extreme results happen in a playoff game or playoff series.

"Why would Luongo suddenly have a slump and play at a poorer level?"

See above.

"Is it really unrealistic to expect more than a .667 period SP from a goalie, especially supposedly the best one in the world?"

I dislike statements like this. Nothing is absolute, the goalie's save percentage depends on what kind of shots he has faced. And just because a goalie is very good does not mean he is immune from breakdowns - Patrick Roy let in 6 goals on 16 shots in a game 7. There's not a whole lot of point to look at individual games to assess a goalie - you can only evaluate goalies over a large sample size. It doesn't mean they don't deserve blame for that particular performance, but 60 minutes never tells you the full story of how good somebody is.

"I keep hearing about the Blues' PP and it doesn't really fly as an argument that the Blues are a powerhouse team, even if they put together a strong run with it for a stretch in the regular season."

I'm not saying they're a powerhouse, but they're no popgun offence either.

Your argument seems to be that Luongo was terrible against Chicago, so that must mean that he only had success against St. Louis because the Blues couldn't score. I disagree with that. Vancouver allowed fewer goals against St. Louis because they got better goaltending, because they played better team defence, and because Chicago made more shots. The expected goals against were pretty similar in both series. I am not claiming that Luongo's performance was legendary against the Blues, the team in front of him did pretty well from what I saw, but he was very good.

Anonymous said...

"I mean I suppose he could have had it, but watch it again in slow-motion on the camera from behind the net - funny bounce off the glass, bounce over Mitchell's stick right onto Kane's forehand, and Kane wraps it in right away."

It was no stronger than any of the fluky bounces that Fleury allowed in the first game of the SCFs. An elite goaltender like Luongo is expected to stop fluky goals.

"Patrick Roy let in 6 goals on 16 shots in a game 7."

That was one particularly bad game by a goalie at the end of his career who, as it has already been established, was the beneficiary of a very good team his entire career. Luongo is supposed to be better than Roy in his twilight, and should be.

"Your argument seems to be that Luongo was terrible against Chicago, so that must mean that he only had success against St. Louis because the Blues couldn't score."

Basically.

"I'm not saying they're a powerhouse, but they're no popgun offence either."

The Blues are average on offense--below-average at 5/5, and they have a good but one-dimensional PP. An elite goalie does not have to work that hard to handle that kind of a threat. His performance against that kind of a Blues team was nice, but nothing awe-inspiring.

"because Chicago made more shots. The expected goals against were pretty similar in both series."

This absolutely does not fly for game 6. Vancouver owned the Hawks in that game, ESPECIALLY in the third period (16-9). They led or at least were tied for most of that period and Luongo should have been able to handle a team that was taking desperation shots, in addition to being completely outworked, for a few more minutes.

Anonymous said...

This blog losing more and more credibility every day that Luongo is in that "underrated" category. Its almost comical seeing as how he is considered to be by many the most OVERRATED goalie in the game.

Justin said...

Funny, most people with an eye toward reality realize that he was the only thing keeping Florida afloat for years.

Anonymous said...

Luongo indeed was the only thing Florida had going for it for many years. I certainly do not fault him for not taking bottomfeeding Panthers incarnations to the SCFs. My issue chiefly is the fact that he has not achieved much more with much-superior Canucks teams--teams that have been built around him from the bottom up.

2007 might have been hopeless, when he faced a vastly superior Ducks and a nearly-as-good Giguere, but this year's second-round flameout was absolutely inexcusable. Until he does something better in the post, he does not deserve to be called an "underrated" tender. Above-average isn't elite.

Bruce said...

I certainly do not fault him for not taking bottomfeeding Panthers incarnations to the SCFs.

No, Bobbi-Lu is certainly no John Vanbiesbrouck. :)

2007 might have been hopeless, when he faced a vastly superior Ducks and a nearly-as-good Giguere, but this year's second-round flameout was absolutely inexcusable.

Lest we forget, Luongo's Canucks didn't even make the playoffs in 2008, largely due to his late-season meltdown.

Granted that was a time of personal distress and we can't fault a man too much for that -- see: Giguere, J.-S., 2008-09 -- but results is results. Some guys are able to put aside emotional turmoil and keep their focus (see: Brodeur, Martin), but I'm sure it's not easy.

Whatever the reason, the Luongo-led Canucks folded down the stretch and missed the playoffs in '08 in much the same manner as the Dan Cloutier-led Canucks had two years previously. Luongo lost 7 of his last 8 games, and got yanked before the end of the second in 3 of his last 6 games. With the season hanging in the balance.

Interesting to compare to his last 6 games this year, against Chicago, the season once again hanging in the balance:

2007-08: 6 GP, 261:36 TOI
4.59, .837 (1-5-0, .167)

2008-09: 6 GP, 358:25 TOI
3.52, .879 (2-4, .333)

Those are ugly, ugly numbers. Two years in a row, with the season on the line. Small wonder Canucks fans are souring on the guy. Especially given all the hype.

If Bobbi-Lu is tending twine for Canada at the Olympics, I will be a) surprised, b) rooting for the guy, and c) shitting bricks. IF he's on his game, no problemo. But in a three-sudden-death-games-in-a-row scenario, I'm not liking his record in Big games.

Anonymous said...

"Granted that was a time of personal distress and we can't fault a man too much for that -- see: Giguere, J.-S., 2008-09 -- but results is results."

I don't defend or make excuses for Giggy this year, but at least in his case this was his first bad year (last year was his first bad postseason).

"Some guys are able to put aside emotional turmoil and keep their focus (see: Brodeur, Martin), but I'm sure it's not easy."

Brodeur does not have the skill that Luongo is capable of at his best, but by and large he is a lot more consistent. One notable exception was the 2001 SCFs.

"If Bobbi-Lu is tending twine for Canada at the Olympics, I will be a) surprised, b) rooting for the guy, and c) shitting bricks. IF he's on his game, no problemo. But in a three-sudden-death-games-in-a-row scenario, I'm not liking his record in Big games."

Vancouver should have traded for Ozzy before the deadline this year. If Ozzy were in net, I think there is a decent chance Vancouver would have met the Wings in the Conference Finals.

Anonymous said...

Vancouver should have traded for Ozzy before the deadline this year. If Ozzy were in net, I think there is a decent chance Vancouver would have met the Wings in the Conference Finals.

.............

Is that a joke? Osgood on any team but the Wings in the playoffs would be a disaster. I mean look at that masterpiece he put together tonight. The best scoring chance he faced was like a 40 foot wrister. Are you really that gullible to believe he is a game changing goalie that would have put Vancouver past Chicago?

Anonymous said...

"Are you really that gullible to believe he is a game changing goalie that would have put Vancouver past Chicago?"

He would have put together several more consistent games. Vancouver would not have had to worry about their goaltending costing them a game after building a 3-0 lead, for instance.

Anonymous said...

I missed this earlier:

"I mean look at that masterpiece he put together tonight. The best scoring chance he faced was like a 40 foot wrister."

That is simply not true. I watched the game and though he did not steal it (he didn't have to this time around), he was almost the only reason the Pens were held scoreless through much of the first period. He stood on his head through the first seven or eight close-in shots by Pittsburgh, i.e. up to their failed power play, when they were completely dominating. Luongo would have allowed at least one goal in that span, I can guarantee.

If the Pens strike first, psychologically it is a whole different game for them, and they probably win it.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

"Luongo would have allowed at least one goal in that span, I can guarantee."

This is nonsense. I'm sorry, but you have been consistently unreasonable in your evaluations of both Luongo and Osgood. You can't "guarantee" anything that happens in hockey. Are you suggesting that Luongo isn't capable of shutting down the other team early? What exactly gave you that impression? I am assuming you are ignoring his many years of outstanding play and focusing entirely on the 2009 playoffs. Fine, let's look at Luongo's first period save percentage in the 2009 playoffs:

.966

Clearly a goalie who stops nearly 97% of the shots he faces in the first period in these playoffs would not have been able to handle the medium range shots and moderate pressure Osgood faced in game 5. No, he would have been "guaranteed" to have been scored on. And that single goal would have made all the difference between a 5-0 blowout and a Penguins victory on the road against the best team in hockey on a night when several of Pittsburgh's better players were having off-nights.

Luongo was good early in games. That's one of the reasons why his team spent so much time in the lead in both series.

"Vancouver should have traded for Ozzy before the deadline this year. If Ozzy were in net, I think there is a decent chance Vancouver would have met the Wings in the Conference Finals."

Vancouver should have started Osgood over Luongo? Oh really? I guess Calgary should have traded Jarome Iginla for Jussi Jokinen as well. That would have been a smart move by them, because Jokinen scored more goals in the 2009 playoffs than Iginla did and therefore would have definitely done better in all possible alternate scenarios.

I don't know how many more times I need to say it, but goaltending performance and team defence are both variable. Playoffs are a small sample size. Beware of sweeping conclusions from the results of a couple of games.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

""If Bobbi-Lu is tending twine for Canada at the Olympics, I will be a) surprised"

You would be surprised? I guess you'd expect and prefer Brodeur in net?

I'm not really sure why Brodeur's recent big game record is a whole lot better than Luongo's, to be honest. Not unless you go back 5 years or more, which in my opinion is pretty irrelevant for projecting current play.

I hope you aren't one of the guys on the Cam Ward or Marc-Andre Fleury bandwagons, based on their supposed clutch play. I could, for example, do pretty much the same thing you did with Luongo and look at Ward's last 6 games in this year's playoffs and his last 6 games in 2006-07 with his team fighting for a playoff berth:

2008-09: 1-5, 3.69, .879
2006-07: 2-4, 4.17, .857

Anonymous said...

"This is nonsense. I'm sorry, but you have been consistently unreasonable in your evaluations of both Luongo and Osgood."

You have the right to your opinion Contrarian, but show me one thing I said that was not factual. I never denied that Luongo has more skill than Osgood--it's just that Luongo is more prone to breakdowns and slumps (particularly in the postseason and late in the regular season).

"Are you suggesting that Luongo isn't capable of shutting down the other team early?"

Against a good offensive team, I have my doubts. Look at how he did against Chicago. Look also at his regular-season performance against teams such as the Ducks.

"Clearly a goalie who stops nearly 97% of the shots he faces in the first period in these playoffs"

What is this supposed to prove? So, fine, he has had some good starts. He just couldn't play three periods of hockey (behind a good defensive team built around him) against an above-average foe. In 2006, Tosk did well against the Oilers early in games too. Then he'd get lit up five times in the last 30 minutes of the game.

"And that single goal would have made all the difference between a 5-0 blowout and a Penguins victory on the road against the best team in hockey on a night when several of Pittsburgh's better players were having off-nights."

I watched the game. This was a very similar game to the Game 3 5-0 blowout the Wings won over the Ducks in 2007. In each game the "bird" team dominated in the earlygoing, and then lost their cool when the opposing goaltender stood on their head and their own goalie let in some weakies. If either the Ducks or Pens had scored first in either game, the psychology of the game would have been very, very different, including on the part of Fleury. You are right, Osgood did not have to work hard most of game 5 (after the first period), but he was absolutely the reason the Pens didn't walk into the locker room without a 1-0 or greater lead.

"Luongo was good early in games. That's one of the reasons why his team spent so much time in the lead in both series."

The first six shots Pittsburgh got on goal in Game 5 were lethal. He did not face such shots by the impotent Blues or the good, but not great, Hawks.

"Vancouver should have started Osgood over Luongo? Oh really?"

See my oft-repeated argument on goaltender consistency.

Anonymous said...

"I hope you aren't one of the guys on the Cam Ward or Marc-Andre Fleury bandwagons, based on their supposed clutch play. I could, for example, do pretty much the same thing you did with Luongo and look at Ward's last 6 games in this year's playoffs and his last 6 games in 2006-07 with his team fighting for a playoff berth"

Contrarian, the difference is that nobody is touting Ward and Fleury as elite uber-goalies. Luongo is a good goalie and has loads of skill, but so far he has not shown the consistency of a less-skilled tender like Brodeur. I agree with everything that you argue regarding Brodeur, but don't understand why you can't see that Luongo is overrated too.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

"You have the right to your opinion Contrarian, but show me one thing I said that was not factual. I never denied that Luongo has more skill than Osgood--it's just that Luongo is more prone to breakdowns and slumps (particularly in the postseason and late in the regular season)."

My problem isn't at all with your facts, it's with your interpretations. You are looking at one playoff series and one poor stretch at the end of the last regular season for Luongo and 2 playoff seasons for Osgood and using that as your primary basis for judging both of those guys, even though the rest of their careers paint an extremely different picture.

Saying Luongo isn't consistent is completely unsupported by all evidence. Look at his annual even-strength save percentages:

2000-01: .930
2001-02: .928
2002-03: .925
2003-04: .937
2005-06: .926
2006-07: .928
2007-08: .929
2008-09: .936

That's about as consistently excellent as it gets. Brodeur's range in the same span was .912 to .933.

If you want to say Luongo is slightly more prone than normal to meltdowns, there might be some evidence for that. But that happened in 2 out of his 22 career playoff games, and in a small percentage of his regular season outings. That certainly doesn't make up the difference between Luongo and Osgood which has been at around .015 in even-strength save percentage over the last decade or so.

"Against a good offensive team, I have my doubts. Look at how he did against Chicago. Look also at his regular-season performance against teams such as the Ducks."

Small sample size, again. The guy has a .919 career save percentage in 544 career regular season games and a .930 save percentage in 22 career playoff games. Are you proposing that he somehow only did this against weak opposition? Or are you claiming that Luongo is past his prime, having just turned 30 years old? How does that claim make the slightest bit of sense?

You are doubting the ability of a 30 year old goalie who has been dominant his entire career because of one playoff series and 3 regular season games this year against a single opponent. I'd suggest you think that through for a second and see if that makes sense to you as a proper analytical approach.

"What is this supposed to prove? So, fine, he has had some good starts."

Your claim was that Luongo was guaranteed to get scored on because he couldn't possibly hold down the fort early in the game the way Osgood did. I demonstrated that Luongo was very good in the first periods he played in these playoffs, which obviously means that he did just that in several different games.

"The first six shots Pittsburgh got on goal in Game 5 were lethal. He did not face such shots by the impotent Blues or the good, but not great, Hawks."

Full disclosure: I missed the first period of game 5. Are you the same Anonymous that thought that Kris Letang's goal in game 3 was a lethal shot? If so, then I'm afraid I'm somewhat skeptical of your shot quality evaluations.

"I agree with everything that you argue regarding Brodeur, but don't understand why you can't see that Luongo is overrated too."

Because the more people focus on 2 bad playoff games, the more they forget the 544 games of the second-highest official save percentage in history.

Sounds to me that you are an Anaheim Ducks fan that has seen Luongo play poorly a few times, and that is colouring your view of the guy. I know what that's like, there are a few goalies that seem to play poorly every time I watch them despite overall stats that are pretty good, but I don't call them overrated unless the numbers back me up. Once again, randomness comes into play in a lot of different ways.

Anonymous said...

"You are looking at one playoff series and one poor stretch at the end of the last regular season for Luongo and 2 playoff seasons for Osgood and using that as your primary basis for judging both of those guys, even though the rest of their careers paint an extremely different picture."

Like you say further down, it is performance NOW that matters. Osgood struggled this regular season, like Roloson two years ago, but turned it around in a huge way. Luongo had a strong (though up and down) regular season, but completely lost his groove in the playoffs.

"But that happened in 2 out of his 22 career playoff games, and in a small percentage of his regular season outings."

Don't forget Game 1 in the WCSFs in '07 against the Ducks, where he was pulled in the second period (I don't judge him as harshly here; the Ducks that year were very strong and the entire Vancouver team was exhausted from going 7 games against Dallas, but still).

"Are you proposing that he somehow only did this against weak opposition?"

In a word, yes. Notice how the two rounds that he won were against pellet-gun offensive teams (Dallas and St. Louis). He did well against the Ducks except for the first game, but was awful against Chicago, which was not as good a team as the Ducks. I expect a truly elite tender to be able to beat one of the "big guys" at least once before getting that label.

"You are doubting the ability of a 30 year old goalie who has been dominant his entire career because of one playoff series and 3 regular season games this year against a single opponent."

I am not doubting his skill, I am doubting his ability to come up huge when everything is on the line.

"Full disclosure: I missed the first period of game 5."

Well, then, just take my word for it. Chicago, let alone St. Louis, did not get so many excellent SOGs in the first ten minutes of any of their games.

"Are you the same Anonymous that thought that Kris Letang's goal in game 3 was a lethal shot? If so, then I'm afraid I'm somewhat skeptical of your shot quality evaluations."

You think it was soft because it beat him short-side and was very close to his glove hand, but it was still a very hard shot. It was at least as good as the Cleary goal that beat Fleury right after Pittsburgh's failed PP in Game 5.

"I demonstrated that Luongo was very good in the first periods he played in these playoffs, which obviously means that he did just that in several different games."

Four of those games were against a weak team. In the other games, it did not matter as he fell apart later on.

"I know what that's like, there are a few goalies that seem to play poorly every time I watch them despite overall stats that are pretty good, but I don't call them overrated unless the numbers back me up."

I am saying he doesn't have the mental and/or physical fortitude of a world-beating goaltender, yet, and that a few teams that aren't at the very top of their conferences just seem to always have his number (look at Edmonton for many years against Giguere).

Bruce said...

I hope you aren't one of the guys on the Cam Ward or Marc-Andre Fleury bandwagons, based on their supposed clutch play.

CG: Who, me? I don't recall ever making a peep in favour of either guy, certainly not wearing the Red Maple Leaf where each guy has left a painful memory already -- Fleury against O'Sullivan in the '03 WJC, Ward against Kovalchuk (tying goal, not so much the winner) at the '08 World Seniors. The thought of either disaster still puts a bitter taste in my mouth. The bitter taste of silver, to be precise.

I could, for example, do pretty much the same thing you did with Luongo and look at Ward's last 6 games in this year's playoffs and his last 6 games in 2006-07 with his team fighting for a playoff berth:

2008-09: 1-5, 3.69, .879
2006-07: 2-4, 4.17, .857


Nice work, that's very interesting. I do put stock in such things, actually. The above is almost equal to Luongo's end-of-season collapses and I would be very wary of Ward based on that info alone. Notwithstanding the fact that his 1 win in that 1-5 stretch in 2009 was a 7th game, overtime, road win against the top-seeded team; Pittsburgh did get to him, and he failed to respond.

Also notwithstanding the fact that Ward won the Stanley Cup in a recent year you chose not to highlight, whereas Luongo has not so much as a conference final on his resume. Fact is, both guys are very capable of going on an extended run where they are next to unbeatable, but when they come down, they crash.

I don't think Team Canada is looking for a goalie to steal them a game so much as not to lose it, which is exactly how many see Osgood's role, or Brodeur's for that matter. Both are pretty darn good at that, and have an extended enough record of success to at least warrant serious consideration for the job.

This was a very similar game to the Game 3 5-0 blowout the Wings won over the Ducks in 2007. In each game the "bird" team dominated in the earlygoing, and then lost their cool when the opposing goaltender stood on their head and their own goalie let in some weakies.

Anonymous: I have fond memories of that game. Probably the last (of many) truly great games I saw Dominik Hasek play. An extraordinary shutout disguised as a blowout.

Ken Dryden used to have a quite a few games like that ... by game's end the star pickers would have forgetten all about him, but with the game on the line early he would have demoralized and effectively defeated the other guys. Osgood certainly did that on Saturday. That first 7:16 without a whistle was something else, and I was sure the Penguins were about to score at least two or three times during the sequence.

[Word verification: "obtuse". I repeat: Who, me??]

Statman said...

As far as claims about any particular goalie being more consistent than others, &/or some goalies being unbeatable for stretches then crashing... does anyone have any hard proof of this?

The best measure might be standard deviation of save pct (or stddev of some sort of shot-quality-adjusted measure), factoring in league averages.

Anonymous said...

"Notwithstanding the fact that his 1 win in that 1-5 stretch in 2009 was a 7th game, overtime, road win against the top-seeded team; Pittsburgh did get to him, and he failed to respond."

You are absolutely right. Although Ward did not do great in his last six games, I can forgive the kid a lot more easily than I can Bobby Lou. We are talking here a Canes team that got as far as it did by sheer luck (Marty Brodeur having an ill-timed mental fart in the last minute of his last game, and the best team in the league simply not showing up to play hockey in the post) that was slaughtered by one of the most overwhelming offensive tigers in the history of the NHL.

The qualitative gap between the Hawks and Canucks was a lot less than that between the Pens and Canes, especially defensively (where Vancouver was BETTER), and the series should not have ended the way it did.

"Both are pretty darn good at that, and have an extended enough record of success to at least warrant serious consideration for the job."

Previously I would not have agreed, but now I think you have a serious case, Bruce. MB has turned in some very good years on a squad that is less potent than the elite teams he won three Cups on, and Ozzy has been almost flawless his last two postseasons.

"Anonymous: I have fond memories of that game. Probably the last (of many) truly great games I saw Dominik Hasek play. An extraordinary shutout disguised as a blowout."

Osgood certainly is not as good as Hasek, but he is putting together a postseason that at least approaches one of Hasek's best. With almost any other minder in the playoffs (possible exception of Hiller), the Wings head to the locker with a minimum of a one-goal deficit heading into the first intermission of G5.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

"Like you say further down, it is performance NOW that matters."

I'm not saying playoff performance isn't important, but I've been saying all along that just because a player outperforms another over a two week or a month stretch doesn't mean they are a better player. Players can improve and decline, but when a player is established and has played their entire career at a particular level, it is pretty difficult to attribute a strong postseason to anything other than a hot streak and/or a strong team effect.

"I am not doubting his skill, I am doubting his ability to come up huge when everything is on the line."

Why? Do you think a guy who has played in 2 Memorial Cups, 2 world juniors, AHL playoffs, 4 world championships, a World Cup, the 2006 Olympics, and the NHL playoffs still somehow can't deal with pressure situations?

His career is filled with dominant performances pretty much right from when he entered the NHL, and because of one playoff series you doubt his ability. The 6 games against Chicago represent 1% of Luongo's career regular season and playoff games. If you want to elevate that in significance above the other 99%, then you and I will continue to disagree on this topic.

"You think it was soft because it beat him short-side and was very close to his glove hand, but it was still a very hard shot. It was at least as good as the Cleary goal that beat Fleury right after Pittsburgh's failed PP in Game 5."

Actually, I think it was soft because it went right between Osgood's legs. Watch the replay again. It doesn't matter how hard the shot is if it is directed towards a zone that a goalie should routinely block as part of his save movement.

"I expect a truly elite tender to be able to beat one of the "big guys" at least once before getting that label."

By your definition, Dominik Hasek was not an elite goaltender until Buffalo beat Ottawa in the 1999 playoffs. There are 18 skaters on the ice, together they affect the play a whole lot more than the goaltender does. Rating goalies based on series wins against quality opponents is arbitrary small sample size grading at its worst, in my opinion.

"We are talking here a Canes team that got as far as it did by sheer luck (Marty Brodeur having an ill-timed mental fart in the last minute of his last game, and the best team in the league simply not showing up to play hockey in the post)"

I'd be interested in the logic that Boston is the best team in the league. The stats guys were all pretty much waiting for them to crash to earth all season long. I think Chris Osgood was more or less the sole reason Detroit didn't win the President's Trophy, despite playing in the league's toughest divison, and in my view it's awfully hard to suggest any other team is the league's best given the Wings' results in both the regular season and the playoffs over the last two seasons.

"that was slaughtered by one of the most overwhelming offensive tigers in the history of the NHL.

Ah, yes, the "overwhelming offensive tiger" that scored exactly the same number of goals this season as the "good, but not great" Chicago Blackhawks. Once again, I think an 82 game sample size is far more significant than a 7 game or a 14 game sample. You quite clearly do not. This is why we seem to have some irreconcilable differences of opinion.

"MB has turned in some very good years on a squad that is less potent than the elite teams he won three Cups on"

Ah, yes, but here we're talking about regular season again, aren't we? How come that counts for Brodeur but not for Luongo?

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

By the way, I watched all the highlights I could find of game 5, and they only included one first period Osgood save. The shot chart has only 3 shots coming from dangerous locations prior to the first goal. I'm just wondering exactly what kind of difficult, goal-preventing saves Osgood was making in that game to make you be able to claim that he would have outperformed every other goalie in the league.

Anonymous said...

"when a player is established and has played their entire career at a particular level, it is pretty difficult to attribute a strong postseason to anything other than a hot streak and/or a strong team effect."

This gives Luongo even less excuse to pull this kind of boner now, at age 30.

"The 6 games against Chicago represent 1% of Luongo's career regular season and playoff games. If you want to elevate that in significance above the other 99%, then you and I will continue to disagree on this topic."

OK, fine, he is a very good goalie who so far hasn't gotten it done in the postseason.

"Why? Do you think a guy who has played in 2 Memorial Cups, 2 world juniors, AHL playoffs, 4 world championships, a World Cup, the 2006 Olympics, and the NHL playoffs still somehow can't deal with pressure situations?"

See my above comment.

"Actually, I think it was soft because it went right between Osgood's legs. Watch the replay again."

You do not think velocity affects a goalie's reflexes?

"I'd be interested in the logic that Boston is the best team in the league. The stats guys were all pretty much waiting for them to crash to earth all season long."

Hopefully you aren't gonna take this out on Timmy Thomas as everybody does, but the Bruins were second overall in standings, one of the top teams in goal differential, fourth in goals scored, and had the best regular-season goaltending in the league. They should have made the Conference Finals at minimum, but played most of the Canes series as though they were sleepwalking.

"By your definition, Dominik Hasek was not an elite goaltender until Buffalo beat Ottawa in the 1999 playoffs."

The Canucks this year were a better all-around team than the '99 Sabes or '03 Ducks.

"Ah, yes, the "overwhelming offensive tiger" that scored exactly the same number of goals this season as the "good, but not great" Chicago Blackhawks."

The Pens have two years of playoff experience the Hawks do not. The Hawks don't have the defense that this year's Pens do--Seabrook and Campbell are alright, but are not the battle-hardened warriors Gonchar, Orpik, and Letang are.

"Ah, yes, but here we're talking about regular season again, aren't we? How come that counts for Brodeur but not for Luongo?"

Luongo plays on a team that is at least as good as the Devils and that is used to playing in a tougher conference, and he has more skill than Brodeur (that was not doubted). It is not unrealistic to expect more of him.

"The shot chart has only 3 shots coming from dangerous locations prior to the first goal."

So, you are admitting that 1/2 of all shots Osgood faced prior to the Detroit goal (6) were lethal? On average, over how many periods are a full 50% of all shots faced the most dangerous kind?

Justin said...

You do not think velocity affects a goalie's reflexes?

Not from that distance.

Ah, yes, the "overwhelming offensive tiger" that scored exactly the same number of goals this season as the "good, but not great" Chicago Blackhawks. Once again, I think an 82 game sample size is far more significant than a 7 game or a 14 game sample.

To be fair, there's a marked difference in style between Michel's Penguins and Dan's Penguins. I think it's reasonable to assume that if Dan Bylsma had been the coach all season long, there would have been a bigger number in the GF column for Pittsburgh (and maybe a bigger one in the GA column, too).

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

"OK, fine, he is a very good goalie who so far hasn't gotten it done in the postseason."

In my view he has gotten it done in 3 out of the 4 series he's been in, but I can understand the mindset that doesn't believe something is going to happen until it actually does. Being cautious will avoid making mistakes on a few guys who flame out early. On the other hand, it will cause you to look bad when that guy eventually experiences playoff success, and the majority of superstar goalies eventually get there, especially ones that have been mostly very good in the playoffs like Luongo has been.

Every good goalie has playoff years where they just didn't have it, and if you break it down to the series level there are even more of them. People probably doubted Bernie Parent after he started his playoff career 5-11. Gump Worsley, who was similar to Luongo in that he was stuck on weak teams early in his career, probably didn't look like he was ever going to have playoff success after he went 5-15 over his first 4 playoff series. Ed Belfour had two major flops early on his playoff career, going 3.13/.866 and 4.07/.891 in first round flameouts against much weaker teams, and yet he still ended up with a terrific playoff record. Even Dominik Hasek took five years to advance past the first round of the playoffs as a starting goalie.

Place your bets where you want. I'm still backing Luongo. If the sample size is small, then people obsess about a couple of games. Once the sample size increases, I'm fairly confident that I'm going to be on the right side of the ledger. I'm not guaranteeing he wins the Cup or anything, a championship is a team effort and in a 30 team league the odds are against you even if you are a terrific player, but the "playoff choker" label that is starting to form is, to my mind, completely unfounded.

If Luongo has a deep run or two over the next few seasons, then the Chicago series will start to fade in the memories. Just like it did for Belfour.

"Hopefully you aren't gonna take this out on Timmy Thomas as everybody does"

Absolutely not, I'm a fan of Tim Thomas. I'm going to take it out on the rest of the team. It looks to me like the Bruins rode terrific goaltending and had a bunch of their depth guys shoot out the lights percentage-wise this year. The problem is that both of those things are less sustainable than a team that just tilts the ice against the other team, like the Red Wings do. You're vulnerable to a series where you don't get the bounces, and to some degree that's what happened against Carolina, although the Bruins did play unusually poorly in some of those games as well.

"The Canucks this year were a better all-around team than the '99 Sabes or '03 Ducks."

Irrelevant. My point is that your standard is far too stringent. You claim Luongo isn't elite because he's never beaten one of the top teams in the playoffs. Dominik Hasek never beat a top team in the playoffs until 1999. If you use the exact same criteria on the Dominator that you're using right now to beat up Luongo, you would have to claim Hasek was not elite in 1998, despite having won 4 Vezinas and a Hart Trophy. That clearly doesn't make sense.

If you set standards, then you have to apply them fairly to everybody. When you have a case where applying your standards gets crazy results, then to me that suggests you need to re-evaluate your standards.

"Luongo plays on a team that is at least as good as the Devils and that is used to playing in a tougher conference, and he has more skill than Brodeur (that was not doubted). It is not unrealistic to expect more of him."

I don't disagree. But since the lockout, Luongo has a better playoff winning percentage, a better playoff GAA, a better playoff save percentage, and has gone deeper in the playoffs than Brodeur has (albeit by one game).

Brodeur: 14-18, 2.49, .917
Luongo: 11-11, 2.09, .930

Exactly how much more do you expect?

Anonymous said...

"In my view he has gotten it done in 3 out of the 4 series he's been in"

Two of those were weak offensive teams (the only reason the Dallas series went as long as it did is Turco also stood on his head). Only one of those four series presented a wholly hopeless situation (Ducks in '07).

"Even Dominik Hasek took five years to advance past the first round of the playoffs as a starting goalie."

Hasek was stuck on terrible Sabres teams that he had to carry. Both times Bobby Lou made the playoffs, he was on a higher-seeded team that initially faced an offensively-challenged rival.

"If Luongo has a deep run or two over the next few seasons, then the Chicago series will start to fade in the memories. Just like it did for Belfour."

Granted.

"although the Bruins did play unusually poorly in some of those games as well."

That would be an understatement; when you are getting outshot almost 2-1 against a fairly marginal playoff team like Carolina, something is wrong.

"Irrelevant. My point is that your standard is far too stringent."

How is it irrelevant and how is my standard too stringent? Can you name one thing that was really wrong with this year's Canucks? The only objective thing I can think of is Sundin was not as good as hoped, and that's about it. Lou did not have to carry his team to the extent of Kolzig, Hasek, Giggy, Roloson, etc. during their Cinderella runs. He could and should have done more with what he had.

Anonymous said...

"I think it's reasonable to assume that if Dan Bylsma had been the coach all season long, there would have been a bigger number in the GF column for Pittsburgh (and maybe a bigger one in the GA column, too)."

Don't forget also that the Pens suffered more from injury than the Hawks. Crosby and Sykora lost, between them, 11 games to injury. If both are healthy, the Pens would have likely scored at least 5 more goals for hte year.

overpass said...

Can you name one thing that was really wrong with this year's Canucks? The only objective thing I can think of is Sundin was not as good as hoped, and that's about it. Lou did not have to carry his team to the extent of Kolzig, Hasek, Giggy, Roloson, etc. during their Cinderella runs. He could and should have done more with what he had.

Why did something have to be wrong with the Canucks? They lost to a better team. The Hawks had 4 more points in the regular season, and a goal difference of +48 to Vancouver's +26. If the Canucks had won, that would have been to Luongo's credit, but you can't say they should have been expected to win. Even the best goaltenders seldom lead their teams to victories over superior opponents in the playoffs. Hasek's 1999 and Giguere's 2003 are the exception, not the rule.

Regarding the Hawks-Penguins offensive comparison, remember that it's more difficult to score in the West. The average Western team scored 7 fewer goals and allowed 10 fewer than the average Eastern team. The Hawks also played in the toughest division in hockey. They were a legitimate offensive force.

Anonymous said...

"Why did something have to be wrong with the Canucks? They lost to a better team. The Hawks had 4 more points in the regular season, and a goal difference of +48 to Vancouver's +26."

There are stats and there are stats. The Northwest is a very tough division also. Minnesota is a very difficult team to score against, Calgary is always a force (even if Kip sucks now), and Edmonton made a serious run at the postseason. Do not forget too the span where Luongo was injured. If he were healthy all year, there is a good chance that Vancouver would have been really third in the conference instead of by seeding only.

But I have said it before and have said it again--Chicago is a neophyte playoff team, with suspect goaltending and relatively soft D. Even if they put together a standout regular season, they were not a battle-hardened contender in the post and should not have been insurmountable to deal with. The best comparison to this year's Hawks is the '07 Penguins.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

"How is it irrelevant and how is my standard too stringent?"

Here's why it's too stringent: You're crucifying Luongo for 2 bad games when quite a few of the other decent goalies in the league haven't done much of anything lately either. Since going far in the playoffs seems to be your measuring stick of "elite", take a look at this:

Roberto Luongo won 6 games in these playoffs.

Evgeni Nabokov and Miikka Kiprusoff haven't gone farther than that since 2004.

Martin Brodeur hasn't gone farther than that since 2003.

Henrik Lunqvist, Tomas Vokoun, and Niklas Backstrom have never gone farther than that.

I did a ranking of the best goalies since the lockout, and as I recall I came up with Luongo, Brodeur, Vokoun, Lundqvist and Kiprusoff. Of those 5 guys, Luongo's season this year was the deepest any of them have gone in the playoffs over that span, equalling Lundqvist in 2007. Not only that, but of those 5 guys Luongo has the best playoff save percentage, the best playoff GAA, and the best playoff winning percentage over the last 4 seasons.

So if Luongo's not elite, then who is, exactly? Things have to line up right for goalies to make the Conference Finals - only 4 out of 30 teams make it there. If you demand a once-in-a-lifetime playoff run before you call somebody elite, then you'll almost never call anybody elite.

"Lou did not have to carry his team to the extent of Kolzig, Hasek, Giggy, Roloson, etc. during their Cinderella runs."

Again with the unusual comparisons. You are aware that Kolzig and Roloson had losing records in the playoffs other than their one shining playoff season, right? The Caps never beat a higher-seeded team in 1998, and Kolzig lost in the first round every other time he was in the playoffs.

Giguere's a great example of the variance of playoff performance. He got shelled in 2006 and 2008, he was very good in 2007, and he was legendary in 2003. You keep pulling out 2003 as a comparison, but that was one year of his playoff career that he has never even approached again and almost certainly never will. Why is it fair to take Giguere at his absolute peak and compare it to a random sample for Luongo?

"There are stats and there are stats."

This says it all right there. You seem to rely heavily on your own subjective evaluations. As a result, it's not surprising that you disagree with me and some others who comment here.

By the way, I don't care whether Chicago is a neophyte team or not. They outplayed Calgary and they outplayed Vancouver. I haven't seen any convincing evidence that young teams or "soft" teams do worse in the playoffs. In these playoffs the more experienced goalies have been more likely to lose. Experience is overrated.

Anonymous said...

"You're crucifying Luongo for 2 bad games when quite a few of the other decent goalies in the league haven't done much of anything lately either."

How is appealing to general league mediocrity a defense for Luongo blowing two vital games in a series?

We have already established that Brodeur probably cannot win without an elite team (though he did better than Luongo this year in the playoffs). Kipper has lost his edge, and Nabokov really never had one to begin with outside of one year. Your own numbers show that Backstron is heavily dependent on the trap, Lundqvist was considerably outmatched each year of the playoffs save 2006, and Vokoun only made the postseason once to begin with. Luongo is supposed to be better than all these guys.

"Not only that, but of those 5 guys Luongo has the best playoff save percentage, the best playoff GAA, and the best playoff winning percentage over the last 4 seasons."

50% of Luongo's opposition has been subpar and this has inflated his stats compared to the other tenders you have named.

"If you demand a once-in-a-lifetime playoff run before you call somebody elite, then you'll almost never call anybody elite."

No. Hiller played his heart out and still lost. Save for the final minute, you can say the same of Brodeur. Or, look at Luongo against the Ducks in '07. I don't necessarily demand a Cinderella run but I expect something more than a goalie flaming out.

"He got shelled in 2006 and 2008, he was very good in 2007, and he was legendary in 2003."

He was injured in 2006 and should not have been started to begin with. I don't defend his 2008 performance at all, which sucked, but Giggy proved himself already by that time.

"You seem to rely heavily on your own subjective evaluations. As a result, it's not surprising that you disagree with me and some others who comment here."

No, I want all netminders to be judged subjectively. You correctly attribute poor contemporary performances by MB to his not being truly elite, but blame worse performances on Luongo on his teammates because you like him. Likewise, in your eyes Osgood never has genuine skill because he is on such a good team, no matter how many unbelievable saves he makes. That's the definition of subjectivity.

"I haven't seen any convincing evidence that young teams or "soft" teams do worse in the playoffs."

The majority of teams that return to the playoffs after a long layoff do not make deep runs (i.e. Rangers in '06, Pittsburgh in '07, St. Louis and Columbus this year). Chicago is anomalous here, and it is interesting that you say that they "outplayed" Calgary when they were outshot like 45-15 in Game 6 and won only because Kipper sucks these days.

"In these playoffs the more experienced goalies have been more likely to lose. Experience is overrated."

The stats do not agree with you; I cannot think of a single rookie goalie in the past several years, with the sole exception of Ward in '06, that did not flame out in the playoffs:

--Lundqvist in '06
--Emery in '06
--Bryzgalov in '06
--Price in '08
--S. Mason in '09
--Varlamov in '09

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

"How is appealing to general league mediocrity a defense for Luongo blowing two vital games in a series?"

It's not a defence for Luongo, it's a criticism of your expectations and how you evaluate top goalies.

There have never been more good goalies in the league than there are today. As a result, goalies don't really make the same difference that they once did. The best goalies have not had a lot of team success lately, the ones who have won have been the ones playing on the best teams. As a result, it doesn't make a lot of sense to evaluate goalies based on team success.

"Luongo is supposed to be better than all these guys."

Maybe, but the margins are very narrow. If you expect Luongo to be way better than those guys, or to be singlehandedly winning games every time out, then you are overrating him.

Here are the even-strength save percentages since the lockout for some of the leagues' top goalies:

Vokoun .933
Luongo .929
Thomas .929
Giguere .928
Brodeur .926
Lundqvist .925
Lehtonen .925
Kiprusoff .924

A save percentage difference of .003 is pretty difficult, if not impossible, to notice from watching the games.

"Lundqvist was considerably outmatched each year of the playoffs save 2006"

Average opponent in the playoffs:
Lundqvist: 103 pts
Luongo: 103 pts

"I don't necessarily demand a Cinderella run but I expect something more than a goalie flaming out."

Yes you do, or you wouldn't keep referring to the same guys. You know why those runs were so impressive? Because they are so rare. They don't happen all the time, and none of the goalies who were involved in them have repeated that magic since. I would wager a lot of money that the next time Hiller is in the playoffs that his save percentage is lower than it was in 2009.

"Giggy proved himself already by that time."

What did he prove, exactly? He proved he was a good playoff goalie? How much did that help him last year? Or this year, as he watched Hiller take his job?

"Likewise, in your eyes Osgood never has genuine skill because he is on such a good team, no matter how many unbelievable saves he makes."

Nope. In my eyes Osgood doesn't have genuine skill because his save percentage track record is so overwhelming average. If he had this skill all along, where was it exactly for the last 13 years?

I already said Osgood has played well in these playoffs and that he has outperformed Luongo. That means precious little to me in the big picture, however.

"The majority of teams that return to the playoffs after a long layoff do not make deep runs"

The majority of teams that make the playoffs period do not make deep runs, so you would have to adjust for that. I bet that if somebody went through and did a comprehensive study on it, that a team's cumulative playoff experience would have little impact on their results.

"The stats do not agree with you; I cannot think of a single rookie goalie in the past several years, with the sole exception of Ward in '06, that did not flame out in the playoffs:"

I'm not talking about rookies. They play worse because they are teenagers and haven't hit their prime yet. I'm talking about playoff rookies, goalies who haven't yet had any of the oh-so-important playoff experience. Like Hiller this year, for instance. Or Giguere in '03. Or Luongo in '07.

This is the first Stanley Cup Final since 2002 that did not feature at least one starting goalie who began the playoffs with 10 games or less of playoff experience. Experience is definitely not a prerequisite.

Anonymous said...

Not only that, but of those 5 guys Luongo has the best playoff save percentage, the best playoff GAA, and the best playoff winning percentage over the last 4 seasons.

..........

Why is it that wins and gaa dont matter except for when you want to use them for an argument.

Justin said...

It's not the stat that's the problem in general, it's the sample size. A few games means next to nothing. A few whole seasons and you're starting to come up with trends.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

"Why is it that wins and gaa dont matter except for when you want to use them for an argument."

I agree those stats are mostly meaningless. The reason for pulling those out was that I'm arguing against someone who is basically claiming that goalies who don't go on deep playoff runs aren't elite. If Luongo's winning percentage still ranks ahead of a lot of other good goalies, then it is pretty difficult to criticize him too much because of his win/loss record.

Bruce said...

This is the first Stanley Cup Final since 2002 that did not feature at least one starting goalie who began the playoffs with 10 games or less of playoff experience.

CG: Good catch, that's very interesting. Slight quibble: I think you overstate your case when you say "at least one" when the truth is "exactly one".

It's also worth noting who actually won those final series:

Year - Veteran / Newby = Winner
----------------------------------------
2003 - Brodeur / Giguere = Brodeur
2004 - Khabibulin / Kiprusoff = Khabibulin
2006 - Roloson* / Ward = Ward*
2007 = Giguere / Emery = Giguere
2008 = Osgood / Fleury = Osgood

*The only youngster to prevail at the end of the day was Ward, who in the '06 SCF series didn't outduel Dwayne Roloson but Ty Conklin and Jussi Markkanen (combined 1 playoff GP). The pre-Roli tandem I not-so-fondly referred to as Fricklin and Frakkanen were forced into action when the veteran went down in Game One. Conklin's playoff inexperience became immediately and painfully manifest.

It's not the stat that's the problem in general, it's the sample size. A few games means next to nothing. A few whole seasons and you're starting to come up with trends.

Justin: I understand your point from a statistician's viewpoint, but competitively "a few games" mean pretty much everything, every year. If your goalie tanks down the stretch (for many teams) or in a playoff series (for all teams), you're pretty much done.

This year it comes down to One game. Excellent goalie duel last night -- with deductions for rebound control (all three goals) -- and a rare turn in the limelight for the goalie's best friend, the stay-at-home defenceman. Superb performance by Scuderi, especially in the closing minutes.

Justin said...

Off topic, but Bruce, you really aren't kidding about Scuderi. My mouth was agape. I don't care what team you root for, that was ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

"It's not a defence for Luongo, it's a criticism of your expectations and how you evaluate top goalies."

Uggh... once more, my expectation is that top goalies not choose the worst possible times to crumble, not that they win Cups all alone.

"If you expect Luongo to be way better than those guys, or to be singlehandedly winning games every time out, then you are overrating him."

You don't think you are overrating him when you blame his performance this year mostly on his team?

"Vokoun .933"

Since you think I have unrealistic expectations, let me just say Vokoun is a tender that I would pretty fairly rank over Lou. He has had only two playoff chances, one of which was hopeless (2004) and another in which his team was just outplayed but that was not palpably his fault (07). He hasn't had any chances since, and has been stuck on two lousy Pans teams.

"Average opponent in the playoffs:
Lundqvist: 103 pts
Luongo: 103 pts"

Much of this is due to the fact that Dallas had a pretty high number of points in '07. They actually were a good defensive team, but struggled terribly on offense. At any given point Bobby Lou was not severely tested by them.

"He proved he was a good playoff goalie? How much did that help him last year? Or this year, as he watched Hiller take his job?"

If Giggy retired now, he would go down as one of the greatest tenders of all time, not much below Hasek. He has done it all, proved it all. I am not sure why he did so poorly this past year but it is not relevant here. Luongo is very good, but he has yet to prove himself the way J-S has. That's really all there is to it.

"I already said Osgood has played well in these playoffs and that he has outperformed Luongo. That means precious little to me in the big picture, however."

You made a big blog post that still implies Ozzy, despite being at least 6 goals above average after factoring everything in, has been the beneficiary of luck, good teammates, etc. "Luck" does not explain six solid and five excellent SCF games this year against a ferocious opponent and an entire playoff run with only one bad game in it period. Did you watch much of Game 6? Did you see how ridiculously Pittsburgh owned Detroit over the first two periods?Tell me some goaltenders that you think would have stayed in the game while being outshot almost 3-1 by a squad like the Penguins.

"I'm talking about playoff rookies, goalies who haven't yet had any of the oh-so-important playoff experience. Like Hiller this year, for instance. Or Giguere in '03. Or Luongo in '07."

Every single one of those tenders had played at least one full regular season prior to their strong playoff campaigns. With the exception of Cam Ward, no minder in modern times that was used in the playoffs their first year in the NHL has failed to come to earth in a heap.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

Bruce: I figured Jussi Markkanen deserves at least partial credit for 6 solid efforts, although of course he never would have gotten off the bench if Roloson never went down.

"It's also worth noting who actually won those final series:"

I agree it's worth noting that. The higher seeded team won every single series.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

"Uggh... once more, my expectation is that top goalies not choose the worst possible times to crumble, not that they win Cups all alone."

Every goalie has crumbled at the worst possible time. Every single goalie. If they haven't, it's because they haven't played long enough. Roy did several times, Brodeur did several times, Hasek did several times, Belfour did a couple times of times as previously mentioned, and yes, Luongo did this year.

I think you're docking too many points for Luongo because you still have game 6 fresh in your mind. I suggest you read up on the way some of those other guys flopped. Goaltending performance is variable.

"You don't think you are overrating him when you blame his performance this year mostly on his team?"

No. I've already stated the reasons - only outshot the opposition twice in 10 games, outchanced and outplayed by Chicago. Vancouver also took a lot of penalties, and to my eye Chicago made some terrific shots. Again, Luongo should have done better in the Chicago series, but for the playoffs as a whole he was pretty average. With outstanding goaltending Vancouver very likely would have had the pleasure of getting blown out in the Conference Finals, but they didn't get that from Luongo this time. That certainly doesn't mean he isn't elite, or that he isn't one of the very best goalies in the world.

"Since you think I have unrealistic expectations, let me just say Vokoun is a tender that I would pretty fairly rank over Lou."

I'm a fan of Vokoun as well, and there's certainly an argument there. I'd go with Luongo, as I think his peak exceeds Vokoun's, but there's not much between them, they are both certainly on the top tier of goaltenders today.

"If Giggy retired now, he would go down as one of the greatest tenders of all time, not much below Hasek. He has done it all, proved it all."

This tells me a lot about the way you evaluate goalies. Dominant playoff runs trump everything.

I like Giguere, I really do, I hate how people rag on him for his equipment and for his efficient style. Still, if he retired today he wouldn't even get close to making the Hall of Fame. Just off the top of my head, I'd guess he'd be at least 20-25 slots below Hasek on my all-time ranking. At least.

"You made a big blog post that still implies Ozzy, despite being at least 6 goals above average after factoring everything in, has been the beneficiary of luck, good teammates, etc."

Yes, and I still think he has been. I never said it was all luck. He's in the Cup Final, which means that of course he has good teammates. And I've seen too many posts and favourable bounces to not claim that he has had luck on his side at least to some degree. Having said that, he has had some great games. Absolutely he has.

My overall point (and the point of the most recent post I put up) is that Osgood, more than anything, has great timing, in that he is playing well right now at the most important time after playing so poorly earlier on. I see that as more fortunate than praiseworthy.

"With the exception of Cam Ward, no minder in modern times that was used in the playoffs their first year in the NHL has failed to come to earth in a heap."

Patrick Roy predates modern times? Who knew?

I agree with you in general about rookies, but that was never the point. My point was about playoff experience. Clearly you differentiate between playoff play and regular season play, or you wouldn't claim Luongo hasn't proven anything. There are lots of examples of established goalies dominating in their first taste of playoff action, which doesn't really suggest that playoff experience is necessary or all that valuable.

Statman said...

If Osgood hadn't been so pathetic in the 1996 playoffs (.898 svpct), his excellent 62-regular-season-win teammates might have won the Cup. But then, backup Vernon was even worse (.864 in playoffs). That was a downer to a great regular season for the Wings.

In the 95-96 reg season Osgood was .911/7th among regulars (Vernon was .903).

I note this because, in some ways, 2008-09 is turning out to be the opposite of 95-96. Osgood had a dreadful 08-09 reg season but has been much better in the playoffs.

But please... I don't want to hear that Osgood has "learned" to "turn it on" at the "most important time of the year"... blech.

Bruce said...

Bruce: I figured Jussi Markkanen deserves at least partial credit for 6 solid efforts,

CG: Right-o. I re-read your comment in that light after I posted. Certainly the '06 Finals "featured" more than one inexperienced playoff goalie. Even Roloson had just 15 career playoff GP before that remarkable run -- mind you it's pretty hard to consider him anything but a veteran at that point.

although of course he never would have gotten off the bench if Roloson never went down.

Right, that's where I was coming from, Markkanen was not responsible for winning what Lowetide calls the "pennant", he just happened to be there when Roli fell and Conklin flubbed. Fact was that '06 Oiler club was much more solid than a typical 8th place club, but had been held back by goaltending to the point that they nearly missed the playoffs. Huey, Dewey and Louie posted subpar numbers (Markkanen .880, Conklin .880, Mike Morrison .884), before Roli arrived at the deadline and righted the ship (.905). Other mid-season and deadline acquisitions really strengthened that club as well.

In the playoffs, here are the Oilers' Sv% by series:

DET .929
S.J .931
ANA .929
CAR .884

Not hard to pick the "three-headed monster" series, is it?

It's also worth noting that the three goalies Roloson beat, Manny Legace, Vesa Toskala, and Ilya Bryzgalov, had minimal playoff experience themselves (5 GP among the three of them before that post-season). It was odd how the stars aligned those playoffs.

//"It's also worth noting who actually won those final series:"//

I agree it's worth noting that. The higher seeded team won every single series
.

The team with the more experienced goalie was more successful in the regular season too? Who knew? ;p

Anonymous said...

"and yes, Luongo did this year."

Glad to see we are making some headway.

"only outshot the opposition twice in 10 games, outchanced and outplayed by Chicago. Vancouver also took a lot of penalties, and to my eye Chicago made some terrific shots."

Vancouver OWNED Game 6, particularly in the third period where they outshot Chicago 2-1. That is why I single out Luongo so much for that one game.

"This tells me a lot about the way you evaluate goalies. Dominant playoff runs trump everything."

They don't trump everything but I think they are needed prior to declaring someone the current-best tender in the world. Giguere has had good seasons every year that he has been a starter prior to '08-09 (and prior to the lockout, he was on some crap teams comparable to the late '90s Sabres), with four of those seasons outstanding ones.

"He's in the Cup Final, which means that of course he has good teammates. And I've seen too many posts and favourable bounces to not claim that he has had luck on his side at least to some degree."

The idea that you can be a lousy goaltender and still win on great teams is a myth. Look at Mike Vernon's performance in '95, Brodeur in '01, or, best of all, Legace in '06. If a goaltender is automatically good if he is on a great team, why didn't the Wings sweep the Oilers like they should have?

"I see that as more fortunate than praiseworthy."

And I see no difference between Roloson's sudden heatup and Ozzy's.

"Patrick Roy predates modern times? Who knew?"

I.e. past 15 years

"Clearly you differentiate between playoff play and regular season play, or you wouldn't claim Luongo hasn't proven anything."

The postseason requires more steely nerves than the first 82 games. Most netminders are able to bump up their performance in the playoffs. Why didn't Luongo this year?

"There are lots of examples of established goalies dominating in their first taste of playoff action"

Almost none of them got their first taste of playoff action their rookie year.

"It's also worth noting that the three goalies Roloson beat, Manny Legace, Vesa Toskala, and Ilya Bryzgalov, had minimal playoff experience themselves (5 GP among the three of them before that post-season)."

Legace had seen little or no playoff action, but as a veteran on the league's best team, he should have been better, Bruce. Toskala I don't really know well enough to judge. Bryzgalov was great, but caught some unlucky breaks in the first two games and collapsed as virtually all first-year netminders do eventually if they make the playoffs.

If Roloson is not injured, regardless of whether or not the Oil take Game 1 of the SCFs, the blowout in Game 2 does not happen and the Oil probably takes it. They they take the Cup in 6.

Anonymous said...

Respect Ozzie man. At the very least he deserves respect. Sure the Wings are an amazing team but you can't expect any goalie to take them all the way.

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

"Vancouver OWNED Game 6, particularly in the third period where they outshot Chicago 2-1. That is why I single out Luongo so much for that one game."

Which third period goal should he have had? Here are the Youtube highlights. In my view, Kane's wraparound is the only one you can even make an argument for, and I've already stated the reasons I think that was, while stoppable, still a pretty difficult save.

"The idea that you can be a lousy goaltender and still win on great teams is a myth."

Who said anything about lousy goalies? I was talking about Osgood being somewhat lucky and having good teammates. That doesn't mean he's lousy. It means he has been good and lucky and has great teammates in front of him.

"If a goaltender is automatically good if he is on a great team, why didn't the Wings sweep the Oilers like they should have? "

Nobody ever said that. The point is that playing on a great team is an advantage. If you play really, really terribly, then yes your team will probably lose unless they are an offensive juggernaut.

"The postseason requires more steely nerves than the first 82 games. Most netminders are able to bump up their performance in the playoffs. Why didn't Luongo this year?"

He did, for 4 games. But other than that, I don't know why. Why didn't Giguere last year? Why didn't Brodeur last year? Why did Cam Ward fall apart against the Penguins? Why didn't Chris Osgood bump up his playoff performance in 1996, 2001, 2002, 2003, or 2004? Who knows? Streaks happen, both good and bad.

DAN THE STAT MAN said...

Great Blog Contrarian....

The case of evaluating Chris Osgood
highlights

1)The significant limits of save%
as a way to evaluate goaltending..
(even though it is the better than others we have).


2) The seperation between those many broadcasters and internet fans who can do "simple arithmetic"and the very few like myself and contrarian who are committed to, and can do real"statistical analysis"



The facts are clear that Osgood as potential Conn Smythe and Hall of Fame is simply intellectual immature goofy talk...

Now for some obvious points that are being missed

One of the first rules is to compare apples to apples

So in order to see if Osgood is better than average goalie we need to compare him to other goalies

the problem is Detroit is an exception an outlier team

i)Their shot differential this playoff is +8.5 (approx) and has been around this for 7 or 8 straight years no other team comes ANYWHERE close ...this performance
is even more amazing when you consider Detroit leads in many games and ARE NOT neccisarly always trying to attack but protecting lead...
When you add in their attempted shots vs attempted against (Corsi number) the difference grows...
I call this possession pressure
a Detroit goalie has many 'mental holidays throughout the game'

This difference becomes evident when you compare Osggod to Luongo
who had a kind of mental breakdown' after game 6 ..(tears etc) Luongo was overwhelmed by the constient pressure from Chicago and Vancouver's high pka/pergame

2) obviously playing goal against power play is more difficult than even strength (teams score on average 1 in 10even strength 1 in 6? (I have to check ) PP

yet Osggod has consistently poor PK save %

This despite the fact Detroit had the least pkA /per game bear three
a game (Vancouver 5.2/game

Now a huge part of seperating player performance from average to great is the mental side ..in other words their ability to..
handle abnormal pressure..
The problem is that playing goal for the Red wings is an experience unlike playing goal for any other team in the last years
He recieves less pressure even strength and pk and has a team that dominates puck possession...
oh yeah he also has a 7 TIME norris trophy defenceman on the ice half the game ( Another outlier stat..)
..the only team that is close to Detroit as an outlier over the last 9 years is ..you guessed it if you have any intution at all)..the old champion Devils...and the over-rated Brodeur...
when you make adjustments between teams to normalize things as
(apples to apples) Osgood's performance comes out around or 6th best in the playoffs ( this is being charitable..(slightly above average In fact I make the argument that Detroit LOST the cup because OF Osgood!!as he Failed to make the difference IF he played better against Anaheim a team DETROIT DOMINATED they should have one in 5 games...Detroit would not have been so beaten up for PIT ( remember Babcock whining about scedule and his tired team and allthe Detroit players SAYING ANaheim was toughest series ever..

BYW..Pitt. should send THANKYOU CHEQUE TO ANAHEIM:) as well

But still countless so called Reputable
news writers and broadcasters were calling for OSGOOD and his brilliance.????? How ignorant can you get?? Brilliance is Hiller this year ..

One further point Osgood clearly played better last year and yet there was no outcry that he didn't win....HZ was the CLEAR choice why because Osgood's performance did not STANDOUT...even with 2 shutouts in finals..

AS for Osgood for Hall of fame...

this is so idiotic to even comment on but..one obvious point..

Osgood Hss never even been CONSIDERED EVER to play for TEAM
CANADA which is the top three goalies of his CANADIEN peers which makes OSGOOD never at least fourth best in CANADA .(Oh yeah his highest salary i believe was never in the top 35% of goalies...and MONEY TALKS..
And last year detroit only went to him when Hasek was incredibly bad!!!

DAN THE STAT MAN said...

The psycalogical explanation for this OSGOOD virus ..is that Osgood is in fact an average goalie..who is being 'lifted up' above his demonstrated performance by the masses BECAUSE ..well most people in the world are average like Ossy yet deeply year psycologically to
be recognized for being more when in fact they are just average.. they over-identify project onto Osgood and they feel SO MUCH BETTER and poof the virus spreads like magic they convince themselves that he really is great..(HA ha..)like themselves..(or rather their unconscious wish)

Anonymous said...

"In my view, Kane's wraparound is the only one you can even make an argument for, and I've already stated the reasons I think that was, while stoppable, still a pretty difficult save."

Lots of goalies, Osgood included, made saves on shots as tough or tougher than those Luongo let in in G6. Are you going to tell me the jaw-dropping side-lunge he made on Anaheim's Erik Christiansen or the Selanne breakways he stopped were easier than what Luongo faced? What about the skate save he made on Crosby late in the second period of game 2? (I don't deny that he came to earth eventually against Pittsburgh, but exactly as I predicted, he also failed to play any rotten games either).

"It means he has been good and lucky and has great teammates in front of him."

You still need to be pretty good to have a .926% through an entire, long 4-series playoff run. Osgood wasn't elite, but he was very good, and more consistent than anyone ever gives him credit for.

"If you play really, really terribly, then yes your team will probably lose unless they are an offensive juggernaut."

The '06 Wings were an offensive juggernaut.

"Why didn't Giguere last year? Why didn't Brodeur last year? Why did Cam Ward fall apart against the Penguins?"

I admitted that Giguere just sucked, although it should be recalled he faced a LOT more PP shots than Marty Turco. Brodeur was very mediocre against a less-than elite Rangers--that's undeniable. I do think Cam Ward deserves some slack though due to facing an offensive juggernaut.