Kukla's Korner

The Puck Stops Here

Chicago Blackhawks Make Finals

It took two overtimes but Chicago has beaten the Los Angeles Kings 4-3.  With that win they win their semi-final series 4-1 and move on to face the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals.

Now is the time that I tell you we have another year with no elite teams in the Stanley Cup finals.  I have had a longstanding test to show a necessary but not sufficient condition for a team being elite.  If we use this test at nearly any point in the first 80+ years of NHL history there is at least one and often more than one team that qualifies as elite.  Since the advent of the lockout there has been exactly one team that qualified.  The 2007 Anaheim Ducks are the last elite team in NHL history.  This is important to hockey fans because it shows a clear trend.  It shows that it is no longer possible to build as elite a team as it was throughout most of history.  It is a loss to the fan to no longer be able to watch such teams, especially in the Stanley Cup finals where they have historically been showcased.  The point is to be able to compare teams of different eras without having to look at the standings because it isn't meaningful that a team finishes in first place if they do it because they are beating weak teams and not because they are a strong team. 

It has gotten so bad that some fans criticize my definition of being an elite team as being an impossible definition that cannot be met anymore and tell me I should modify my definition so that teams can reach it.  Effectively this is a lowering of the bar to make people happy and not realize that they are no longer seeing the same quality Stanley Cup finals that once existed.

An elite team must have at least three future Hall of Famers who are at All Star level and not holding on at the end of a once great career.  They must also have a top goalie who is among the best few NHL goalies.  This goalie may be included in the Hall of Famers, but it is not necessary.  I am looking at the players on the team and stating that they must be elite.  It is necessary that elite players play together as a top team for a team to be elite, but that cannot happen without the elite players.

How does Chicago measure up?  They fail.  In fact I addressed this point after their season ending streak of 24 games without a regulation loss ended.  The problem is Chicago lacks elite goaltending.  Corey Crawford is not one of the top few goalies in the NHL.  He is probably better classified as an average starter who is overrated due to the fact he plays on a good team.  My first instinct is to compare him to Marc-Andre Fleury when he got overrated when he won a Stanley Cup and even got a spot on the 2010 Canadian Olympic Team.  The comparison is a bit unfair to Crawford because he is putting up better numbers in the playoffs than Fleury ever did.  I suppose that is likely an assurance that he won't lose his starting goalie job in the playoffs in the next few years.

As far as having future Hall of Famers on their roster, Chicago does pretty well.  They don't have any players who are deserve Hall of Fame spots if their careers ended today.  However Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith likely will get there.  Marian Hossa has a good shot too if he increases his career point totals sufficiently.  It is worth mentioning Patrick Sharp and Brent Seabrook as having outside shots, but being unlikely to get there unless their best seasons of their respective careers are yet to come.

As far as this season's playoffs go, it is alarming that two of Chicago's supposed star players in Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have not lived up to expectation in the playoff run to date.  That statement may no longer be true with Kane given his hat trick today (that makes half of his playoff goal total in one game).  Jonathan Toews has an alarming one goal scored in the playoffs so far this year.  When a player posts numbers like that we expect to hear he was playing with a significant injury.

Chicago is probably the best team in the NHL this season.  They have a chance to show it in the Stanley Cup finals.  The problem is they are not an elite team.  This is the sixth straight season the NHL has not had any elite teams.  That loss is a direct result of the salary cap.  In fact Chicago may have been an elite team if they had not had to tear their team apart after winning the 2010 Stanley Cup.  There is a good chance they could be an elite team today had they been allowed to be kept together and build in the way they naturally would have.  It is a shame we never got to see that.

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Comments

 1 2 >       Next »

Avatar

In fact Chicago may have been an elite team if they had not had to tear their team apart after winning the 2010 Stanley Cup.  There is a good chance they could be an elite team today had they been allowed to be kept together and build in the way they naturally would have.

What future Hall of Famers and/or top goalie who is among the best few NHL goalies did the Blackhawks lose ? They lost a lot of solid players like Ladd, Versteeg &, Byfuglien, as well as Niemi, but I don’t see your point. Would having these players push Sharp or Seabrook to HOF caliber ?

For that matter, conceding Selanne, Pronger and Niedermayer as HOF’ers how does Giguere (or Bryzgalov) qualify the ‘07 Ducks to elite status as you define it ?

Posted by mc keeper on 06/09/13 at 01:19 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Giguere was one of the best goalies in the league in 2007.

I don’t know what Chicago would have done about their goaltending if they were not held back by a salary cap.  They would not have had to find the bargain basement solution of a rookie in Corey Crawford.  In the 90’s teams in similar situations found their elite goalies when they were allowed to use their financial muscle.  Dallas brought in Ed Belfour, Colorado brought in Patrick Roy, Detroit brought in Mike Vernon, Dominik Hasek and Curtis Joseph.  Nobody knows what Chicago may have done if they were allowed to do it.

Even if we assume they stuck with Niemi, he is closer to being an elite goalie than Crawford.  After all he is a Vezina nominee.  He might have been good enough.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/09/13 at 01:44 AM ET

Avatar

I apologize, but I’m a bit confused about your article. Are you lamenting the fact that the lack of an elite, Stanley Cup winning team makes it difficult to compare winning teams from different decades? Were all or most Stanley Cup winning teams made up of elite teams in the distant past?

I suppose the argument can be made, but it seems to me that the game is so different from 20+ years ago that a perfect one to one comparison is almost impossible in any case. Personally, I really enjoy the fact that a non-elite team has a chance at winning the Cup. It’s much more interesting when a 7th seed, a comeback team from 0-3, or a “non deserving” hockey market wins the big one unexpectedly. How boring it would be if the super-team won the Cup each and every year. Maybe I’m just an underdog supporter.

On Giguere: I think that’s the primary reason why Francois Allaire has opted to coach in Colorado next season.

Posted by Frosty on 06/09/13 at 02:08 AM ET

LiteWork's avatar

I think its hilarious that teams like the 2008 Red Wings and 2010 Blackhawks arent considered elite teams. LOL.

Posted by LiteWork on 06/09/13 at 02:17 AM ET

Avatar

Disagree. Giguere was a solid goalie for a number of years but I don’t recall him as ever being considered one of the best in the league.

But for the sake of argument, if I agree with your take he was one of the best in 2007 (finishing 5th in GAA) why wouldn’t Chris Osgood (1st in GAA in 2008) qualify the Wings as being “elite” that year under your criteria ?

Posted by mc keeper on 06/09/13 at 02:18 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

I cannot believe that somebody wants to rehash the idea that Chris Osgood might have been an elite goalie the tail end of his career.  But since you do here is one of the many posts I wrote on that topic.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/09/13 at 02:22 AM ET

Laran's avatar

So let me get this straight….

The ‘07 Ducks qualify because Giguere was one of the top goalies of that year.

This year’s Blackhawks do not qualify in spite of the fact that Crawford was one of the top goalies of this year.  (min 20 games played - 2nd GA 1.94, 5th SP .926)

Without a doubt top 5 status in the league for this year. Whether proven at the start of the year is irrelevant. He performed at an elite level.

Talk about a warped sense of logic.

Posted by Laran on 06/09/13 at 03:26 AM ET

LiteWork's avatar

Giguere wasnt considered an elite goalie in 2007.

Posted by LiteWork on 06/09/13 at 03:31 AM ET

Laran's avatar

Not to mention he has never been nominated for the Vezina.

Hell the only Allstar team he made was in his hometown of Montreal where fans voted him in.

He had 1 “elite” playoff run and a few really great seasons.  Never top of the league.

Posted by Laran on 06/09/13 at 03:54 AM ET

Avatar

My argument is not for you water down you definition…. but:

I don’t think outside of the Original Six era you can really ever show even 50% of the teams in SC playoff were elite by your definition. Certainly Elite Hockey was not on display in the SCF in 98 - well only on one side and that is sort of not that fun unless you are rooting for the not hapless team being swept in 4.

I agree the current system is designed to very much prevent kind of year over dominance of the past by one team for more than maybe a year or two.

Is that a bad thing, well really depends on what kind of fan you are and for what team. Would I like the Red Wings to have more contracts, more roster slots, more cap space etc so they could have stayed as dominate as they were a few years ago - sure, but other teams fans. Idunno?

Two other things I thing argument fails to capture the team dynamic of Hockey. An Elite team by your own definition can mail in games or just get out worked or out coached. In any one game or season I don’t think you can say because team A lacks sufficient ‘Elite Players’ it is not playing Elite Hockey. There may not be Two Elite teams in the SCF right now but I think it would hard to argue that there are two better teams right now in any other league that Hockey fans should be watching. BY extension I would argue also there is still little doubt that the 16 teams that qualified this year were likely all better than the comparable playoffs elsewhere - what seems to bother you is that distribution of talent is now more diffuse rather than locked in a few at the top. Again that is a value call but I don’t think is says the Hockey I watch is poor. Watching Lou put together an Elite dead puck era team and have to see win now that is boring hockey

Another thing by using elite players to get to an elite team your are sort of ignoring your own logic on the value of HOF or awards etc. How many times have you argued some award was give out habit or as a sort of career endowment.. Or used advanced stats (or say Brodeur is a fraud) that X player is over-rated and some other Y is under-rated. Or take Osgood already mentioned above is over rater I suppose but as many point out his achievements best a lot of HOF goal keepers.

Finally even at face value I don’t see how elite can translate across eras where the game was so vastly different - be just to the formal Original six or the earlier eras.
I would reject any comparison to pre-modern light weight equipment and goalie masks no matter what standard you use except in the most broad way. As sort of say just which pre-cap ‘Dynasty’ was the best. But you could settle with simple math of SCs and how many wins it took per series. You simply cannot compare the Elitness of players like Terry Sawchuk vs Dominik Hasek. Hasek’s style was based on modern equipment, he could never have done that in the fifties, and would he might just have ended up as unknown AHL winger. How about Sawchuk without just the simple guts to play goalie with no mask and piss poor pads as the first bar to jump he might really have been only average today.

Posted by paul k on 06/09/13 at 08:26 AM ET

Avatar

I cannot believe that somebody wants to rehash the idea that Chris Osgood might have been an elite goalie the tail end of his career.  But since you do here is one of the many posts I wrote on that topic.

Sorry, maybe I wasn’t clear. I’m questioning Giguere’s classification as an elite goalkeeper.  I don’t consider him elite based on his entire body of work. If you want to cherry pick 2007 and say he was one of the best in the league, why not do the same for others ?

No need for the indignation for my bringing Chris Osgood into the argument.  I’m not rehashing the “Ozzie fot the HOF” argument here . As a Wing fan I appreciated his work, but I do not think, nor did I say he was ever an elite goalie in the game. But you can just as easily cherry pick his 2008 season and say he was one of the best that year. Which is what you seem be doing with Giguere in 2007. It seems to me you are being inconsistent with the applications of your definition of an elite team.

Posted by mc keeper on 06/09/13 at 12:33 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

If want to argue that Giguere was not an elite goalie that is probably a reasonable position.  It makes a much clearer case that the salary cap destroyed all elite teams. 

I don’t buy it.  At the time (2007) I ranked Giguere as a top goalie.  He was yearly among the top saves percentages in the the league.  From 2005-06 to 2007-08, he Roberto Lungo and Tomas Vokoun had the highest overall saves percentage (I am a too lazy right now to rank them - I am not sure who was ahead at that point).  Add that to a 2003 Conn Smythe and you have an elite goalie.  Yu have something Corey Crawford or Tuukka Rask or Chris Osgood cannot match.

It is easy to downgrade him because he didn’t keep up those numbers in Toronto or Colorado but that is re-writing history.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/09/13 at 12:52 PM ET

LiteWork's avatar

If want to argue that Giguere was not an elite goalie that is probably a reasonable position.  It makes a much clearer case that the salary cap destroyed all elite teams.

I don’t buy it.  At the time (2007) I ranked Giguere as a top goalie.  He was yearly among the top saves percentages in the the league.  From 2005-06 to 2007-08, he Roberto Lungo and Tomas Vokoun had the highest overall saves percentage (I am a too lazy right now to rank them - I am not sure who was ahead at that point).  Add that to a 2003 Conn Smythe and you have an elite goalie.  Yu have something Corey Crawford or Tuukka Rask or Chris Osgood cannot match.

It is easy to downgrade him because he didn’t keep up those numbers in Toronto or Colorado but that is re-writing history.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/09/13 at 12:52 PM ET

From 2009 to 2013 Tuukka Rask is 2nd in save percentage. Im pretty sure he will come 4th in Vezina voting this year as well. Wouldnt that make him an elite goalie?

I find it interesting that according to you an elite team must have at least 3 hall of famers, when the actual Hockey Hall of Fame is perfectly fine with inducting players who were never considered elite during their careers.

Posted by LiteWork on 06/09/13 at 02:48 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

From 2009 to 2013 Tuukka Rask is 2nd in save percentage. Im pretty sure he will come 4th in Vezina voting this year as well. Wouldnt that make him an elite goalie?

Rask is a borderline call at best today.  I could see somebody legitimately calling him an elite goalie, but most people who use the words as I do will not.  I think his defence gets a lot of credit for his numbers.  That is the problem with your attempted statistical numbers.  The real test comes from watching him play and not in the raw numbers.

I find it interesting that according to you an elite team must have at least 3 hall of famers, when the actual Hockey Hall of Fame is perfectly fine with inducting players who were never considered elite during their careers.

I find this comment pretty dishonest.  I think its clear that in almost all cases if a player makes the Hall of Fame he was an elite player - at least as I use the term.  You may wish to try to throw Dick Duff at me as a counter-example but it is pretty far fetched and really doesn’t make a point.  I use Hall of Fame as a standard for top players because it is the least easy to BS.  Even those who overrate for example Corey Crawford and try to argue he is elite will have to admit he is not a Hall of Famer - at least not likely without assuming a huge increase in his level of play into the future.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/09/13 at 03:13 PM ET

LiteWork's avatar

Rask is a borderline call at best today.  I could see somebody legitimately calling him an elite goalie, but most people who use the words as I do will not.  I think his defence gets a lot of credit for his numbers.  That is the problem with your attempted statistical numbers.  The real test comes from watching him play and not in the raw numbers.

What about Gigeure? Doesnt his defense get a lot of credit for his numbers.

I find this comment pretty dishonest.  I think its clear that in almost all cases if a player makes the Hall of Fame he was an elite player - at least as I use the term.  You may wish to try to throw Dick Duff at me as a counter-example but it is pretty far fetched and really doesn’t make a point.  I use Hall of Fame as a standard for top players because it is the least easy to BS.  Even those who overrate for example Corey Crawford and try to argue he is elite will have to admit he is not a Hall of Famer - at least not likely without assuming a huge increase in his level of play into the future.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/09/13 at 03:13 PM ET

Mike Gartner,  Dino Ciccarelli, Joe Niewendyk, Clark Gillies, and Lanny McDonald.

Posted by LiteWork on 06/09/13 at 03:27 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Mike Gartner,  Dino Ciccarelli, Joe Niewendyk, Clark Gillies, and Lanny McDonald.

I am happy to call each of those elite players.  Did you watch them play?  You have 4 guys who got over 500 career goals on your list.

What about Gigeure? Doesnt his defense get a lot of credit for his numbers.

Not on the level Rask does.  Its not even close.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/09/13 at 03:36 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

I think his (Rask) defence gets a lot of credit for his numbers.

I guess I have a bit of a problem with this.  Why wouldn’t Giguere get the same treatment, seeing he had a really good defence in front of him as well?.  Wouldn’t an elite team have to have a pretty damn good defence, and therefore, how do you differentiate between eltie goaltending and good goaltending made elite only because of the defense in front of him?

I would argue that if you had an elite goalie who had to make a lot of very difficult saves every game, you wouldn’t have an elite team because you’re defense wasn’t very good.  I think if a team has an elite defense and the goalie does his job behind them, then you have a pretty good claim as an elite team, assuming you can score.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 06/09/13 at 03:38 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

John

If you want a simple test that shows Giguere was an elite goalie while Rask doesn’t come out as well (and admittedly this is an over-simplification but it makes the point).  We can look to 2003.  Giguere carried an Anaheim team to the Stanley Cup finals and a Conn Smythe Trophy with a weaker defence than he had in 2007 when he won the cup (Pronger and Niedermayer were not there yet).  Rask has no examples of anything in his past that comes close to that level of success.

That may be missing your point.  Perhaps the argument you are making is that you have no idea how much credit to give to defence and to goaltending and hence you are never certain when a goalie is a top goalie.  That point misses my point for the most part but would require a much longer answer to answer it properly.  The short answer in this case is we can separate the defence from the goalie in Giguere’s case in a pretty certain manner.  In some cases it isn’t so easy but that doesn’t make it impossible and we need to give up as you seem to suggest.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/09/13 at 04:00 PM ET

LiteWork's avatar

I am happy to call each of those elite players.  Did you watch them play?  You have 4 guys who got over 500 career goals on your list.

Just because you scored over 500 goals doesnt mean you were an elite player. Pavel Daystuk will not get to 500 goals and he was an elite player. Gartner was never even a top 3 Right Winger, and the majority of his career wasnt even a top 30 player. Same can be said for Dino. Niewendyk not even close to an elite player. He was a good 2nd line center his entire career. Lanny McDonald might be considered elite for maybe 2 seasons. Clark Gilles was a nice player you love to have on your team. Similar to guys like Rick Tocchet and Pat Verbeek but he was never even close to being an elite player. If the HOF wanted to induct another player from the Islanders dynasty John Tonelli or Butch Goring probably would have made better choices not that I would agree with any of those 3 players being hall of famers.

Posted by LiteWork on 06/09/13 at 04:00 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Just because you scored over 500 goals doesnt mean you were an elite player. Pavel Daystuk will not get to 500 goals and he was an elite player.

You are not even making a coherent point here.  You argue that 500 goals does not make you elite in and of itself - to that I agree but it is a pretty strong argument that you were elite.  Then you jump to a case of a guy who will likely not score 500 gals to try to support your argument.

If you don’t see Mike Gartner or Lanny McDonald as elite players in their primes we are not speaking the same language.  We do not mean the same thing by the word “elite”.  I mean that these are game changing players who are among the best players in hockey and can change the result in a game on a relatively regular basis.  Gartner and McDonald did this.  What do you mean?

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/09/13 at 04:14 PM ET

LiteWork's avatar

You are not even making a coherent point here.  You argue that 500 goals does not make you elite in and of itself - to that I agree but it is a pretty strong argument that you were elite.  Then you jump to a case of a guy who will likely not score 500 gals to try to support your argument.

If you don’t see Mike Gartner or Lanny McDonald as elite players in their primes we are not speaking the same language.  We do not mean the same thing by the word “elite”.  I mean that these are game changing players who are among the best players in hockey and can change the result in a game on a relatively regular basis.  Gartner and McDonald did this.  What do you mean?

Well we must have different definitions of elite then.

Lets focus on Gartner because I think he’s the perfect example of what wrong with the Hall of Fame.

Gartner was never top 10 in Hart voting, never top 10 in Selke voting, never selected to a 1st or 2nd All-Star team. Was never even a 3rd team all-star if it had existed. He was only top 10 in points once, when he was exactly 10th. His next best finish is 17th and thats it for top 20 point finishes. He was top 10 in Goals five times in his 19 year career. For a guy who was supposedly a great goal scorer to finish top 5 in goals just once (which was exactly 5th) isnt really that impressive. He had no memorable playoff runs either.

In fact most of his teams advanced further in the playoffs after he was traded. It wouldnt hurt to have Gartner on your team but he didnt really make your team better. He wasnt a game changer. To give a few examples guys like Jagr, Messier, Sakic, Yzerman, Lindros, Forsberg, Selanne, they were dominant, game changing players.

If I ran the Hall of Fame guys like Francis, Sundin, Iginla, Modano, Recchi, Alfreddson etc. would be at the bottom rung/cutoff point for HOF induction. Gartner wasnt as good as those players.

 

Posted by LiteWork on 06/09/13 at 05:03 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Gartner is as good as several of the players you claim are on the cutoff point for Hall of Fame induction. 

But I will ask the question even if I (and the Hall of Fame committee) are wrong about Gartner (and his 708 career goals!!!! - that is a lot for you to overlook) so what?  How does that significantly change anything in the post?

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/09/13 at 05:08 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/09/13 at 04:00 PM ET

Using Giguere’s 03 stats to prove his 07 eliteness pretty much proves my point.  In order to be an elite team under your guidelines, a goalie would have to play on a team that is somewhat weak defensively prior to the season where that team would be elite in order to prove that the goalie is elite, and not just a product of his team’s defense. 

To me, this is a flawed arguement.  If you take a very good team, and add a young goalie to the mix, how does that goalie ever become elite if he never played on a weak defensive team to prove he could steal games on his own?  I would think that a team that can score, and have a close to league leading GAA, regardless of how it is done, would have to be considered elite.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 06/09/13 at 05:28 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

No John you missed the point.  I gave a relatively clear example of how we can remove the effects of a defence from a goaltender.  It is possible and but more complicated in other situations and you chose to throw up your hands and give up instead of attempting it.

At the same time I think you do it all the time.  If I asked you to rank the top 3 or 5 (or some other number) goalies in hockey today, you would give me a list that is likely not too different from my list and you would do it by trying to remove the effects of a defence from a goalie in your mind.  This is the very same thing you are claiming that cannot be done.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/09/13 at 05:33 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

No, you missed the point.  I’m not saying it’s impossible to to separate a goalie from the defense in some situations.  But, as I said, what if you have the young goalie (like Rask) come into a team who already has a very good defense?  Then how do you separate them?  Giguere is a potentially easy case, although I would argue that using 2003 stats to prove his eliteness in 2007 is a stretch.  Giguere led a surpirse team to the Cup final in 03, but it is possible (and likely given the salary cap) to have a stacked team using a young goalie who had never played in front of a weaker defense, so in that scenario, it’s much harder to determine how good the goalie actually is.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 06/09/13 at 07:10 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

How do we separate a goalie from his defence?

Here is one numerical method that works pretty well.

Your question is a much bigger one than I have time to answer right now, but I want to make the point that it CAN and HAS been done.  You do it all the time when ranking players in your mind.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/09/13 at 07:23 PM ET

Avatar

“But I will ask the question even if I (and the Hall of Fame committee) are wrong about Gartner (and his 708 career goals!!!! - that is a lot for you to overlook) so what?  How does that significantly change anything in the post?”

Because there is a question of longevity and when a person entered the NHL. Using Detroit as en example:

Think about it a desperate Detroit tossed Yzerman on the ice as soon as they had him. They don’t do that now. Yzerman would sit in GR racking up a what year or two of AHL records but not NHL ones. Or how about Vladimir Konstantinov he was elite but his career was short in the NHL. Being a good net mider or solid goal scorer and avoiding accidents injury and managing to play on decent teams does kind affect your points/HOF status and award list numbers. What would Rick Nash have done if played on an Elite team instead of crap one for most of his career?

Posted by paul k on 06/09/13 at 08:07 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

I guess what it boils down to for me is, if a team has the 3 future hall of famers that you require, what does it matter HOW they keep the puck out of the net?  Defense is a team game. 

You could have a team with 3 future hall of fame forwards, an elite goalie, and a terrible defense and a team with 3 future hall of famers, a really strong defense, and above average (but not elite) goalie would beat that team every time.

To me, a better definition of elite would be 3 future hall of famers and an elite team defense when compared to the other teams in a given year.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 06/09/13 at 08:12 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Achieving longevity and being able to play at a high level well beyond your prime age is a sign of a Hall of Famer (note its not the only sign so I don’t need somebody following this post up to tell me I think Bobby Orr is not a Hall of Famer or something else ridiculous).

However I think the main question you are asking is what if things were different than the way they were?  The only answer is things would be different.  If Mike Gartner died in a childhood accident he wouldn’t be a Hall of Famer.  Instead he was an NHL star for well over a decade and scored 708 regular season NHL goals.  That is how I judge him as the player he actually was.  I cannot tell you what would have happened in an alternative reality and neither can you.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/09/13 at 08:24 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

John

If you watch hockey or look at its history, it isn’t hard to show you that goaltending is extremely important.

Also for the record I would like to state that I haven’t once “defined” an elite team in terms of the number of Hall of Famers on it.  I state it as a necessary condition but not a sufficient one.

To me, a better definition of elite would be 3 future hall of famers and an elite team defense when compared to the other teams in a given year.

If you think that is a better definition, prove it.  Show me how it gives a better result.  I think you overrate defencemen in your system.  A team with 3 future Hall of Fame defencemen and nothing else would qualify as an elite team.  Wouldn’t that be problematic?

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/09/13 at 08:29 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

You’re talking circles now man.  I never said 3 hall of fame defencemen and nothing else would qualify as an elite team.  I said:

To me, a better definition of elite would be 3 future hall of famers and an elite team defense when compared to the other teams in a given year.

Meaning, if a team has a significanlty better team defense (which includes but is not limited to the goalie) than any other team that should supercede who the goalie is. 

Is a team that allows X amount of goals in a year with an average defense and an elite goalie better than a team that allows the same X amount of goals with a great defense and simply above average goaltending?  Of course not.  The team with the better team defense would have a better team because they wouldn’t be giving up as many chances and would possess the puck more allowing them more scoring chances. 

 

 

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 06/09/13 at 08:42 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

John

A team with three Hall of Famers who all play defence qualifies under your terms unless you want to restate them.  Perhaps you should….

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/09/13 at 08:49 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

John

A team with three Hall of Famers who all play defence qualifies under your terms unless you want to restate them.  Perhaps you should….

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/09/13 at 08:49 PM ET

I took exception to the “and nothing else” that you added the 1st time.  The team could have 3 future HOF d-men, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a capable offense just because there are not future HOF forwards.  And the strong team defense includes the goalie, he just doesn’t have to be elite for the team defense to put up elite numbers.

And again, you just pick on wording and not the actual point, which was:

Is a team that allows X amount of goals in a year with an average defense and an elite goalie better than a team that allows the same X amount of goals with a great defense and simply above average goaltending?  Of course not.  The team with the better team defense would have a better team because they wouldn’t be giving up as many chances and would possess the puck more allowing them more scoring chances.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 06/09/13 at 09:03 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Is a team that allows X amount of goals in a year with an average defense and an elite goalie better than a team that allows the same X amount of goals with a great defense and simply above average goaltending?

In the season where that occurs those teams are exactly the same.  The problem is that history shows us that elite goaltending is far repeatable than other positions because it requires only one player to maintain his success in order to keep it going into the future.

So I would argue that the team with elite goaltending is far more likely to be a top team into the future.  Thus, I would call the goaltending team a better team.  They have better prospects into the future.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/09/13 at 09:13 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

In the season where that occurs those teams are exactly the same.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/09/13 at 09:13 PM ET

No, they are not remotely the same.  Better defense equates to more puck possession and more scoring chances for your team.  If your goalie is playing out of his mind facing 50 shots a night, you aren’t getting very many scoring chances going the other way.  If your defense is keeping the puck our of your end, your team is possessing the puck more, generating more offense, and winning more games.

Fact is, with the salary cap, a team would be stupid to tie up too much money in an elite goalie.  You can get the same effect by spreading that money over a strong defense and a simply good goalie.  In fact, saying the team with the elite goaltending has a better future is wrong, because that team won’t be able to afford to keep that elite goalie and keep the players good enough to keep that team near the top.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 06/09/13 at 09:30 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

John

You have changed the parameters of what is being discussed.  You stated the teams have equivalent offences that score the same number of goals.  Now you state that your team has more offensive chances in one case than another.  That is dishonest. Unless your `equivalent offence on one team regularly blows scoring chances in order to score at the same rate as the other team they are not equivalent.

Fact is, with the salary cap, a team would be stupid to tie up too much money in an elite goalie.

That is not a fact.  You could just as easily argue that a team is stupid to tie up money in an elite defence - since it is several players who will all require contracts - except that is also a wrong statement.  if you have elite players, you need to keep them.  Often that can be done without giving out a huge contract - there certainly are Hall of Fame players who were never among the highest paid players in the league. 

The reality is you win by having better players than your opponent.  When you find those better players it is good to tie them up longterm.  If they are truly elite players they are worth large contracts to do so.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/09/13 at 09:41 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

I think the problem is we were discussing defence meaning keeping the puck out of your net and you have dishonestly substituted it with defencemen.  These are players who have both offensive and defensive responsibilities.  And you are using the offensive ability from defencemen to argue that defence is better.  It is a bait and switch.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/09/13 at 09:47 PM ET

LiteWork's avatar

Why does a team need to have a top goalie to be considered elite? I could just as easily say that you need to have an elite center to be considered an elite team. In that case the 2007 Ducks dont qualify because they had Andy McDonald as their #1 Center.

Posted by LiteWork on 06/09/13 at 11:46 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Historically elite teams have had elite goalies.  However there are many examples of teams that have been elite ones and not had a top player at some position on their first line.  Goaltending is more important than any other particular position.  That shouldn`t be a controversial statement - its pretty obvious when you watch a hockey game.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/10/13 at 12:03 AM ET

LiteWork's avatar

Historically elite teams have had elite goalies.  However there are many examples of teams that have been elite ones and not had a top player at some position on their first line.  Goaltending is more important than any other particular position.  That shouldn`t be a controversial statement - its pretty obvious when you watch a hockey game.

I do watch a lot hockey games and its certainty debatable what is the most important position. The Detroit Red Wings, the most successful franchise of the last 20 years proved that goaltending is not the most important position.

Posted by LiteWork on 06/10/13 at 12:24 AM ET

 1 2 >       Next »

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

About The Puck Stops Here

imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

Why am I blogging? I want to.

Why are you reading it? ???

Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com