Re: NHL Goaltending / Don't let facts get get in the way of our opinions
posted at 1/2/2011 6:50 PM EST
In Response to NHL Goaltending / Don't let facts get get in the way of our opinions
There seems to be a lot of talk about how the Bruins are handling Tuukka’s playing time this year, so I thought it would be interesting to do a bit of research and get some facts on how all 30 NHL teams handle their business. Here’s the deal: 1. Tim Thomas has 27 starts. Tuukka Rask has 10. The Bruins are employing roughly a 75/25 playing ratio, which projects to 60 starts for Thomas and 20 for Rask. 2. Of the 30 NHL teams, all but 8 teams play the exact same 75/25 primary versus backup ratio as the Bruins. Additionally, there are (17) backup goalies that have played FEWER games than Rask, putting him almost in the exact middle of games started at the position. 3. The exceptions to the 75/25 approach are Atlanta, Columbus, Chicago, Colorado, NY Islanders, San Jose, Tampa Bay, and Toronto. Of these (8) teams, injuries to the main keeper have forced the backups to start more games than desired in Atlanta (Mason), Colorado (Anderson), NY Islanders (DiPietro), Tampa (Smith), and Toronto (Giguere). In other words, only Columbus and San Jose have made the active decision to split starts between goalies more evenly than the Bruins and the rest of the league. Colorado’s choice has been because both goalies have been mediocre and they are trying to figure it out (both sport GAA over 3.0 and SV% under .900). San Jose’s tandem are both much better, and the way the organization is handling the Neimi/Nittymaki situation is at odds with the rest of the league and causing a big debate among fans. 3. What does this mean? It means that 28 of the world’s best hockey coaches, 28 x 3 Assistant Coaches, 28 goaltending coaches, 28 General Managers and 28 Team Presidents all believe that their team’s best chance to win at the NHL level is to is to have a starting goalie play 75% of the games and back-up 25% regardless of the talent of the backup-in-waiting. They believe this for many reasons, but mostly because goalie experts will say that rhythm and repetition are key to being on top of the game. An even split does not help either goalie find their absolute best, while the 75/25 split at least helps your top goalie and that‘s the best path towards more wins. 4. But what about last year? The starts last year show a more equal role between Thomas and Rask, but as fans we all know these are skewed over the season and it was Rask who played the 75% start rate to Thomas’ 25% the second half of the season. In the end, the Bruins did last year and are doing this year EXACTLY what 28 other teams in the league do with the 75/25 split. 5. I don’t know about you, but I’m fairly certain I do not have as much hockey knowledge as the aforementioned 196 NHL professionals who believe it’s best to have the 75/25 split, including the Bruins staff. If that’s the case, I am also fairly certain that if I had a choice to pick a guy who leads the league in GAA, Save % and shutouts, I’d make him my starter. So why is everyone complaining about Tuukka not getting time, when he's getting exactly the amount any other coach/GM/staff would giver him - especially when your starter is playing the best in the league? Any plan to try to start Tuukka more not only goes against the professional opinion of nearly every NHL guy there is, but it would simultaneously take your best player off the ice. Rask will get his 20 starts. I agree he could be on the top side of the backups and maybe get 25 on the season, but preferably against non-conference teams considering how he's playing (like the upcoming MIN game). He’ll also get the starting job next year or the year after, and we should all expect he gets 75% of those starts when it's his job. It’s on his shoulders to accept the conventional wisdom and do the best he can with it, which wasn't the case with his erratic play last vs. Buffalo. The rest of us? Maybe we should admit that there are hundreds of professional out there who might know a smidge more about hockey than we do. I truly welcome your thoughts on all this…but have a “take” that goes beyond coach-bashing. Let’s have a real discussion for once…and GO BRUINS!!!!
Posted by asmaha
No other teams employ a backup of Rask's caliber.Most of these coaches are playing thier starter at the level they are paying thier starter.What I mean is most teams don't enjoy the luxury of being able to afford 2 great goaltending options.I bet Ruff would love to rest Miller a little bit but,as we saw by his keeping miller in last night,he's not comfortable with his back-up option.Bottom line is that Thomas is starting to look tired.When's a better time to take advantage of the goaltending depth?