You know what they say: A good
man goaltender is hard to find. But maybe you don't need a great goalie to win the Stanley Cup any more. At least, that's what Chris Boyle over at SportsNet is saying. Boyle uses a few fancy charts to illustrate his point, but the general idea is that if you give an "adequate" goaltender a strong supporting cast, you can make a deep playoff run.
Considering that neither Corey Crawford nor Ben Bishop have looked like Conn Smythe candidates (and aren't Vezina finalists, for that matter), and that Carey Price could only carry the Canadiens so far, the argument holds up pretty well for the 2015 postseason.
To be clear, Boyle's not saying that goaltending doesn't matter at all. Here's the thought process:
It [goaltending] is important. The question is whether it's important to have a great goaltender or just an adequate one. Even when a goaltender wins the Conn Smythe Trophy, he isn't necessarily integral to the success of the Cup winner. Jonathan Quick gets a ton of credit for the 2012 Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup victory, but the Kings didn't need dominant goaltending to win.
I recently referenced a stat by Philip Myrland called the Win Threshold, which essentially measures what save percentage a goaltender would need to produce to finish at .500 or, for playoffs' sake, make it to overtime. During the 2012 post-season, Jonathan Quick could have produced a nightly save percentage of .894 and the Kings would have played 20 overtime games.
What Win Threshold really indicates is goal support. And what it has shown over the past dozen seasons, unlike in past eras, is that spectacular goaltending is now rarely required to have sustained playoff success.
Agree? Disagree? Let's hear it.
You may have noticed we had ourselves a Game 1 last night. The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1, with the game-winner coming courtesy of Antoine Vermette. There was a third period comeback, a (potential) biting incident, and a goal off a crazy deflection. Hold on to your seats, y'all. It's just getting started.
Here's the aforementioned tip from Alex Killorn again, because there's no way you're over how awesome it was.
GIF: Unreal tip by Alex Killorn to open the scoring in the SCF pic.twitter.com/r6THsE2TyW— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) June 4, 2015
You can relive more of the wild ride with this helpful recap. [NHL]
By now, you've probably read plenty of takes on what to expect from this series, but former NHLer Mike Rupp shares his thoughts. [The Players' Tribune]
Stars' owner Tom Gaglardi may face additional fines for "harmful alteration of a fish habitat" at Kamloops Lake. Gaglardi and his company, Northland Properties, have already paid $140,000 and could see that total rise to $300,000. [Vancouver Sun]
The 2015 NHL Awards will be hosted by actor/comedian Rob Riggle, and Daughtry will be putting on a show for the audience. Good news? Bad news? Don't-care-news as long Jamie Benn wins the Ted Lindsay Award? [The Score]
If anyone has a few hundred million sitting around, the Penguins might be for sale. Just a head's up. [TSN]
Panthers fans can rest assured that the team will still be in Sunrise next season. Plus, Gary Bettman has more to say about the league's expansion process. [ESPN]
Former *sob* Stars play-by-play man Ralph Strangis shares his thoughts on Eddie Olczyk's love for both hockey and horseracing and how the two tie together. [NHL]
Depending on when you're reading this, former Toronto coach Ron Wilson might have already been announced as the coach of the 2016 U.S. National Junior team.
Look for former NHL coach Ron Wilson to be named as coach of the 2016 U.S. National Junior team during a 10 a.m. conference call Thursday.— Kevin Allen (@ByKevinAllen) June 3, 2015
Don't drive drunk, okay? That includes when you're operating a Zamboni. [Philly.com]
In honor of the playoffs, The Guardian asked readers to share their favorite hockey memories—one of which is about a child almost being named after Oleg Saprykin. [The Guardian]
And finally, GoPro brings us another video. While it's been awesome seeing guys like Tyler Seguin show off their insane skills, this one is sweet in a different way. [YouTube]