Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Mental



Went on a field trip as a chaperone for my four year old's kindergarten class. Over forty little kids going to the farms and of course as anyone who has kids knows at that age they are mental. Completely nuts. It was fun, completely chaotic and weird, but it did go really well until they butchered the steer.
Speaking of weirdos, did you know that I actually have a super power? Seriously. I can find stuff. The boy is looking for a potato chip he lost a few days ago. I can track it down. Immediately. Its like I have a sixth sense or something. Not sure how I can incorporate this into a tight pleather costume so I can fight crime but I'll figure something out.
And finally, how awful must it have been for Wings' fans Monday night. Thirty five seconds away from the Cup and then ...BOOM. The saving graces - they have two more shots at it and they won it recently. Don't get me wrong, if they lose tonight and again on Saturday that will be a moment they agonize over forever but imagine if the same scenario had played itself out when the Canucks were pressing at the end of G7 in 1994. Then you can really talk about curses. At least they are not trying to break fifty years of frustration. Still, thirty five seconds....
When freaky Maxime Talbot came into the picture as the sixth attacker I scratched my head. Turns out he had not been used in that role all year. Imagine that. Crazy stuff.
A game seven would be a lot of fun but I think the Wings finish it tonight. They have nobody to blame but themselves for G5. A poor first period and they could have been down three or four really. I think they come out and do the Pens in right away tonight.
Worrisome if you are a Wings' fan? I might bet on Fleury over Osgood in G7 and Malkin finally showed some life in G5. If he were to finally wake up and help out Crosby and Hossa things might get interesting.
I don't think so though.

34 comments:

Bruce said...

If Osgood pulls a(nother) stinker tonight, would Babcock dare going with The Dominator in Game 7 ?

Osgood wasn't that bad in Game 5, but the tying goal was a very bad mistake. The Wings just need roughly equal goatending to win, but in Game 5 Fleury was the better 'tender, and if it happens again tonight ...

Not saying it will, mind you, just that it would pose an interesting situation if the Pens pop a couple early. Just as Babcock yanked Hasek after 1.5 tough games in Nashville, should he be any more loyal to Osgood?

Nice options when you got the two goalies who backstopped you to your last two Cups. Who cares if it was 6 and 10 years ago, these guys know what it takes, and Wings re-acquired both of them with tonight's game in mind. And Saturday's (if necessary)

Jonathan said...

If Osgood pulls a(nother) stinker tonight, would Babcock dare going with The Dominator in Game 7 ?

God forbid. Hasek was outplayed all season and Osgood should have started at the beginning of the playoffs.

This is a good enough team that their goalie shouldn't need to win them games- he just needs to avoid losing them. Osgood fits that role lots better than Hasek.

Bruce said...

Hasek was outplayed all season and Osgood should have started at the beginning of the playoffs.

???

Osgood 27-9-4, 2.09
Hasek 27-10-3, 2.14

That's about as equal a partnership as has ever won the Jennings Trophy.

As a long-time fan of the Dominator -- who I consider the best, the most exciting, and the most eccentric goalie I have ever seen -- I'd love to see him get a shot in a one-game showdown at the end of the line of his dazzling career. The worry is that he might be Walter Johnson in Game 7 of the 1925 World Series, but I personally would bet on him to deliver the goods.

That said, there's no question that Osgood is still on the mound tonight. He can silence my wishful thinking with another solid game, which he has delivered pretty consistently throughout the playoffs and all season long for that matter. But if he fails to slam the door a second time, then Babcock has some thinking to do.

Black Dog said...

Oh I don't know Bruce - Hasek was so damn shaky against Nashville. Osgood would have to be shattered essentially for Babcock to press Hasek into service. Even if Fleury outplays him tonight, putting in Hasek after almost six weeks of inactivity would likely be disaster and would smack of panic, I would think.

I can see the Pens winning tonight but I think the Wings are winning this series - I cannot see them losing three in a row.

Yikes! said...

Is that your daughter's future suitor?

Jonathan said...

That's about as equal a partnership as has ever won the Jennings Trophy.

You left out one significant stat, Bruce:

Osgood - .914SV%
Hasek - .902SV%

As a long-time fan of the Dominator -- who I consider the best, the most exciting, and the most eccentric goalie I have ever seen -- I'd love to see him get a shot in a one-game showdown at the end of the line of his dazzling career.

Maybe that is the problem with me- as talented as Hasek is, I have always disliked his attitude and his temperment. His antics the year he won his only cup were telling, as was the criminal case pursued against him during his brief retirement. Additionally, I never approved of the way he was used to displace Joseph, although that really cant be balmed on him.

Bruce said...

//That's about as equal a partnership as has ever won the Jennings Trophy. //

You left out one significant stat, Bruce:

Osgood - .914SV%
Hasek - .902SV%


Unusual to see Sv% used against Hasek, who is the single season record holder and all-time career leader in that particular stat. But it's extrememly difficult to maintain a top Sv% when facing extremely low shots totals.

It's an odd fact that Detroit allowed 24.3 shots per 60 with Osgood in net and just 21.8 with Hasek. Did they play better in front of Hasek? Did they do something different? Did he do something to limit shots against? Who knows?

What I do know is that the Jennings Trophy which I cited is based on GAA, not Sv%, and the two were virtual equals, allowing ~2.1 GA/60, finishing first and third respectively in the entire NHL in individual GAA. In virtually equal ice time both won 2/3 of their games in backstopping the squad to the President's Trophy. It was an equal and effective tandem.

Maybe that is the problem with me- as talented as Hasek is, I have always disliked his attitude and his temperment.

A matter of taste, I guess. He's a high-strung son-of-a-gun for sure. It's his quirkiness that makes him compelling to watch. Love him or hate him, though, you can't deny his spectacular career accomplishments which now include a second Stanley Cup at age 43.

His antics the year he won his only cup were telling, as was the criminal case pursued against him
during his brief retirement.


Don't recall the "antics"? Did he celebrate inappropriately? The "criminal case" amounted to allegations which were never pursued, let alone proven.

Additionally, I never approved of the way he was used to displace Joseph, although that really cant be balmed on him.

No kidding. I must say, after watching CuJo fly the coop in Edmonton for greener pastures in Toronto, and then fly the coop in Toronto for even greener pastures still in Detroit, I just didn't feel too sorry for him at all. Detroit had more confidence in Hasek because he actually won something for them, which is more than Joseph ever did.

Black Dog said...

yikes! - christ I hope not

nope that's Max Talbot in all his glory

never a big fan of Joseph, although the guy has contributed tons of money and time to Sick Kids Hospital here in Toronto (my wife is a nurse there); overrated imo

Jonathan said...

Don't recall the "antics"? Did he celebrate inappropriately?

I watched every game fo the Van-Det series that year (my dad is a Canucks fan, poor guy) and the way Hasek flopped around every time a Canuck got near the crease was the worst display of diving I have ever seen from a goaltender. Bryan Burke is all kinds of irritating, but his press conferences from that series were pretty much bang on, IMO.

I must say, after watching CuJo fly the coop in Edmonton for greener pastures in Toronto, and then fly the coop in Toronto for even greener pastures still in Detroit, I just didn't feel too sorry for him at all. Detroit had more confidence in Hasek because he actually won something for them, which is more than Joseph ever did.

I find it difficult to forget the stuff Joseph did in net here- and IIRC he was not so much looking for a better team as he was more money; certainly when he left Toronto they were not willing to pay him what Detroit was.

Joseph really only got one kick at the can with Detroit, and despite amazing goaltending on his part, that was the year they ran into J-S Giguere and Babcock rode him all the way to the finals.

The "criminal case" amounted to allegations which were never pursued, let alone proven.

Pursued by two different prosecuters, actually, but the fact is Hasek was only given a small fine for a misdemeanor, and the case ultimately ended there.

Unusual to see Sv% used against Hasek, who is the single season record holder and all-time career leader in that particular stat. But it's extrememly difficult to maintain a top Sv% when facing extremely low shots totals.

I am well aware of Haseks spectacular career, and hes definitely a 1st-ballot hall-of-famer based on sv% alone. This year, though, the difference between him and Osgood was equal to the difference (in sv%) between Roli and Garon. The guy who runs the warehouse at work is a minor hockey coach/GM and major Detroit fan (I had some fun at his expense in 06) and he was astounded that Babcock used Hasek as the starting goaltender. He is not the same player he was even two years ago. I did not watch enough DET games to be absolutely stubborn about this, but Hasek to me has looked shaky all year long, and if Osgood had not slumped towards the end of the year, the difference in their stats would have been much larger.

Jonathan said...
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Jonathan said...
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Black Dog said...

OK, ok, Jonathan - we get your point! ;)

Jonathan said...

Sorry; I couldn't get it to post (or so I thought).

3 times for emphasis!

Bruce said...

That point is moot today; in the end Hasek was a bench warmer, and after waiting his turn Osgood took the crease with authroity for the duration of the playoffs. Hasek and Chelios wound up as highly-experienced and -decorated veterans who Babcock never did have to pull out of the vault in the SCF. Nice to have guys like that around just in case, though.

What a team.

Black Dog said...

Yep, great team. Would have done it last year too if not for injuries to Kronvall and Schneider.

And one thinks they will be back next season.

Jonathan said...

And one thinks they will be back next season.

In point of fact, I'd give Detroit better odds of returning than I would Pittsburgh.

Great team, but what else is new?

Black Dog said...

Definitely better odds then Pittsburgh. They are going to have a totally different team next year. Start with Hossa and Malone.

Too bad.

Bruce said...

Yep, great team. Would have done it last year too if not for injuries to Kronvall and Schneider.

Yeah, I agree, losing two of their top four blueliners was just too much. At that they were a flukey Scott Niedermayer goal away from probably going to the SCF.

This year the crafty Ken Holland reworked that Top 4: he let Brian Burke overpay for Schneider's services; instead spent the big dollars on an elite and durable defenceman in Brian Rafalski; picked up Brad Stuart at the deadline for a song (total cap hit, $767 K); while hanging tough with Kronwall who showed what a difference-maker he can be when healthy.

And one thinks they will be back next season.

Well, they're in the mix every season:

2001-02 President's Trophy / Stanley Cup
2002-03 Third overall / First round loss
2003-04 President's Trophy / second round loss
2004-05 Lockout year / salary cap introduced
2005-06 President's Trophy / First round loss
2006-07 Second* overall / third round loss
2007-08 President's Trophy / Stanley Cup

... meaning the Wings have won 6 of the past 12 major team trophies (yeah, I'm weird, I think the President's Trophy means something; to me it means the most when the same team sweeps both as the Wings did in 2002 and again this year, which in my view is the mark of a true powerhouse). The Wings have won 4 of the past 6 PTs, lost a fifth on a tie-breaker, and finished all of 3 points behind the leader in 2002-03, when they obviously suffered a Stanley Cup hangover.

6 other teams (Ottawa, New Jersey, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Buffalo, Anaheim) won 1 each of those major honours in the past 6 seasons. The other 23 teams have won none.

And it's way more than six years, the Wings were a powerhouse for a decade prior to that. in 16 seasons since 1991-92, the Wings have posted a regular season mark of 762-344-174, .663 with 12 division titles, 6 President's Trophies, and 4 Stanley Cups. Since their first PT in the lockout-shortened 1995-95 season, they have averaged over 110 points per season, including the last 8 in a row of at least 108 points.

Shades of the powerhouse Wings of the 1950s, who were so good in the regular season (7 straight Prince of Wales Trophies) that the fact they won "only" 4 Stanley Cups had some tabbing them as underachievers. (!) Not in my view, in which the combination of perennial regular season achievement with frequent playoff success ranks both Red Wings dynasties near the very top of the list of all-time teams.

Black Dog said...

Too lazy to look back a few weeks (now that's lazy!) but I posted on that exact same success then, Bruce. The last 17 seasons, iirc, they have had under 100 points only 3 times. Once during that lockout season and they were on pace then anyways - also made the SCF that year. The other two years they had 97 I believe once and 94 the other - the year they had 94 they won the Cup.

Something like that anyways.

And in a league with 22 teams and more. Not six teams.

They're something.

uni said...

...certainly when he left Toronto they were not willing to pay him what Detroit was.

Small nitpick, but Joseph likely left Edmonton to Toronto for more money. But he certainly left Toronto for Detroit cause he thought the Wings were greener pastures and he believed he had a better chance at winning the cup there (and was likely correct). If you recall he turned down a slightly better deal in Toronto that would have made him at the time the highest paid goalie in NHL history, for the same amount of years, to play for Detroit.

While that doesn't excuse what the Wings did to him bringing in Hasek...he certainly doesn't draw a tear from me.

Bruce said...

Too lazy to look back a few weeks (now that's lazy!) but I posted on that exact same success then, Bruce.

BDHS: Yeah I remember, in fact it's still on the front page, down a few posts (under "Wings" ... and you're right, that IS lazy. :-D ). Sorry for the redundancy, I just wanted to put their accomplishments in the fresh perspective of another "League-Cup Double", when we can forget about the odd playoff failure and simply admire the franchise for their spectacular record of long-term success.

At the time you wrote:

But here is a fun fact - in the last 17 years! the Wings have had over 100 points thirteen times. The years they fell short they had 98 points, 94 points (won the Cup), 93 points and 70 points (48 game season where they lost in the SCF).
And this is in a league with 22 or more teams, not six. With free agency. And drafting near the end of the first round every year.


Agreed on all points, other than the technicality that it's 12 out of the last 16 seasons since 1991 with 100+ points, with one season cancelled. In the 1995-95 season their 70 points were sufficient to comfortably win the President's Trophy, and would prorate to 120 in a full schedule. It's a phenomenal record no matter how you slice it.

Yeah they had the money advantage all those years but then where are the Leafs' Cups?

The amazing thing is that the money advantage was largely snuffed with the new CBA, the Wings responded by shedding payroll like the dickens (buying out Hatcher, Whitney and McCarty) and carrying right on, successfully defending their President's Trophy from pre-lockout to post-.

Jonathan said...

Small nitpick, but Joseph likely left Edmonton to Toronto for more money. But he certainly left Toronto for Detroit cause he thought the Wings were greener pastures and he believed he had a better chance at winning the cup there

Not to disagree, but IIRC, the Leafs paid Sundin and Joseph wanted a deal in his range and they wouldn't give it to him. Of course, that's IIRC, and that's always a little dicey.

Bruce said...

CuJo changed teams multiple times throughout his career, signing with 5 different teams as a free agent, and only once being actually traded (to the Oilers, during an extended contract dispute). CuJo's loyalty always seemed to be "to his family", which is understandable but is also the reason I didn't feel sorry for him when another mercenary knocked him out of the crease in Detroit. Given he signed two different $24 MM contracts I'm sure his family is doing just fine. His teams on the other hand ...

Bruce said...

Further on CuJo:

Joseph really only got one kick at the can with Detroit, and despite amazing goaltending on his part, that was the year they ran into J-S Giguere and Babcock rode him all the way to the finals.

Happened again the next year, as CuJo indeed got a second kick at the can, and once again was on the losing end of a goaltenders duel, this time with Miikka Kiprusoff. Joseph was pretty darn good (1.39GAA, .939 Sv%), but after losing 1-0 in both Games 5 and 6, the latter in OT (beaten by another ex-Oiler, Martin Gelinas), Cujo's W-L wound up a middling 4-4 despite the gaudy numbers.

Over two playoff years in Detroit that record was 4-8. The Wings couldn't score for him, though, and the other goalie always made that one more save (or 20 more some nights). So I'm sure Detroit wasn't too sorry to see the final year of his contract annulled by the lockout, and look for another goalie or two who could win for them. In the end it was the recycled duo of Osgood and Hasek who had won for the Wings before and won for them again.

Joseph did help Detroit win one President's Trophy, the year of the three-headed monster that included Hasek and Manny Legace. And Hasek's groins. But in the end it was Legace who emerged as a surprise #1 that regular season, with Joseph a much-ballyhooed #2 or even 2A.

In the playoffs Joseph played well (great rate stats after leaving St. Loo), but was never able to muster the big winning streak to even make the SCF. His career record of 63-66 is definitely "middling", and his record of 10 series wins against 14 losses less than that. Never quite got it done for Team Canada, either.

A fine goalie and a decent man, for all those 449 regular season wins, when I consider CuJo's career the word "winner" isn't the first to spring to mind. Was nice enough to the media that he'll probably get into the HHoF eventually, but I'd be surprised if it was on the first ballot.

Black Dog said...

iirc he took a little less in Detroit which was part of a trend where the Leafs through ridiculous money at very free agent they could and none of the big ones came here

I always thought he was overrated myself and if he didn't play here in Toronto his name and HHOF would not even be in the same sentence.

Won a lot of first round series but never the Conference final. Kacked it up internationally at the World Cup and the Olympics.

A very good goalie and a very good guy. But not HHOF material, imo.

Jonathan said...

Joseph was certainly among the most mercenary of goaltenders of his generation. But stacking him up against the other really good netminders of the same period (Belfour, Hasek, Roy, Brodeur) I couldn't help but like him, because he always seemed chipper, pleasant- normal.

I don't really hold his lack of winning against him; I don't recall any poor performances at the World Cup, but I watched the Olympic game he lost (the only one he started) and Canada lost the game, not Joseph. The team was a mess against a very talented Swedish squad that might have gone all the way if not for some goaltending issues of their own (and some really, really, bad luck).

As for his NHL playoff record, (I'd forgotten that he started for Det in 03-04 as well), what do you do? As you've pointed out, Bruce, he ran into hot goaltending and the Wings couldn't score. When CuJo was with the Leafs it always felt to me like the team was lacking something, or, in the case of the 2001-02 team, so badly injured that it was a miracle they went as far as they did.

It isn't the same comparison, but if Hasek hadn't won in 2002, or Belfour in 1999, would we be talking about them as guys that couldn't get it done in the playoffs? If Bourque hadn't won with the Avs in that last year of a glorious career? I just don't like flat-out winning/losing because so much else besides individual performance comes into play.

Besides, Joseph has been a cahmpion for Canada - Spengler Cup, remember ;)

I think we'd be talking about Joseph much differently if he hadn't been eclipsed by Hasek in his prime, and for that matter, Roy, Belfour and Brodeur weren't small potatoes, either. Still, Joseph's 446 regular season wins is one back of Terry Sawchuk, and I imagine if he signs next year he'll eventually be behind only Roy and Brodeur when he retires.

Black Dog said...

Jonathan - I agree with you on the emphasis on a championship as a determining factor as to whether or not a guy had a successful career - Dan Marino is a great example from outside of hockey and now that there are thirty teams there will be plenty of greats who don't end up winning it all

Joseph was one of the better goalies of his era but Belfour had three trips to the Finals, remember? If it came down to Gretzky's old question I would take any of Hasek (who also almost single handedly won the Gold in 98), Roy, Brodeur or Belfour over Joseph. For that matter I'd take Richter too. In 96 the Canadians outplayed the Americans considerably and still lost the World Cup. In net - Richter and Joseph.

2002 I will give you to an extent but even in that one game there was no big save that might have turned the tide.

Lots of regular season wins, yes, but with 82 game seasons the regular season records in terms of games played, wins and so on don't mean so much to me.

As for the playoff flops it just seems extraordinary to me that year after year his teams were just not good enough to get over the hump. Some of that fault has to lie with him. A lot of weaker teams then those he played for went further then he ever did.

Jonathan said...

Joseph was one of the better goalies of his era but Belfour had three trips to the Finals, remember? If it came down to Gretzky's old question I would take any of Hasek (who also almost single handedly won the Gold in 98), Roy, Brodeur or Belfour over Joseph.

Well, I would take Hasek, Brodeur or Roy for sure, but there is not any shame in that. Pass on Eddy.

Maybe my glasses are so tinted because Joseph (almost single-handedly) won a couple of playoff rounds he had no business winning in Edmonton (both of which went 7 games).

Bruce said...

Well, I would take Hasek, Brodeur or Roy for sure, but there is not any shame in that. Pass on Eddy.

Jonathan: Agreed there is absolutely no shame in that. But to my mind there were two tiers of great goalies in the "Dead Puck Era", and Cujo ranks somewhere near the top of the second tier. I'm with BDHS that the first tier is those four guys you mentioned, including Billion-Dollar Belfour. No argument that he was a prick, but he was a hell of a good goalie. Better than Cujo, judging by the record.

Regular season:
Belfour 484-320-125, .588; 2.50, .906
Joseph 449-343-95, .560; 2.78, .907

Playoffs:
Belfour: 88-68, .564; 2.17, .920
Joseph: 62-66, .484; 2.44, .916


Sv% is a wash, but Belfour is clearly better otherwise, and the gap widens in the post-season. You might argue that he played on better teams, but I would counter he was a difference-maker who made those teams better.

Belfour led the league in wins once, Sv% twice, individual GAA twice, and in shutouts four times. Joseph led in Sv% once.

Belfour made the All-Rookie team, was named to two end-of-season Frist All-Star Teams and one Second Team. Joseph was shut out of those honours. Belfour played in five All-Star games, Joseph two.

Belfour won 7 major trophies in his career (the Calder, 2 Vezinas, 4 Jennings), while Cujo has one, if you even consider the King Clancy a major trophy.(I do, because I consider humanitarianism rather important, and in that respect Cujo has it all over Eddie the Eagle. But I'm making this argument from a hockey perspective.)

Finally, Belfour played in three Stanley Cup Finals, winning the Big One in 1999. Joseph never made it out of his conference.

Add it all up, and Belfour is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, just as Roy, Hasek and Brodeur will (or certainly should) be. Cujo might make it eventually, but there's a few more holes on his resume. Belfour's looks mighty complete to me.

Bruce said...

Still, Joseph's 446 regular season wins is one back of Terry Sawchuk

PS: Jonathan, With three wins this past season, Cujo passed Sawchuk and sits at 449, fourth all time. (Of course that includes Bettman Wins for Joseph and not for Sawchuk.)

I imagine if he signs next year he'll eventually be behind only Roy and Brodeur when he retires

He's still 35 wins back of Belfour, and at his age that might as well be 35 light years.

Jonathan said...

My arguments are countered! What to do what to do what to do......

I was looking at hockeygoalies.org for the career stats, I see now that they're a little out of date.

As for Belfour vs. Joseph, I can't really argue, and stand corrected.

Bruce said...

As for Belfour vs. Joseph, I can't really argue, and stand corrected.

Thanks, Jonathan; after all my failed arguments to the aptly-named Contrarian Goaltender that Marty Brodeur is anything more than, uh, fraudulent, it's refreshing to exchange views with somebody who is receptive to well-supported alternative views.

I have been fortunate to live through two Golden Ages of goaltending; the cluster of Terry Sawchuk, Jacques Plante, Glenn Hall, and Johnny Bower in the last decade of the Original Six, and then the foursome of Hasek, Roy, Brodeur and Belfour through the Dead Puck Era. I'm not overly interested in ranking those guys, to me I am honouring all of them when I say they belong in such an elite group.

To say I saw Belfour good would be an understatement. For one thing I had him in my keeper league pool for years, and followed his career closely. But any thoughts that he was merely a good goalie in a great situation were dispelled by numerous live viewings. His career record against the Oilers was about 50-3, and his Sv% seemed to hover around .950 until the stupid fans of Edmonton (motto: "We never learn!") started chanting his goddam name, and then it rose to fucking near 1.000. The guy just killed us, game after game, year after year, in Chicago and especially in Dallas.

Belfour was such a combative prick he was underrated as well as hated. But goddammit he was good.

Black Dog said...

And in Bruce's final words are a lot of truth - Belfour was a prickly guy, cranky, sullen, the sort of guy who was downright surly with the media. And he had his off-ice antics as well. (Although Belfour, iirc, always answered his country's call, usually as a backup, also as the third string on a few occasions. Never once did he register a complaint. Happy to be there and a true team player.)

Joseph - all round good guy, big donor to charities, engaging, if bland

Any wonder that one is thought to be the greatest goalie to never win the Cup, one of the greats of the game, while the other often gets run down as overrated?

A player's demeanour affects the coverage of him and as a result the public's perception is often coloured as a result and this example is a good case.

Bruce said...

BDHS: Agreed 100%.

As for answering his country's call, Belfour played a full season on the Team Canada World Tour squad whose players always got dumped by barnstorming NHLers for the World Championships; then sat quietly as first Joseph, then Brodeur were given starts ahead of him in Salt Lake City. Said all the right things about team first, and made enough of a positive impression on Pat Quinn that the Big Irishman signed him that off-season.