Archive for the ‘Brodeur is a Fraud’ Category

How to steal a series or Gary Bettman is ruining his trousers right now

April 29, 2009

Martin Brodeur might be thinking that life is a fraud after tonight.

It seemed like Brian Rolston‘s crazy slap shot goal was going to allow the Eastern Conference to fall in 1-2-3-4 order until Tim Gleason‘s sprawling play kept the puck in the zone for the Hurricanes, which allowed Joni Pitkanen to set up Jussi Jokinen (of all fucking people) for a stunning game tying goal.

Then, out of nowhere, Eric Staal scored the series clinching goal with a little more than 30 seconds left in the game. Just a stunning series of events that ended an incredible (and odd) season for the New Jersey Devils.

With that, Gary Bettman‘s devil horns are probably ejaculating at the thought of a Ovechkin-Crosby clash (yes, we know Malkin exists but we know how this series will be marketed). The Capitals-Penguins series surely will bring out a trolling onslaught like we’ve never seen before.

Get your helmets, kids. Shit’s about to get real.

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The relative impossibility of judging Brodeur’s greatness relative to the greats

March 14, 2009

Martin Brodeur is not a Fraud.

That, ultimately, might not be the true point of Brodeur is a Fraud, but it is something that must be said nonetheless. You don’t threaten all-time records in wins and shutouts just because you have a good team in front of you.

The tricky part, though, is assessing any player in any sport compared to other players of similar greatness in different eras. Hockey is one of the truest team sports and is also a very diverse game from generation to generation.

For years, goalies could not even go down to the ice to stop a puck. The Bobby Orr era brought about a difficult time for tenders, but the Wayne Gretzky just about nuked GAA and save percentage stats.

Then, of course, there was the Dead Puck Era. A time in which the 100-point fire hydrants of the Eighties were replaced by goalies being outfitted like tanks producing once-unthinkable sub-2.00 GAA seasons.

Patrick Roy won a Cup in both eras. Martin Brodeur enjoyed his prime years in the no-score years. Some say Roy was better; some say Dominik Hasek was better than both.

But beyond his peers, how do you really compare Brodeur to … Jacques Plante? To Georges Vezina? To Ken Dryden?

The John Hollingers of the world think that you can adjust stats to tell you anything, but the problem is that these players weren’t worried about micro managing save percentages. Is it fair to say that (throwing out the steroid talk for a moment) Barry Bonds was, cleanly or not, a better home run hitter than Babe Ruth? Bonds hit more homers, but Ruth out-homered opposing teams in his day. Relatively speaking, Ruth was Gretzky-like. Incomparable. But can you say he’s a better dinger-man than Bonds? It’s futile.

Brodeur’s career, to me, is quite a lot like Emmitt Smith‘s. Both players were among the best in their position in their primes. Both were seemingly indestructible compared to their peers, allowing them to amass staggering numbers. And both were, at least slightly, damned by the fact that they played along with Hall of Fame teammates and lacked the artfulness of their best counterparts. They even share the similar quality of owning three championship rings.

Brodeur is to Smith as Dominik Hasek is to Barry Sanders.

(Although Brodeur probably butchers English less often than Smith, even if it might be his second language.)

Right now, people are trotting out “but he got his stats beefed up by SO wins!” and that’s fine. It’s relevant. But he’s 36 years old. If he plays 4-6 years, he could add 100 to 150 wins to his totals. Will that make him the best goalie of all-time?

Some will probably say yes, others will turn red faced and scream “No!”; there is simply no way to truly know. Ultimately, it’s subjective: once the stats melt away it’s all about nostalgia, rooting interest, what games you get to see and stylistic preferences.

How about, instead of grinding your teeth fighting for or against Brodeur, you just enjoy being alive to see records being broken? After all, it may take a few generations to break Marty’s records. Might as well make THE BEST of it.

All-Decade Team Goalie: Can anyone challenge Martin Brodeur?

January 29, 2009

Among hockey’s great minds (and my name is not on that list … hopefully mine is at least on the list of “people who can function and happen to enjoy the NHL”), the importance and relevance of statistics is of considerable debate. For the most part, my allegiance is somewhere down the middle.

Sometimes it’s just flat out difficult to deny dominance. When it comes to sheer quantity from the seasons ’99-00 to current day, no other goaltender comes within spitting distance of Martin Brodeur.

His numbers are just staggering. On these numbers alone, you could quite possibly have a Hall of Fame career:
  • 343 wins
  • 62 shutouts,
  • approximate save pct. 91.3%
  • at least 70 GPs every year except 2008-09
  • Two Stanley Cups
  • 5 All-Star appearances
  • 4 Vezina trophies
  • 2 Jennings GAA trophies
  • three time First Team All-Star

There isn’t another goalie who approaches many of those totals. Some, like Dominik Hasek, saw their best days before the turn of the century. Others, like Henrik Lundqvist, came along too late or have yet to enter their prime.

That being said, Brodeur has had his fair share of detractors in his career. Certainly, the Devils are enjoying a considerable amount of success with their famous goaltender nursing an injury. Some say that Brody simply was in the right place at the right time, a solid goaltender who happened to luck into New Jersey’s suffocating trap defense.

One of the most reasonable and interesting critics of Brodeur is The Contrarian Goaltender, who runs the aptly titled (and regularly fascinating) blog Brodeur is a Fraud. We had the pleasure of exchanging an e-mail on the subject of Brodeur as goaltender of the decade, and while admitting that ” … the time frame (99-00 to present) does line up pretty well for Brodeur, since all his main rivals from the 1990s retired in that period” the CG says that the one goalie who may stand a chance is Roberto Luongo:

“I tend to place a greater importance on individual save stats than team success, as well as a heavier weighting on peak play than longevity, and I generally distrust goalie award voting. All of these are reasons to pick Luongo over Brodeur. I think save percentage is the best goalie stat, and according to that stat Luongo was the best goalie of the decade (.919 save percentage compared to .914 for Brodeur, with Luongo likely facing tougher shots on average). I think Luongo’s 2003-04 season was quite possibly the best single season by any goalie between 2000 and 2008. Brodeur’s best season was unquestionably 2006-07, and yet I would have given my Vezina vote to Luongo that season. Brodeur has the quantity, team success, and award voting, but in my view Luongo has the superior quality.

… Brodeur is definitely the safe choice and the consensus opinion, but if it was my call I’d go with Luongo.”

Throughout this process, the main things I’ve been focusing on revolve around stats, peak years and awards although other subjective and outside influences will come into effect.

This is part of the reason I’m putting together a “secret tribunal” to ultimately decide this All-Decade Team. Any of the other contributors are welcome to base their decisions on any number of factors (the only rule: consider the time frame of 99-00 to current).

It will be interesting to see what kind of debates spring up along the way. So, what do you say: is Brodeur a no-brainer or is Luongo a better goalie stuck on lesser teams?