Back in the end of March, I wrote a commentary about groupthink and confirmation bias among New Jersey Devils fans. This is a construct that's suited for sports in general, if not much more, since it is a seemingly natural response to react to events good and bad by making sweeping claims. (e.g. this always happens, this never happens, etc.) When I inquired the community at large, one the most common subject that came up was Martin Brodeur. How many goals does he let in that are "soft?" Where is Brodeur often beat? How many come from long shots - and did Brodeur have a chance on any of them?
From here on out, I'm going to attempt to answer those questions via reviewing every goal allowed by Martin Brodeur in this past season. Thanks to NHL.com, every goal scored from this past season is saved and accessible by video. I will be going through all 168 of them month by month. Regular readers may remember that I've done this before, both for the goals allowed in February (may re-do those, not sure yet) and all 15 playoff goals allowed. This will be done in the same vein. Today, I will be going through all 27 goals allowed in October 2009.
|Oct. 2009 - Martin Brodeur||11||7||4
Lastly, I'd like to provide this quote from Todd Denault's Jacques Plante, page 111, where he quotes Plante's book, Goaltending (p. i):
"In his book Goaltending, Plante wrote, 'From now on, if you have a tendency to point the finger at the goalie, try to replay each goal and you will notice the goalie is seldom guilty. Watch what goes on in front of the net and you'll get a better idea of why the goal went in.' "
Let's see if that's true or not. P.S. Please set your viewing to "Wide" so you can see the entire chart.
Just like I did in past analysis like this, I have provided a link to every NHL.com video of every goal reviewed. This way if you disagree with me on a certain goal, you can check it out for yourself. Let me know what you think, of course.
Also, here's how I'm defining a soft goal: I watch how the shot came through Brodeur and determine whether Brodeur really should have stopped the puck. This means he must have seen the shot coming, the shot was not deflected or change otherwise in motion, he was in position to actually make the stop, and whether Brodeur made an uncharacteristic mistake that led to the goal (meaning: it wasn't a difficult shot to stop). If all were true, then I deemed the goal as "soft." Again, I've included links to all the goals against so you can make your own judgment.
Let's get right to it, I give you the 27 goals allowed by Martin Brodeur in the month of October in the 2009-10 season.
The Chart for October 2009
|Date||GA#||Where Beaten?||Goal Description||Soft Goal?||Video Link|
|10/3/2009||1||Low, far side, Brodeur's left||Carter picks up rebound, Brodeur still standing, angles shot far post to beat him||Yes||Link|
|10/3/2009||2||Over right shoulder, top-shelf||Lapierre takes puck past circle, picks corner from sharp angle.||No||Link|
|10/3/2009||3||Off left pad, up and over Brodeur||Richards wraps around puck, jams it hard on low left side, puck bounces up and in.||No||Link|
|10/3/2009||4||High, over Brodeur's glove||Powe from right sideboards, fires it over glove, Brodeur too slow to react||Yes||Link|
|10/3/2009||5||Low, 5-hole on right side||Carle beats Mottau to get to right circle, fires it 5-hole||Yes||Link|
|10/5/2009||6||On flank - to his right||Brodeur stops Prospal on left circle; rebound goes wide to Del Zotto who has whole net empty - and scores - PPGA||No||Link|
|10/5/2009||7||Between right arm and leg||Kotalik takes hard slap shot from point, off post and in. Possibly screened? PPGA||No||Link|
|10/5/2009||8||Low, through legs||Pelley misses cross-ice pass. Gilroy takes it from high slot, goes to right circle, slap shot goes through legs||Yes||Link|
|10/8/2009||9||Low, through legs||Stamkos gets puck in slot and fires it low through bodies. Brodeur didn't see it.||No||Link|
|10/8/2009||10||High over right shoulder||Stamkos takes one-timer in high slot from St. Louis. Brodeur had to go lateral, but it was just too fast and too high for him.||No||Link|
|10/8/2009||11||High, center of net||Wide open Fedoruk takes pass in left circle, fires it high over diving Brodeur who had to hope he went low||No||Link|
|10/10/2009||12||Over right leg, into center of net||Two on one with Weiss and Olesz, Weiss dishes it to Olesz, Olesz one-times it over and past sliding Broduer||No||Link|
|10/10/2009||13||Over glove, top left corner||Weiss beats Oduya, goes in close, fires it over glove to top left corner. PPGA||No||Link|
|10/12/2009||14||Top right corner||Close shot is stopped but is knocked out to right circle. Green fires it high through screen to pick top right corner||No||Link|
|10/12/2009||15||Off Brodeur's blocker and in||Knuble fires from left circle. Brodeur out to cut off angle, gets a piece of it off blocker, but shot overpowers it and drops into net||Yes||Link|
|10/16/2009||16||Low, right of Brodeur||Brodeur stops Afinogenov shot low and with right pad. Peverley right in front knocks rebound past him - PPGA||No||Link|
|10/16/2009||17||High, top left corner||Kane powers through to right circle, fires it high over Brodeur's left to pick top left corner||No||Link|
|10/16/2009||18||Low, right side, past right leg||Peverley fires low shot through screen, Brodeur stops it low Antropov takes rebound, fires it back to Peverley, who beats Broduer while on ground - PPGA||Yes||Link|
|10/16/2009||19||Low, center of net, off loose puck||Brodeur makes three stops, but puck is under unaware Brodeur; Thorburn beats White to puck, puts it in net. SHG||No||Link|
|10/22/2009||20||Between left arm and leg||Gaborik at top of right circle, fires shot through traffic to beat screened Brodeur - PPGA||No||Link|
|10/22/2009||21||Left side, just past glove||Kotalik is sprung for a breakaway, takes it in close, Brodeur goes down, whips out glove, but the shot's just past it||No||Link|
|10/24/2009||22||High, on Brodeur's left flank||Brodeur stops long Dupuis shot through traffic low, rebound bounces to Goligoski who puts it in empty net on left flank||No||Link|
|10/28/2009||23||Low, center of net, under diving Brodeur||Brodeur stops Rivet shot through traffic, MacArthur is right in front as screen, takes rebound, and puts it under stick of diving Brodeur||No||Link|
|10/28/2009||24||Low, through legs||
|10/28/2009||25||Low, through legs||Gaustad right in front of Brodeur takes pass from side boards and Brodeur has to slide across. Gaustad slides puck through legs during his slide
|10/28/2009||26||High, on left, over left shoulder?||Pominville unloads slap shot above left circle through screened Brodeur - PPGA||No||Link|
|10/31/2009||27||Low, through legs||Stamkos attempts pass across net deflects off Langenbrunner's stick. Changes direction, still fast, goes low through surprised Brodeur's legs||No||Link|
There is one game missing on this chart: 10/17/2009 versus Carolina Hurricanes. That's because Brodeur got a shutout and therefore there was nothing to review.
Brodeur has allowed 27 goals in October and by my review, I would say that 8 goals were soft. The only one I'm not certain on is the 25th goal allowed. Paul Gaustad did knock the puck through Brodeur's 5-hole, which is usually results in a soft goal. However, Gaustad was right in front of Brodeur, and the play was on the side-boards. Brodeur's attention had to be where the puck was, not on Gaustad. Therefore, he had to slide laterally and when a goalie does that, it's very difficult to keep the legs totally together.
Mark it 9, if you'd like, but I'm going with 8 soft goals or 29.39% of all goals allowed in October. Still, Plante's quote still holds true. The majority of the goals allowed were not solely Brodeur's fault. From observation, a good number of the 19 non-soft goals could have been prevented with proper defending. For example, GA# 17 where Evander Kane blows by two Devils to get close, and forced Brodeur to react before roofing it to the top left corner. You can argue that perhaps Brodeur shouldn't have reacted, but honestly it was a well-placed shot and, more importantly, someone should have tried to at least get in Kane's way. A little impeding, perhaps even taking a penalty, could have stopped that from ever being a shot, much less a goal.
Incidentally, look at GA #8 and GA #9 to see how much of a difference traffic in front of the net makes. #8 was one Brodeur should have stopped, I know Gilroy was on his flank but he got in position and just didn't close his legs in position. Yet, on #9, Stamkos fires a shot through traffic and it just beats him low; no chance to see where the shot was headed. Traffic in front makes a big difference. I noted 7 times, GA #9 included, Brodeur was screened in some way or form on a goal against. Nearly the same amount of soft goals, in fact. Add 2 goals off one-timers and a breakaway, and already we've got more goals where Brodeur had next to no realistic chance of stopping more.
Location of Goals Against
I've made an attempt to categorize where Brodeur's been beaten since that was one of the original questions presented. All locations are relative to Brodeur himself, not necessarily where the puck goes into the net. It's pretty simple, but it'll do:
Interestingly, in October, Brodeur was beaten nearly equally on high shots as low ones - 11 low ones to 12 high ones. Even more interestingly is that he was beaten completely equally to his left as well as his right: 10 to his left, 10 to his right. Yet, shots that go high to his left, such as over his shoulder, have been the most prolific locations for goals against in October. Given the amount of goals against to the high-right, I think it's fair to say that picking top corners was a good strategy against Brodeur; though it's probably a good one on most goaltenders.
As far as the low-middle, these were mostly 5-hole goals (exception: GA# 19). Again, the presence of traffic or a deflection (like in GA# 27) would make these mostly soft goals.
I will be going through these month by month, so now is the time to tell me how you feel about the format of these posts. Is there anything you noticed from my findings that I didn't go over? Is there something I need to explain? What surprised you about these findings? What didn't surprise you? Please leave me your thoughts in the comments.