The month of December was just terrible for the New Jersey Devils. Any of the of following adjectives would suffice: awful, pitiful, horrendous, miserable, depressing, enraging, horrific, bewildering, and craptacular. OK, the last one isn't really a word, but the point is all the same. It was a bad month.
No one suffered more in this month than the goaltenders. Both Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg put up some atrocious numbers. However, one of the main reasons to look back at each of these goals is to determine whether it was the goaltender's fault or not. Sure, seeing three or more goals by the opposition on a regular basis, like it seemingly did this month, doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in the goaltending. Yet, the video can tell a different tale. We know most of the 13 goals allowed by Johan Hedberg weren't his fault. What about Brodeur? Based on what we've learned in October and November, I suspect that the same may be the case in this month.
|December 2010 - Martin Brodeur||9||484||1||8||0||29||3.60||197||168||.853||1
Martin Brodeur came back from injury and returned to the ice on December 10. Outside of one good game on December 15 where he earned a shutout, opponents just lit up the Devils over and over. Brodeur's stats for this month are the worst out of any month of his 2010-11 season. That is bad by itself. Let's look at each of those 29 goals allowed (GA) by Brodeur to see whether he just made a lot of mistakes like the rest of the team did in that month; or whether he was victimized yet again. (Note: Please set your viewing to Wide before continuing.)
About the Review
The main thing I'm looking for in this review are "soft goals," those goals against that should have been stopped by the goaltender. Here's how I am defining a soft goal. The goalie must have seen the shot coming; the shot was not deflected or change otherwise in motion; the goalie was in position to actually make the stop; and the goaltender made an uncharacteristic mistake that led to the goal. If all were true, then I deemed the goal as "soft." In fact, the very last bit alone can make the difference between a soft goal or not.
I also want to highlight the last column in the following list: Skater Error. Did askater do something seriously wrong on the play that led to the goal? If so, their name (or names) end up on the chart. I could be picky and call them out for every goal, but I'm only highlighting who's actions or lack thereof contributed to the goal against. There will be goals where multiple skaters screw up, so you may see more than one name. I'm tracking this to see who was commonly at fault, assuming it means anything. As with the goals against themselves, feel free to discuss this too.
Lastly, I have provided links to the video I looked at for each goal from NHL.com. These links will auto-play the video, so be forewarned.
The 29 Goals Allowed by Martin Brodeur in December 2010: A Chart
|Date||GA#||Where Beaten?||GA Description||Soft Goal?||Video Link||Skater Error|
|12/10/2010||43||Low, past left pad||Karlsson fires a shot from the left point, bounces, goes through several bodies, and past Brodeur||No||Link|
|12/10/2010||44||Past the blocker||Brodeur stops Kovalev's shot, rebound bounces right to an open Michalek in the slot, who bangs it in||No||Link||Pelley|
|12/10/2010||45||High, off left shoulder||Brodeur stops Neil's shot, Ruutu puts rebound on Brodeur's left shoulder which bounces into the net||No||Link|
|12/11/2010||46||Off left post then off the glove||Datsyuk's shot is deflected by Holmstrom, which goes off the left post, off Brodeur's glove, and in.||Yes||Link|
|12/11/2010||47||High, over left shoulder||Brodeur comes out to play angle on Cleary and lowers his left shoulder. Cleary puts the shot right over it and into the net||Yes||Link|
|12/11/2010||48||Past the blocker||Zetterberg fires first shot in slot, Holmstrom tries to jam in rebound, Zetterberg follows up on 2nd rebound and scores amid the scrum||No||Link||Pelley|
|12/11/2010||49||Through the legs||Fayne goes to corner leaving Datsyuk wide open in the slot. Datsyuk gets puck, beats sliding Brodeur through the legs||No||Link||Fayne|
|12/17/2010||50||Between left arm and body||Weber's slapshot is deflected by Sullivan in front and it trickles in between Brodeur's left arm and body||Yes||Link|
|12/17/2010||51||Over the glove||Erat from the left circle fires a high shot that gets in, Brodeur couldn't see it past Volchenkov PPGA||No||Link|
|12/17/2010||52||Under the left pad||Suter's shot was deflected by Erat in the slot, and the puck gets under Brodeur's left pad PPGA||No||Link|
|12/18/2010||53||Over Brodeur's body||Hainsey gets to a long rebound first, fires it over Brodeur||No||Link|
|12/18/2010||54||Over left shoulder||Boulton at the crease one-times it up and over Brodeur||No||Link||Volchenkov|
|12/18/2010||55||On right flank||Kane gets puck back on give-and-go, one-times it past Brodeur's right flank||No||Link||Fayne|
|12/18/2010||56||Past/over the glove||Ladd gets puck at the top of the right circle, fires a blazer past/over Brodeur's glove and into the top left corner - (possible) screen by Fayne||No||Link|
|12/21/2010||57||Low, past left pad||Johansson fires a cross-slot pass to Gordon who was breaking to the net. Gordon re-directed it right past Brodeur's left side||No||Link||Elias|
|12/21/2010||58||Past Brodeur's right pad||Steckel feeds a wide-open Beagle in the slot. Beagle beats Brodeur with a point-blank one-timer||No||Link||Corrente
|12/21/2010||59||Over Brodeur's glove||Fayne's torched by Chimera, who has a one-on-one with Brodeur. Fayne hooks, but Chimera smashes a shot over Brodeur's glove anyway||No||Link||Fayne|
|12/21/2010||60||Under Brodeur's left arm||Zubrus' turnover leads to a 2-on-2 with White poking the puck off Ovechkin's stick. Carlson gets to it and blasts a shot through the screen (White) and past Brodeur||No||Link||Zubrus|
|12/21/2010||61||Through the legs||Poti's shot is re-directed by Knuble in front of Brodeur and it squeeks through Brodeur's legs and gets in on the far post||No||Link||White
|12/23/2010||62||Past his glove||Langenbrunner makes a blind pass to Bailey in the slot, he makes a move, and fires it past Brodeur's glove||No||Link||Langenbrunner|
|12/23/2010||63||Past Brodeur's left side||Brodeur stops MacDonald's shot in traffic, Bailey gets the rebound right in front and puts it in past Brodeur's left PPGA||No||Link||Tallinder|
|12/23/2010||64||Over the blocker||Brodeur stops Hamonic's slapshot, rebound goes to his right, Tavares takes it and blasts it in over Brodeur's blocker||No||Link||Zubrus|
|12/23/2010||65||Past Brodeur's pads||Brodeur stops Bailey on a breakaway, takes a bump, Nielsen torches Zajac to the rebound who puts it in past Brodeur's stacked pads SHGA||No||Link||Zajac|
|12/23/2010||66||Over the right shoulder||Schremp sets up Comeau above the left dot, Comeau unloads a one-timer over Brodeur's right shoulder||No||Link|
|12/26/2010||67||Over the glove||Rolston gives puck away to Armstrong in the slot; Armstrong picks the top left corner of the net||No||Link||Rolston|
|12/26/2010||68||Through the legs||Versteeg fights through Devils, forces a close shot that gets saved; Mitchell is at the crease to put home the rebound||No||Link||White
|12/26/2010||69||Over the right shoulder||Kulemin curls around out of the reach of Elias, away from Salmela, and fires a short-side shot using Grabovski as a screen||No||Link||Clarkson
|12/29/2010||70||Well under his glove||Rangers rush in during a change, Fedotenko passes it to a wide open Boyle, Boyle sees Brodeur over-commit with the glove and puts it in low||Yes||Link|
|12/29/2010||71||Over the left shoulder||Dubinsky feeds Rozsival at the left dot, he one-times it, the shot goes off Greene's elbow and goes in short-side||No||Link|
Many of the goals allowed from this month alone would be perfect examples of a goaltender getting hung out to dry. Sure, there were some GAs that didn't have any one particular error by a skater, there were a few that were just bad breaks like GAs #43, 45, and 71. However, there were some real boneheaded errors that forced Brodeur - and the Devils - to pay the price.
This isn't to say that Brodeur didn't make any mistakes. From my review, Brodeur gave up 4 soft goals in December. Yes, only 4. That's 13.79% of this month's total. GAs #46 and 50 were on shots that Brodeur had a piece of, but didn't get all of it. GAs #47 and 70 were the result of over-committing on the play and getting beat by it. That's it. I thought about GA #56, but upon repeated viewings - it was in that game against Atlanta, by the by - I thought Mark Fayne may have screened Brodeur on Andrew Ladd's shot. If you want to mark that against Brodeur, by all means; but the main point is the same. The vast majority of these GAs should not be held against Brodeur. He was victimized a lot in just 9 appearances.
I'm not going to go over each and every skater error. Many of them speak for themselves; but I want to highlight a few. If you're interested in how devastating a blind pass in the defensive zone can be, just look at what Jamie Langenbrunner did on GA #62 and Brian Rolston on GA #67. I'm surprised they didn't get assists on those respective goals. GA #65 is a great example of how an error in the offensive zone can lead to a goal against. GA #60 is another one if you want to see it happen at 5-on-5. If you just want to check out how a lack of coverage on rebounds can kill a team's chances in a game, then you have 8 of these go to through. I'd like to suggest GA #44 as a starting point. Lastly, you have your classic "the guy just made a bad decision" situations that still can lead some Devils fans (e.g. me) to lament "Why?" outloud at a computer monitor. GA #49 is the pinnacle of that in this month. Some of these were really hard to watch again, I have to admit.
Essentially, if you want to point fingers, point them at the guys who played in front of the goalie. Then again, if you recall much of how the Devils played in December, then you probably didn't need me to tell you that. The team was all kinds of bad then.
Location of Goals Allowed
All locations are relative to Brodeur himself, not necessarily where the puck goes into the net. It's pretty simplistic, but it'll do for general information.
Those who believe that Brodeur's glove has gotten weaker will look to this month as evidence. Several opponents just found ways to get it over his glove and shoulder. Some were off one-timers and others were just well-placed shots. In total, high GAs outnumbered low GAs 13 - 10. It shouldn't be too surprising to see a good percentage of low shots getting past Brodeur, given the number of rebound goals plus a few deflections in this month. Again, you have to hold this in context with the larger review above; the majority of these instances were not the result of Brodeur making a mistake. More often, it was his skaters.
I can assure you that things do get better. The team did start playing much better past the middle of January and the number of boneheaded moves are reduced; leading to better numbers for the goaltenders. As for this month, the findings certainly surprised me. I honestly thought I'd see a lot more soft goals; but the video showed otherwise. With the rest of the team playing like hot garbage, surely Brodeur would have had some off nights of his own. Yet, that wasn't really the case with the exception of the first period against Detroit on December 11.
I want to see your take on this. Were you also surprised to see a count of 4 soft goals out of 29 as I was after seeing these goals? Do you agree with what I termed as a soft goal and/or as a skater error? Which one of these GAs made you the most angry? (I'm still shocked at GA #49.) Please give me your answers and your general take on how Brodeur did in December 2010 in the comments. Thanks for reading.