The Incredibly Stupid Lockout of Fall 2012 ended in early January 2013 with the plan of a shortened, 48-game regular season. The New Jersey Devils returned to the ice on Saturday, January 19, in Long Island with playoff hopes in mind and perhaps relief that there would be hockey. The old standby in net since 1994, Martin Brodeur, started that game and would go on to start in 28 others. While the season was shortened, injury did take him out of a significant portion of the season in yet another season, the playoffs would not be a reality for the Devils, and the final stats weren't so legendary from the active legend. Where did it all go wrong? Or rather, how did it go at all?
With all of this extra offseason time, it's a good time as any to look back at the 65 goals allowed by Martin Brodeur. We know his even strength save percentage was actually decent relative of the league. Shorthanded situations, on the other hand, were a nightmare for him. However, let's dive in deeper by looking at the events that created these stats. From there, we can answer additional questions. For example: How many of these 65 goals allowed should have been stopped? Where was Brodeur beaten the most? How does this season compare with prior seasons? The last question will be answered last, similar to what I did in Hedberg's summary.
|January 2013 - Martin Brodeur||5||311||3||0||2||12||2.32||138||126||.913||1|
In today's post, I will start with Brodeur's performance in January. It started off real well in Long Island. From a pure results perspective, eight out of a potential ten points isn't too shabby. However, the fourth and fifth games drove up the number of goals allowed - and the save percentage down - with nine goals between those two. Reviewing the goals themselves reveal that only one of them was truly a bad game by Brodeur. Yet, with such a short month, one bad game is enough to stick out rather poorly. Let's jump into the twelve and see what happened.
About the Review
But, first, the usual explanation of what it is that I'm doing. 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/or the goaltender made an uncharacteristic mistake that led to the goal. If the goal allowed qualifies, then I deemed the goal as "soft." In fact, the very last bit alone can make the difference in what is and is not a soft goal. Breakaways are done on a case-by-case basis; there I usually look to see whether the goalie has at least made an effort. I do expect the most disagreement with them.
In addition, there are other traits I've recorded I have denoted skater errors by player and scoring chance. I assign a skater error by name under "Errors" if the player did something significantly wrong that led to the goal such as a turnover or not covering their man. It's arguable that all goals allowed have an error or some kind; these are for the egregious mistakes made. If it's something like a bad line change, I'll use "Bench." As for scoring chances, that's dependent on where the shot was fired. Anything between the two faceoff dots towards the top of the crease would count. Anything outside of that has not. I've erred against counting a chance if it's borderline, for what it's worth. I also denote the general position of where the shot beats the goaltender relative to the goaltender's position.
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 when you click on them.
The 12 Goals Allowed by Martin Brodeur in January 2013: A Chart
|Date||GA#||Where Beaten?||GA Description||Soft?||Video||Errors||SC?||Sit.|
|1/19||1||Over the pad||Four Devils PKers looking in corner, Grabner gets loose and flings it to Hamonic in the slot. Hamonic scores high.||No||Link||Zubrus||Yes||SH|
|1/25||2||On the left flank||Green feeds Ward down low to the left. Ward gets pass across to Ribiero for goal off flank.||No||Link||--||Yes||SH|
|1/25||3||Past the right arm||Clarkson giveaway gives Green another shot from left point. It gets through traffic low.||No||Link||Clarkson||No||ES|
|1/27||4||Past the left side||Brodeur stops Emelin's long shot, White beats Volchenkov to short rebound for a score.||No||Link||Volchenkov||Yes||ES|
|1/27||5||High over the stretched right pad||Greene misplays puck, Galchenyuk swoops in for 2-on-1. Pass past Fayne and Gallagher rips a high one-timer.||No||Link||Greene
|1/27||6||Between blocker and right pad||Markov picks off Josefson's clearance. He plays it up, tips slightly off Volchenkov's stick, and Prust bats it in mid-air.||No||Link||Josefson||No||ES|
|1/27||7||Under a fallen Brodeur||Missed shot by Bourque is missed by Brodeur. Markov slides loose puck in to win OT||Yes||Link||--||No||SH|
|1/31||8||On the left flank||Salvador clearance (?) gets picked up by Isles. Boyes gets it in slot, moves it to wide open Tavares on right, who scores on flank||No||Link||Kovalchuk||No||SH|
|1/31||9||Past the stick of a fallen Brodeur||After a Brodeur giveaway, Isles set up PP and Hamonic finds Aucoin at left post. Aucoin stops the pass and taps in the puck lying in the crease.||Yes||Link||Tallinder||Yes||SH|
|1/31||10||Past the right pad||Rebound cleared out to Tavares, who beats Salvador in a race. Tavares gets puck around Brodeur for goal.||Yes||Link||Salvador||Yes||ES|
|1/31||11||Past the right pad||Streit fires a low shot from the center point. Larsson accidentally tips it past Brodeur.||No||Link||--||No||ES|
|1/31||12||In front of Brodeur's face||Brodeur giveaway behind the net led to chaos in front. Salvador stops one on line, but Boyes slammed in rebound for OT win.||Yes||Link||--||Yes||SH|
Note: There were no goals allowed on January 22 because the Devils shutout Philadelphia. Not sorry, Flyers.
Relative Location of the 12 Goals Allowed
All locations listed are relative to Brodeur himself, not necessarily where the puck goes into the net. It's simplistic, but it works for general information. January was the time to get things in low because that's how most of this month's goals allowed got in the net. Of course, when you get an open look on the flank or catch Brodeur in a bad spot, one doesn't need to risk lifting the shot.
The first three games went as well as one could hope from a goalie. Only three goals allowed and each weren't really easily stoppable. The nine goals allowed in the last two games - four at Montreal, five against the Islanders at the Rock - weren't all non-soft. The first OT loser, GA #7, falls in part on Brodeur since he overcommited to his left. When he couldn't come up with the puck off the rebound, Andrei Markov slid it through his body and into the net. The second OT loser, GA #12, began with a giveaway from behind the net. While he impressively stopped the subsequent shot, he got way out of position and by the time Brad Boyes, he was facing the net. They weren't good ways to end games.
The other two soft goals came in that January 31 against the Isles. GA #9 started with Brodeur giving the puck away in an attempt to clear it. It was a rare, Hedbergian night with the puck for Brodeur. Anyway, the Isles set back up on the power play, Hamonic found Keith Aucoin at Brodeur's right and behind a totally unaware Henrik Tallinder (psst, Tallinder, that was your man). The pass itself was stopped either by Aucoin's leg or Brodeur getting a piece of it. While it was on the flank, were Brodeur a bit faster, he could have kept it out. He didn't and it was a PPG for Aucoin. I tend to be kinder on breakaways, but on GA #10, Brodeur conceded the short-side when he came out to challenge John Tavares. Tavares saw that and beat him on that side due to that misjudgment in challenging the skater. Not that Bryce Salvador helped by trying and failing to slow down Tavares. Since three of the four soft ones in this month came in one game, it's fair to say that January 31 was an early low point of the 2013 season for Brodeur's performance.
As for the non-soft goals, a number of them do stand out. GAs #1, 2, and 8 were all very similar. The scorer was able to get wide open during a Devils penalty kill, get the puck, and make Brodeur pay either on the flank (GA #2 and 8). GA #2 isn't so frustrating as it was a two-man disadvantage situation, but I'll admit to getting mad at my computer screen for #1 and #8 as the Devils PKers left men open on their flank. I tagged Dainius Zubrus and Ilya Kovalchuk respectively for being the closest to doing possibly something, though the fault lies with the unit as a whole. Now that I think of it, six of the twenty shorthanded goals Brodeur allowed all season came in this month alone. I wonder how many of them were similar like those three goals allowed. It's something to keep an eye on.
Incidentally, that Montreal game was didn't reflect well on the skaters. Seeing Ryan White just glide past Anton Volchenkov and get in a spot for a short rebound on GA #4 (further) confirmed the thesis that A-Train is slow. Andy Greene misplaying a puck at the blueline led to a makeshift two-on-one, which yielded GA #5. I noticed Brodeur was committing a bit too much on Alex Galchenyuk, but he's the puck carrier and so that's what he's supposed to do. Because Mark Fayne was just in the middle and didn't do anything, the pass to Brandon Gallagher was a killer. Jacob Josefson's clearance getting picked off reminded me of my reaction to seeing it live - quote: "Uh oh." - and then Brandon Prust bats in a slightly deflected puck in mid-air for GA #7. It wasn't a good game by the Devils and they really were fortunate to get a point out of it, even if the OT goal was a poor one for Brodeur to allow.
My last finding of note was GA #11. Adam Larsson accidentally tipped the shot by Mark Streit past Brodeur. I didn't tag him with an error because it was just that: an accident. That said, am I wrong to question why Larsson stretched his stick out while skating towards the middle? Is that a risky move or just happenstance of skating? I don't know, but it was definitely Brodeur's unluckiest goal allowed in January.
The results may have been acceptable from a standings point of view, but this paints a murkier picture of Brodeur's performance in January. The first three games were fantastic, the fourth was the result of a poor game, and the fifth game was a stinker by #30. Brodeur should have done better on a third of all twelve goals allowed. It could have led to a better result in that fifth and final game of the month. That said, he was also subject to some failings of others and one certifiable bad break on the rest. A closer look at future months will determine whether this was the start of something or not.
Now you've read the charts, you've seen some or all of the videos, and you've read the commentary. What do you think of Brodeur's January in retrospect? Does the game against the Isles bring down how he did in the rest of the month? Which goals did you think Brodeur should have stopped? What could have the PK done differently? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about Brodeur's performance in January in the comments. Thank you for reading.