Johan Hedberg is looking unhappy during this timeout on October 23, 2010. I had the same facial reaction on the soft goal he gave up in that game. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Last summer, I embarked on a project where I reviewed the video of every single goal allowed by Martin Brodeur. I wanted to see how many of the 183 goals he allowed (playoffs and regular season) were really his fault. Often times, when a goal is scored, the first instinct is to fault the goaltender. It's their job to stop the puck, ergo, a goal against would be seen as a failure. I reject that view. A goal against can be the result of an error by the guys in front of him. It could from the opposition excelling by way of a play or a perfect shot. It could even be just a fluke. However, this gets lost as the numbers just count the goals against.
Thanks to NHL.com, all goals scored in the past season are on video and can be reviewed. At the end of the project, I found that only 20.77%, or 38, of all goals allowed by Martin Brodeur were "soft goals." Now that the 2010-11 season is over, I would like to do it again. This will be a bit different. The backup goaltender, Johan Hedberg, got significant playing time. 68 of the team's 209 goals allowed this season came when Moose was in the net. They must be reviewed. Since he's an impending unrestricted free agent, it makes sense to me to review his goals against first. Plus, since it's a short month, now is a good time as any to try out the format.
Today, it will be short: the 6 goals allowed by Hedberg in October 2010. He didn't play a lot, but when he did, it was a nightmare. He didn't even play a full game.
|October 2010 - Johan Hedberg||2||48||0||1||1||6||7.46||24||18||.750||0|
Thankfully, Hedberg did much better than his stats would indicate this season. Yet, let's focus on these 6 goals and see how many of them were his fault. The goals against and additional commentary, all after the jump. (P.S. Please set your viewing to "Wide" before continuing.)
A Few Words About the Review
The main thing I'm looking for are "soft goals," those 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 (e.g. first goal against by Hedberg).
You will see in the upcoming chart that I sometimes mark a soft goal as "Yes?" This means I felt it was a soft goal but an argument can be made in favor of the goaltender. There won't be too many of these; but I will include them among the counts of soft goals - erring against the goalie.
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 6 Goals Allowed by Johan Hedberg in October 2010: A Chart
|Date||GA#||Where Beaten?||GA Description||Soft Goal?||Video Link|
|10/9/2010||1||Low, to his right||Hedberg goes out to play a cleared puck and gives it away to Brooks Laich. He goes around Moose to score. SHGA||Yes||Link|
|10/9/2010||2||High, over right shoulder||Eric Fehr all alone down low, curls towards post, puts it over Hedberg's right shoulder. PPGA||Yes||Link|
|10/23/2010||3||Low, through five-hole||Drew Stafford takes puck up to left circle and fires one past Hedberg through the legs||Yes||Link|
|10/23/2010||4||Low, right side||Tyler Myers gets cross-ice pass in high slot and puts a slapshot past screened Hedberg||No||Link|
|10/23/2010||5||Low, through five-hole||Tyler Ennis redirects Rob Niedermayer pass through Hedberg's legs right at crease||No||Link|
|10/23/2010||6||Low, through five-hole||Hedberg stops long shot from Jordan Leopold, Patrick Kaleta puts back rebound right in front||No||Link|
In retrospect, that first goal against by Hedberg was a sign he was bad handling the puck.
Anyway, Hedberg appeared in one game, started in another, and got lit up in both. He came in for Martin Brodeur while the Capitals were pasting the Devils 5-2 and the Caps added two more. He literally gave the puck up to Brooks Laich on GA#1. He gave Eric Fehr a big hole for GA#2 by dipping his shoulder down while along the post. While Fehr put up an impressive shot to find that hole, it shouldn't have been there to begin with. I put both goals against the Caps at the blame of Moose. Though, given that the Devils were down 5-2 when he came in, it's not like those soft goals killed the Devils or anything.
His second appearance, the one he started, ended up being a 6-1 loss to Buffalo where the team played like hot garbage. In my recap, I faulted Moose for two soft goals. However, after looking at the video with distance from the emotions of that game, I was wrong then. He only gave up one soft goal: the game's opening goal against Drew Stafford. I originally thought that the Tyler Ennis goal (GA#5) was on Hedberg; but that was a re-direction right in front of him. A point-blank move. That's not on Hedberg, as bad as it looked. If you want to blame someone for that, then yell at Henrik Tallinder for his horrific turnover and possibly on Matthew Corrente's "coverage" on Ennis.
As for goals that weren't soft, Hedberg didn't see Tyler Myers' shot (GA#4) and had no real chance at the point-blank rebound by Patrick Kaleta (GA#6). After the Kaleta goal, Hedberg was pulled for Brodeur. That would be it for Hedberg in October, he would have to wait until November to get a full game.
Definitely an auspicious start, 3 soft goals out of 6 allowed - a miserable 50%. Again, it should gets better from October onward. Or at least, it should better eventually. Hedberg got more minutes in November and December, but the team wasn't all that much better. We shall see in coming weeks.
Location of Goals Allowed
All locations are relative to Hedberg himself, not necessarily where the puck goes into the net. It's pretty simplistic, but it'll do for general information.
Not a whole lot to say here other than that Hedberg got often beat low. The three low middles were all through his legs, one soft goal (GA#4) and two not soft goals (GA#5, 6). Fehr's shot (GA#2) was the sole one to beat him high.
Future Posts & Your Take
While there isn't much here, I want your opinion not just on how Hedberg did in October but also on the format of these posts. From here on out (with the exception of Brodeur's injury-shortened February), there will be much more to review. If there's something you'd like to see added to these posts, now is the time to make your suggestions. Better to do so now than in the middle of Hedberg's 68 goals allowed or Brodeur's 127 goals allowed.
Example: I'm currently toying with the idea of adding another column to the chart Skaters in Error for some goals against. Basically, I want to call out a Devil who missed their coverage or gave the puck up or did something spectacularly wrong that led to the GA. Like Tallinder falling down and turning the puck over en route to GA#4 in the above chart. It's a bit murky, but I think there's value in tallying who got caught with the most significant mistakes on an allowed goal. Though, I'm hesistant as I could be particularly picky and call out anyone for errors on any goals against. I would have to be a lot more specific than my intent, perhaps to limit it to certain events and maybe even only one Devil. If you think it's a good idea and have a suggestion to extend the idea, then please say so in the comments. If you have any other ideas, then please bring them up in the comments.
The current plan is that I'll do a month per goaltender per week. So next Tuesday, you'll see the goals allowed by Hedberg in November 2010. The week after that will be December 2010, and so forth. When I'm done with Hedberg, I'll summarize his season like last summer's summary of Brodeur before moving onto the legendary goaltender himself.
In any case, what did you think of Hedberg's short month in October? Sickened to see that first goal allowed again, knowing it wouldn't be his only stickhandling error? Did you also want to scream when you saw Tallinder fall down and coughed up the puck? Do you agree with what I deemed soft? If not, what did I miss? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about Hedberg's October 2010 performance in the comments. Thanks for reading.