The facial expressions for the Devils say it all: "Oh noooooo." Let's review this goal and 12 others from December! (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
November 2010 was a fine month for Johan Hedberg. He came in relief for an injured Martin Brodeur and filled in more than adequately. He not only completed a full game, but went the distance in all 6 of his starts, earned a shutout over Washington, and a mere 2 out of the 15 total goals allowed were really his fault. While the Devils weren't great in November, Hedberg certainly shined.
Then December came along. To put it kindly, the Devils sucked and Hedberg's numbers swelled.
|December 2010 - Johan Hedberg||6||232||1||3||0||13||3.37||114||101
It wasn't until the last game of the month (and the calender year) for Hedberg to actually get help from the guys in front of him en route to a winning effort. Sure, his first start was a nightmare, as he got pulled within the first two minutes against Montreal. However, future appearances saw him get more minutes, and outside of getting lit up in one game, the losses seemed to be more of a team effort than goaltender failure. Of course, that's why I'm reviewing all of these goals against. To go beyond the statline and qualitatively see what the goalie should have stopped and what they really didn't have much of a chance on. Let's continue the review by looking at the 13 goals against Hedberg in December after the jump. (P.S. 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 (e.g. first goal against by Hedberg).
I've added a new column to the chart called Skater Error. Did a Devils skater 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 13 Goals Allowed by Johan Hedberg in December 2010: A Chart
|Date||GA#||Where Beaten?||GA Description||Soft Goal?||Video Link||Skater Error|
|12/2/2010||22||Low, past right pads by post||Hedberg stops a Roman Hamrlik shot in the chest but he bobbles it. Puck drops to his right and Brian Gionta taps it in.||Yes||Link||Tallinder|
|12/2/2010||23||Low, past left pad by post||Lars Eller drives into the zone, wraps around, and tucks it in past the left post past Hedberg||Yes||Link||Greene|
|12/4/2010||24||Low, off second (third?) rebound to his right||Andreas Nodl takes a shot, Mike Richards puts rebound off post, and James van Reimsdyk jams it in amid the scramble.||No||Link|
|12/4/2010||25||Low, on his left||Hedberg stops Jeff Carter in the slot; Darrel Powe puts rebound off right post, and puck slides to open ice for Claude Giroux to put in easily.||No||Link||Langenbrunner|
|12/4/2010||26||High, over right shoulder||Mike Richards deflects a Chris Pronger slapshot past Hedberg.||No||Link|
|12/4/2010||27||Low, through five-hole||Jeff Carter found Danny Briere open at the crease and Briere one-timed it through Hedberg's legs||No||Link||Greene|
|12/6/2010||28||Medium height, past glove||Tic-tac-toe play: Pascal Dupuis up-ice to Sidney Crosby, cross-ice to Chris Kunitz, and he blasts a one-timer||No||Link|
|12/6/2010||29||Medium height, left flank||Alex Goligoski fires a shot (or a pass?) on net, puck bounces to Sidney Crosby. Crosby pounds it in on Hedberg's flank||No||Link||Langenbrunner|
|12/18/2010||30||Low, past left pad||Eric Boulton drove to the net, jammed it in at right post, and it got in by Hedberg's left pad somehow (by force, not a gaffe)||No||Link||Volchenkov|
|12/18/2010||31||High, left side of net, Hedberg out of net||Hedberg goes out of his net to play a dumped in puck only for it to bounce out to center. Boulton jams it in.||Yes||Link|
|12/18/2010||32||Low, through five-hole||Evander Kane fights off defenders and sees Chris Thorburn at the crease. Thorburn one-times the puck through Hedberg's legs||No||Link|
|12/26/2010||33||Low, through five-hole||Langenbrunner gives it up to Tomas Kaberle, he finds Colby Armstrong wide open as Devils are in a change, and Armstrong puts one through Hedberg's legs||Yes||Link||Langenbrunner|
|12/31/2010||34||Medium height, past glove||Alexander Burmistrov circles around in corner, finds Dustin Byfuglien all alone at crease, and "Big Buff" gets some elevation on his one-timer.||No||Link||Kovalchuk|
I counted 4 goals as soft out of the 13 allowed in December. While that's an increase in proportion over November, it also means I didn't figure a majority of the goals against were Hedberg's fault. The only truly bad appearance was his first one against Montreal on December 2. I'm still trying to figure out how he bobbled that puck on GA #22 and his hesitation on GA #23 is on him. As strange as it reads, pulling Hedberg less than 2 minutes in that one was warranted. Too bad the rest of the team couldn't be pulled as they got demolished by Les Habs.
Even as I termed the first two goals against soft, there were skater errors. Henrik Tallinder did absolutely nothing to prevent Brian Gionta from getting that rebound. As for the second, Andy Greene gave away the puck up the center of the ice to Lars Eller, who then torched Mark Fayne wrapped around and beat Hedberg and any other Devil, namely Greene, to the post.
Hedberg's worst performance in terms of total goals allowed in a game didn't reflect badly on him in review. GAs #24 and #25 were strangely similar in that the Flyers scored off rebounds that hit the post. Literally, they were good bounces for the Second Rate Rivals. While you could possibly fault a few skaters on #24, I tagged Langenbrunner on #25 for missing his man completely. GA #26 was just a deflection, not much that could be done there; whilst Greene's lack of coverage on Danny Briere was costly as Briere put in GA #27 on a point-blank one-timer.
Hedberg's next-to-last start for this month wasn't as costly. GA #28 was as perfect of a tic-tac-toe play as you could get. GA #29 was a perfect reminder as to why I don't miss Jamie Langenbrunner. He takes this entire play off. He's the last to get back into the zone, he's not making any advances on anybody in blue, and he just stands there away from the play. He clearly sees Sidney Crosby alone at the far post behind Colin White and does nothing. No communication to tell White that Crosby, the team's top player and possibly in the world, is behind him waiting for a pass or a rebound his way. Of course, he gets it, Hedberg has no chance on it, and I'm seething at #15 even though he's now with a different organization. Moose did as well as he could have, but what wasn't his fault cost the Devils the game.
Hedberg came back into the picture on December 18 against Atlanta. You know, the one where they lost 7-1. Hedberg replaced Martin Brodeur. This didn't go well for Moose. Anton Volchenkov got burnt by Eric Boulton of all people - I tagged him with the error for that alone - and Boulton just jammed the puck at the left post. I didn't fault Hedberg on GA #30 because he was in position, he was covering the post, and the puck was just forced in there. I'm not sure what Moose could have done differently. He could have done a lot better on GA #31, when he was out of his net, the puck bounced off his stick into the open slot, and Boulton completed his hat trick. If GA #2 against Washington was the Mob Rules of outside-of-the-net-errors by Hedberg, then GA #31 is the Dehumanizer. (Heaven & Hell comes in January). Anyway. GA #32 capped off a miserable night for the Devils and Hedberg had no chance on it as it was a point-blank one-timer.
Fortunately, his next two appearances wasn't as horrible. Hedberg came into the third period for Brodeur against the Maple Leafs on December 26 and only allowed one. GA #34 was a pretty heinous goal allowed as Colby Armstrong got in one-on-one and slid one through the five-hole. That's on Moose because he either A) needs to keep his legs closer or B) better yet, put your stick on the ground as protection. It should have been stopped. That said, Langenbrunner's also at fault since he gave the puck away right to Armstrong as the Devils were changing. Again: I don't miss Langenbrunner. The final GA of the month came in Hedberg's lone win. Alexander Burmistrov found Dustin Byfuglien all alone on Hedberg's flank for Atlanta's sole goal of the game. Byfuglien was Ilya Kovalchuk's man on that play and he was out of position. Hence, I tagged him for the error. As for the goalie, nothing could be done on that one - if he stopped it, it would have been both fantastic and fortunate.
Amid all these words, the main conclusion remains simple: Hedberg's numbers blew up, but he didn't lay too many eggs. That first game against Montreal was his worst and outside of two other incidents, Hedberg did as well as you could expect. What was jarring was how many skaters I called out for errors. And I even held back on GA #24 since I couldn't name a specific one. December truly was bad for the Devils, but it wasn't because of Hedberg (and I doubt it's because of Brodeur - but I'm dreading looking at those goals already so let's move on).
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.
Hedberg was beaten low more often than not. Wrap-arounds and short one-timers will do that. Not to mention the few that went through his legs. The left side continued to be common as well, but given how most of these goals were scored, it's a mix of coincidence and intentional.
Now that you've seen these results, I want to first apologize for reminding you of December 2010. I'm sorry. That said, what do you make of it? Were you surprised that only four goals were soft given how bad Hedberg's numbers looked for the month? Or do you think that's reasonable? Were you also surprised to see so many skaters called out for errors? Do you think I'm being too harsh or too lenient? Please give your answers and other thoughts about this month's review of goals against in the comments. Thanks for reading