Pictured: The lone soft goal Johan Hedberg allowed in November 2011. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
With Martin Brodeur returning from injury in November, Johan Hedberg got moved back to his intended role as the backup goaltender for the New Jersey Devils. While Brodeur didn't give up a lot of soft goals, he did get lit up in plenty of games. At times, it made a few fans wished for Hedberg to get some additional minutes. Given that Brodeur turned out to have poor numbers whereas Hedberg had better numbers, there was some reasoning behind it in retrospect. It wasn't just a case of the second string guy being more popular than the first string guy. Of course, since Hedberg was the backup, he only played in a few games. That makes good and bad games really drive his numbers. Since he got a shutout in one of his four appearances (11/25 against the Islanders - 1-0), his stats were boosted for the month.
|November 2011 - Johan Hedberg||4||249||3||1||0||9||2.17||100||91||.910||1|
However, it's those other three games that suggest that perhaps Hedberg wasn't all that and a bag of chips. He did give up nine goals in the other three games. That's not so good. On the other hand, the whole point of looking at these goals again is to provide context. Were any of these goals allowed by Hedberg soft? What happened on those that weren't? Please continue on after the jump to find out those answers for Hedberg's performance in November. And if you want more goals allowed by Moose, wait until next month.
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/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.
In addition, I have denoted skater errors by player and scoring chances by "SC" in the goal description. I assigned a skater error if the player did something significantly wrong that led to the goal such as a turnover or not covering their man. 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.
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 9 Goals Allowed by Johan Hedberg in November 2011: A Chart
|Date||GA#||Where Beaten?||GA Description||Soft Goal?||Video Link||Skater Error|
|11/3||19||Low, under the left pad||Rinaldo is wide open and Couturier gives it to him inside the right circle. Rinaldo fires it low under the left pad. SC.||No||Link||Mills|
|11/3||20||On the right flank||Jagr goes around the net, threads a pass to Giroux through the slot. Giroux one-times it into open net.||No||Link||Elias|
|11/3||21||Over the blocker||Penalty shot for Talbot. He skates in from right, cuts left, gets it over blocker. SC.||No||Link||Fayne|
|11/12||22||Over the glove, top corner||Henrique coughs it up at his own blueline to Brouwer. Brouwer skates in, goes right, beats Hedberg. SC.||No||Link||Henrique|
|11/12||23||Past his blocker||Carlson unloads a slapshot from the right point, it hits a crashing Chimera to deflect it past Hedberg||No||Link|
|11/15||24||Past his right side||Hedberg cleared the puck right to Campbell. He wins and puts the into the slot. Kelly cleaned it up. SC.||Yes||Link|
|11/15||25||Over the blocker||Chara springs Marchand for a breakaway in between the defense off a faceoff win. Marchand finishes it. SC.||No||Link||Larsson
|11/15||26||Low, on the left flank||Salvador gives it up to Thornton, who dumps it in. Campbell wins the puck, passes it to Caron who one-touches it to Thornton to backhand it in. SC.||No||Link||Salvador|
|11/15||27||Low, past right pad||Corvo shot is stopped by Hedberg's blocker. It bounces right to Pouliot, who puts in the rebound. SC.||No||Link||Fayne|
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.
With only nine goals allowed, it didn't surprise me that only one of them was a soft goal. Hedberg had one of his almost-characteristic mishaps outside of the net on GA #24 that led to one of the easiest goals of Chris Kelly's career. Other than that, I didn't think there were any goals he should have done better on. Maybe GA #19 since Zac Rinaldo did fire the puck under Hedberg's pad. Then again, he did have Anton Volchenkov in his way initially and an open player in the slot isn't the goalie's fault - even if that player is Zac Rinaldo. Even if you feel otherwise, the majority of the goals allowed weren't soft. So as ugly as nine goals allowed in three games may look, Hedberg wasn't as bad
While a population size of three games isn't much, the fact I noticed so many skater errors certainly speaks to how the team played in November at times. Just as with Brodeur, there were some bad errors ranging from a lack of coverage from puck watching (GAs #20, 25) to giveaways (GAs #19, 22, 26). There was even a penalty shot awarded thanks to Mark Fayne fouling Max Talbot on a breakaway (GA #21) - and no, I'm not faulting Hedberg for that. Only two of the GAs didn't have any distinct skater errors: GA #23, which was a deflection of a knee, and GA #24, which was pretty much Hedberg's fault. I suppose I should chalk that up to the team's standard of play regardless of the record.
In terms of other observations, I've only counted two of these goals as outside of scoring chance area. I thought Claude Giroux was outside of the area on GA #20 and Chimera getting a fortunate deflection while crashing the net on GA #23 definitely doesn't count. While the population was small in this month, it does provide some more evidence that most of the GAs come on scoring chances. As far as location goes, he got beat more on his right side. In terms of low and high shots, it was even but those pucks at a medium height just sailed past the blocker. Again, a small population size means we shouldn't put too much stock into it, but it's something to point out.
I know this wasn't a prolific month for Hedberg. Don't worry, Hedberg was more active - and unfortunately not as good - in December. Until then, let's talk about this month. I'd like to know your opinion on how Hedberg did in November. Do you agree that he only let in one soft goal? If not, what other goal did you think Hedberg should have stopped and why? Are you surprised that a majority of the goals allowed came on scoring chances? How about that there were so many errors? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about Hedberg's performance in November in the comments. Thank you for reading.