January 2012 was similar to December 2011 for Martin Brodeur in terms of performance. It's unconfirmed if his spitting of water changed or not. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
A new year brings a new look for many. A reason to start fresh. An opportunity to do something different, to make a change of sorts. OK, most of those changes go away within a few days after the New Year's Excitement passes. However, not everyone looks at it that way. For some, New Year's Day is just another day. Hockey players would be included as it really is just another day in the middle of the season. One could see a new day at any point of the year with a fresh outlook; but the reality is that the grind continues.
It wasn't just the grind that continued for Martin Brodeur. The lack of excellent performances continued too. He didn't do so well in November and in December. He could have a very good game here or there but it would be in contrast to one where he was beaten multiple times. The numbers certainly show that Brodeur wasn't a top goaltender. This didn't change in January.
|GP||MIN||W||L||OT/SO L ||GA||GAA||SA||SV||SV%||SO|
|January 2012 - Martin Brodeur||10
Brodeur gave up 24 goals in 10 games, a little higher than the 22 allowed in 10 games in December. As the shots were tallied, his save percentage was just a little lower. Brodeur even suffered his first post-regulation defeat of the season right at the start of the month with an overtime loss. In the goaltender's slight defense, Brodeur got lit up in one game out of these ten, which may have skewed matters. On the other hand, Brodeur got beaten plenty of times and even had to be yanked in one game after allowing two goals on five shots within the first eight minutes. The last four games weren't so great with ten goals allowed. We can point to the All Star Game as a turning point in the bigger picture, but that really happened in February.
Of course, I want to go deeper. I want to see the goals allowed to see what drove these numbers. How many of these goals were ones Brodeur really should have stopped? How many came from scoring chances? Where was Brodeur beaten most often? To answer these questions and more, I reviewed all 24 goals allowed in the month of January. See the chart of all the goals allowed and commentary about my findings after the jump.
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 (e.g. first goal against by Hedberg).
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 24 Goals Allowed by Martin Brodeur in January 2012: A Chart
|Date||GA#||Where Beaten?||GA Description||Soft?||Video Link||Skater Error|
|1/2||58||Low, through the legs||Karlsson springs Spezza free into NJ's end, he goes in and finishes the breakaway. SC.||Yes||Link|
|1/2||59||Low, under the glove arm||Elias loses it to Kuba in the neutral zone, Condra gets it and his wrister gets through. SHGA||Yes||Link||Elias|
|1/2||60||Off the right arm||Alfredsson gets it at the right dot, tees up his wrist shot, and it goes off Brodeur's right arm and in. PPGA. OTGA. SC.||Yes||Link|
|1/4||61||Low, left side||Ference takes a slapshot from the right point, Campbell deflects it enough right in front of Brodeur.||No||Link|
|1/4||62||Low, past right skate||Krejci fires a short pass across the slot Horton. Horton slides the puck in between the post and the skate. PPGA. SC.||No||Link|
|1/4||63||Low, past glove hand||Larsson shot is blocked by Bergeron and he's off on a breakaway. He dekes and curls it in past a diving Brodeur's glove. SC.||No||Link||Larsson|
|1/4||64||Past the blocker||Marchand carries the puck around the whole net and finds Bergeron in the slot. Pass, shot, score. SC.||No||Link||Sestito
|1/4||65||Low, through the legs||Seidenberg fires a rising shot, Krejci deflects it down right in front of the crease.||No||Link|
|1/4||66||Low, through the legs||Thornton receives a pass above the slot, settles the puck, shoots, and it bounces through Brodeur's pads.||Yes||Link||Clarkson|
|1/7||67||Low, through the legs||Scuderi feeds Malkin at the center point. Malkin unleashes a one-timer through traffic that flies through Brodeur.||No||Link|
|1/10||68||Low, through the legs||Bouwmeester fires a wrist shot from the left point and it beats Brodeur through a screen.||No||Link|
|1/10||69||Low, through the legs||Sarich is led into the zone, he fires a shot above from the left circle and it beats Brodeur.||Yes||Link|
|1/14||70||Just off and over the glove||Ladd enters the zone on the right side. Above the dot, he fires a wrister that Brodeur got a piece of his glove, but not enough of it.||Yes||Link|
|1/17||71||Off right post and in.||Enstrom fires a slap shot from the center point through a lot of traffic. It bounces off the left post and drops in.||No||Link|
|1/19||72||Over the right shoulder||Paille plays it behind him into space. Ference fires a slapshot off the loose puck through a screen, off the post, and in.||No||Link||Foster|
|1/19||73||Low, on the left flank||Krejci tees up the puck in the right circle, sees Horton on the flank, and passes it to him for an easy one-timer. PPGA. SC.||No||Link||Larsson|
|1/19||74||Low, on the left flank||After a calamatious shift by NJ, Campbell bangs in a rebound off a stop on a Thornton shot. SC.||No||Link||Elias
|1/21||75||High, over the pads||Simmonds wins the puck, feeds Read in the slot, and his one-timer gets in. SC.||No||Link||Josefson
|1/21||76||Past the glove||Timonen fires it from the center point, Hartnell deflects it, the puck goes through traffic.||No||Link|
|1/21||77||Under the left arm||Giroux sees Hartnell get open inside the coverage. Hartnell's one-timer succeeds. PPGA. SC.||No||Link|
|1/24||78||Past the glove||Gerbe's slapshot goes over the net, bounces off the glass, and falls right by the right post for Leopold to bang it in. SC.||No||Link|
|1/31||79||Low, on the right flank||3-on-2 rush led by Gaborik. Brodeur stops Gaborik, Stralman gets to the rebound and slams it in on the flank. SC.||No||Link||Foster|
|1/31||80||Over a fallen goalie||Bickel fires a long shot, Brodeur stops it. A cutting Boyle gets it, goes across the slot, and roofs it over a fallen Brodeur. SC.||No||Link||Foster|
|1/31||81||Low, through the legs||Gaborik flies into the zone, sees Del Zotto open in the right circle. Del Zotto settles it, fires, and it gets through.||Yes||Link|
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.
Out of the 24 goals allowed, I counted 7 soft goals. That's the same total as December, which wasn't good then and it's not really that much better even with two additional non-soft goals allowed over the month. Most of them came at the beginning of the month; five of them by my count within the first ten days of January. I felt Brodeur really should have stopped any of those goals in that game against Ottawa, so that's three. On the tenth, Brodeur let up two goals on five shots in Calgary. I thought GA #68 went through a screen; but GA #69 was a bad one to allow. A really bad one. I'm not surprised Brodeur got the hook in that one. (Aside: And it didn't get much better for Hedberg, as you'll see on Friday.) Interestingly, Brodeur got absolutely lit up on the fourth against Boston (and skewed his numbers down), but I felt only one of those goals was bad: GA #66. That one trickled through the five-hole. I felt bad calling it soft given it was the sixth goal allowed and didn't matter much, but it is what it was: stoppable. It's those games that make me glad I do these reviews at all.
Going back to the Ottawa game, I counted GAs #58 and #59 as soft as Brodeur saw the shot and got beat by straight-up shots. I know both were bad situations for the goalie, but those could have been stopped. GA #63, which I didn't count as soft, was a good example of what I wouldn't deem soft. On that play, Bergeron actually drove in and made a move that forced Brodeur to react. Bergeron made a second move and finished his breakaway. I can defend what happened there more than a wrist shot off the rush outside of the scoring chance area. That's why I've been terming some of the other breakaways and odd-man rushes as soft goals allowed in prior months for Brodeur and Hedberg.
As for the other soft goals, I'm confused how Brodeur saw Daniel Alfredsson set up a wrist shot and still give up one over his shoulder on the short-side on GA #60. It was a great shot, but how can that hole be made available? For the rest of the month, I only counted two more. GA #70 was another case of Brodeur getting a piece of a routine shot outside of the dots but not getting all of it. GA #81 was a case of Brodeur being able to see it coming but just not coming up with the stop. I know he went laterally before, but it wasn't a one-timer and Brodeur was able to stop in time for the shot.
As usual, that only 7 soft goals were identified means that most of these goals against weren't his fault. Just look at the first five goals allowed in the six-goal game against Boston. In that game alone, there were two deflections (GA #61, 65), a shot on the flank (GA #62), a one-timer in the slot (GA #64), and a breakaway where the shooter had to do something other than take a shot in motion (GA #63). That's enough to show how a goalie can be made to look worse than he actually was. There were plenty of examples outside of that game. While there was one other goal allowed on a deflection (GA #76), there were three other goals on one-timers: GAs #73, 75, and 77. Four goals allowed came from shots that went through traffic and/or a set screen: GAs #67, 68, 71, and 72. Two got in on rebounds: GAs #74, which was the end of a terrible shift by the skaters, and #79, which was the end of an odd-man rush. Throw in a total fluke on GA #78 and there's plenty of events where Brodeur really can't be faulted on getting beat. Still, goaltenders are judged on the margins and seven soft goals allowed out of 24 isn't very good even if most of the other 17 weren't bad ones to be beaten on.
In terms of other findings, a lot of these goals got through low. Some of these were by happenstance, such as the deflection getting knocked down. I think most were intended, such as keeping the puck off a touch low to avoid ruining a glorious chance. The most common area was in between Brodeur's legs, and four out of those seven soft goals came through there. That's something to keep an eye on, especially since very few of the goals allowed came in high. Incidentally, half of the goals allowed came in scoring chance areas. That's kept low because I didn't count the deflections as scoring chances as the player just got a piece of the shot. Also, the shots that got through traffic and screens came from distance, so those didn't count either. So it's not as if those allowed were easy ones for the goaltender.
Now that you've read the post and seen some or all of the goals on the video, I now want to know what you think. Do you agree that the seven goals I called soft were really soft goals? Do you think I missed any? Was it a coincidence that so many of these goals came in low? Do you think other skaters should have been called out for making errors on some of these other goals allowed? What else did you learn from the 24 goals Brodeur allowed in January? Please leave your answers and other thoughts in the comments. Thank you for reading.