Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Does Halak Get The Easy Marks?

Let's dispel a myth shall we?

In what have become ever more numerous attempts to stir the pot with this goalie thing again (as if winning few games is too boring for the press to take), the publication of Price's really poor goal support has been coming to light.

As you know, I am trying to get to the bottom of what is going on there (no scientist jumps to mere coincidence without a few questions). Until then, I just wanted to address one of the things I think it isn't – Halak getting more than his fair share of easy starts.

To get to the bottom of it, I had a look at the records of each goalie vs. the teams they have played. To be fairer than most analysts, I have omitted the games in question as contribution to the total. So, the Philadelphia Flyers who are a 19-19-3 team with the game against us, are actually a 19-18-3 (or above 0.500 in the standings team) here.

Games vs. teams above 0.500 in the standings


Games vs. teams below 0.500 in the standings


Now, from looking at that, it seems that Price got more than his share of games against teams below 0.500 based on his pro-rated share of all starts. His 61% share of all starts should have meant he started 7 games against the bottom feeders. he started 8. Halak is in fact missing a start if you go by this theory.

But hang on, we all know the standings are a complete mess. Teams above 0.500 in the standings like the Islanders by this method are well below once you equate their OTLs with losses. So once again, this time with real wins and losses:

Games vs. teams above 0.500 in real terms


Games vs. teams below 0.500 in real terms


In this case, it seems that Halak has had an extra start or two handed to him. His 17 from 44 would suggest he deserved 8 or 9 starts, and he had 10. Price, missed out on 1 or 2 then. However, if you were the coach of the 10-0-0 goalie when facing the real dregs, would you put in the 5-5-2 guy just to boost his record? I thought so. Plus, Carey needed the rest in some cases, which probably contributed to his much more combative efforts against top teams than Halak.

There might be some reason beyond play on the ice, GAA and save percentage that explains the discrepancy in Canadiens goaltenders' wins, but I don't think that Halak getting all the plum assignments has that much to do with it after looking at this, do you?

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