Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Sport Briefs

Gross. Man. Gross.

Regardless of what happend in the first 3 quarters of Superbowl XVI. Missed Bears tackles. Excellent Manning signal calling. The Bears were only behind by 5 points with 11:27 remaining in the game. Chicago had a 1st and 10 on their own 38 yard line and Rex threw a bad, lousy pass and deserved to lose the game. Not to mention his couple of mishandled snaps from Pro-Bowl Center Olin Kreutz.

A sad ending to an otherwise excellent regular season and two playoff victories. Anyway, the Bears beat the Seahawks twice this year =)

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QB Superbowl Victory Not Equal QB Greatness

Quarterbacking a Superbowl team to victory does not equate to being a great quarterback. Look at all the QBs to have won the game but are not great players ... Brad Johnson, Trent Dilfer, Terry Bradshaw (see Dryden brief below), for example.

Also the reverse, not having won the Superbowl does not mean subpar QB ... Dan Marino and Dan Fouts to come mind.

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Dryden's Jersey Retired

About 2-3 weeks ago, the Montreal Canadian's retired Ken Dryden's number 29 jersey.

During the ceremony, one of his former teammates, cannot recall who, said something like ... in some games, Dryden got only about 13-14 shots against him, but made key saves on about half of those shots.

I'm a Dryden fan, but he reminds of former Steelers running back Franco Harris who won four Superbowls because he was on a great team. Similarly, Dryden's 6 Stanley Cups in 8 years was also backed by a then solid Habs team.

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A couple of great, fun tv sports shows: The Best Damn Sports Show Period and Pros vs. Joes


CM said...

(Remember I was a Leafs fan until they traded Sittler):

I'll agree with your NFL comments but the comment about Ken Dryden...

In 1970-71 the Habs were in third place in the East behind the Bruins and the Rangers. - Cup 1
1971-72 - Calder trophy winner - Habs were third again behind Bruins and Rangers
In 1972-73 - Bruins scored the most goals in the NHL but Habs had better goaltending. - Cup 2
1973-74 and 1974-75 Flyers (literally) beat the crap out of everybody else.
In 1974-75 there was the introduction of the former WHA teams, so that the teams were re-aligned. And some weak teams were added to the league .
1975-76 - not the Habs fault that the talent pool was watered down. - start of four straight cups
1978-79 - last cup - NY Islanders had the best record in the NHL.

From 1972-73 through 1979-80 the Habs had better team defence than most other teams but Dryden proved himself in the playoffs of 1970-71 and in his rookie season the following year. In 1980-81 without Dryden, the Habs had the best GAA but didn't win the cup - Larocque, Herron, Sevigny and Wamsley were the goalies. The Habs didn't win another cup until Patrick Roy's rookie season in 1985-86

Cuzzin' Melv

brand 'em' said...

Yeah but to get only 14 or so shots in net must have been a great D.

Sure, Dryden was great, but was not as good as Mike Palmateer, who didn't have the great team like the Habs.

Anonymous said...

Re Dryden,
I'm new at looking at stats for rating goalies. But I found one study that uses formula based on save percentage plus games played. Guess who got the highest single season Goalie Rating: Ken Dryden in 1976. Bernie Parent's 1974 was a close second. Dominik Hasek had 4 of the top 10 seasons.
As far as career Goalie Rating goes, Patrick Roy is #1, Tony Esposito is #5, Hasek is #7, Dryden is #9.
No sign of Palmateer.
I was a Dryden fan then. I appreciate him even more now.


brand 'em' said...

CE, Dryden had great ratings because he probably had a great winning percentage and low goals against ... because of his great D line.

Palmateer was always on the losing end despite saving 90% of the 40+ shots. In one game, he was one of the stars on a losing game ... I think, which was many, many moons ago.

Anonymous said...

I haven't found NHL statistics and statistical analyses that compare to Major League Baseball, but so far there's been no mention of the greatness of Palmateer. Not one.
You have your work cut out for you if you want to persuade others that Palmateer was better than Dryden. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Someone on canoe.com had this to say about Dryden. It's a good complement to cm's post:
"The 1971 Stanley Cup win by the Habs probably ranks as on of the most, if not THE most improbable cup win of all by the Canadiens, or any team. They were composed of over-the-hill veterans (Beliveau, Richard, Laperriere, etc..), and young kids (not unlike the Leafs of today). They were up against the vaunted Boston Bruins, the scoring machine of their time, defending cup champs, future hall of famers in their prime, a superb goalie in Cheevers, and the meanest, biggest s.o.b.s on the block. For some inexplicable reason, Al McNeil decided to go with a hunch and start some young unknown kid from Cornwall college between the pipes, figuring he had no chance with his starter anyhow. It turned out to be either one of the luckiest guesses, or one of the most brilliant sporting moves of all time. Throughout the 7 game series, Dryden made saves that can only be considered improbable, if not miraculous, and had Esposito, Orr, Hodge, Bucyk et al looking to the heavens after each and every one. The Habs were so badly outplayed every game, it seemed like Boston had a PP every minute. Minnesota was next, and his magnificance continued to a lessor degree in a 6 game decision, and that brought up the league champion Hawks, with the Hulls, Mikita, White, Stapleton and Espo Jr. in the pipes. Another 7 game series where the Habs were badly outplayed once again, and was defined by an out-of-this-world save by Dryden on Jim Pappin, where "Paps" had his stick raised in celebration after his supposed tap-in shot from two feet away, only to have his Christmas candy taken from him in an instant. And thus, a legend was born. In a short 8 year career, Dryden retired at the absolute height of his career, with 6 Stanley Cups to his credit, and one of the most awe-inspiring playoff rounds ever seen. As we all know, he played on some mighty fine teams during his tenue, but it should be noted - the one year he chose to sit out over a contract dispute, the mighty Habs were knocked out of the playoffs - when he came back next year, they started their 4 year run of championships, and then not a sniff after he was gone, until 1993. And, as goaltending is considered to be the most important position on a team, BY FAR, (ask Evans about Raycroft in Toronto, or Stick about Lalime in Ottawa with their teams that faltered because of it, or Philly with their perrenial contenders, and no stud between the pipes, as just a very few examples), Drydens contribution can NEVER be underestimated." --Stoner89

Anonymous said...

Rating players against other players requires more than just memories of memorable performances. Any professional athlete can have a good day. But how does one distinguish the good from the mediocre? And in team sports, how does one isolate the worth of a single player? Has hockey developed the statistics that truly measure skill? Take a look at this attempt on evaluating goaltender performance and judge for yourself:



brand 'em' said...

Excellent thread guys.

That's what happens when you are on a great team ... everyone looks good, even so-so players. Look at Franco Harris and Shaun Alexander.

Yes, I know ... consistency in play gets you in the Hall; however, if Palmateer had a great team, he too would have been great.

Cherry, last month on local sports radio, was talking about Palmateer, who needed a couple of days off after a game because his knees swelled up. And his coach would not grant him, so his playing years was cut short. Cherry said that he would have gave him the extra days off.

I'm not saying that Palmateer is the greatest. But with his athletic, spectacular saves, and had he a great team, he would have been good too.

And I'm also not saying that Dryden was a slouch, but come on ... his team also helped him ... 14 shots against him. What happened to the other 15+ shots, which Palmateer never tasted.

Anonymous said...

I think you are still not giving Dryden his due. The statistical study I cited accounts for goalie workload. And again, I make the point that Palmateer still doesn't get near Dryden. Just because a goalie can be acrobatic and "athletic" doesn't mean he's a good goalie. Does he give up rebounds? Does he position himself well? etc.
In that study, the author notes Roberto Luongo's 2004 season on the Florida Panthers, who weren't good that year. They were tied for 23rd in goals for (not a good offence) and dead last in shots against. In other words, "Luongo had to face more shots than any other goalie in the league and got very little offensive support. It's not surprising that he had a mediocre Goals Against Average and a poor won/loss record." But guess what? According to the analysis, Luongo outperformed everyone else significantly that year, including Martin Brodeur who was awarded the Vezina for top goalie. (In fact, Brodeur didn't even make the top 10.) In other words, the analysis was able to isolate the goalie's contribution/quality apart from his team. You have been arguing that Palmateer would have been great with a great team around him, if he wasn't overworked etc. If that were true, this guy's statistical methodology would have picked up on that. (I think I'll try to contact the author and ask if he's worked out Palmateer's rating.) And once again, the study shows how good Dryden really was: his career rating puts him in the Top 5.
In the thread of Palmateer being better than Dryden (your words), there's nothing more to say.

There is a more interesting question to explore, namely, the value of individual players to the team. You suggest Dryden was carried by the team. What about the other way around, too? Would the Canadiens have been as confident with Palmateer as they were with Dryden? They had good goalies other than Dryden during the span of his career. But as it's been pointed out before: they didn't win with them.
Would the Steelers have been better if they had OJ Simpson instead of Franco Harris? Or Walter Payton? Or Tony Dorsett?
The Steelers may have changed their offensive philosophy if it wasn't Franco in the backfield. Would they have been as, or more, successful? I don't know what analytical tools exist for football studies, and I don't feel like looking them up.

brand 'em' said...

It's not that I'm not giving Dryden his dues, CE; hell I even watched through his entire speech, which was entertaining and politically tinged too. And will even, perhaps, purchase a 29 jersey ... how's that for respect?

I'm also saying that in sports, all players are dispensable, and the outcome can also be favourable for the team.

Look at the height of Gretsky's career—sold like a horse ... outcome, Oilers win the Cup in the same season. Same season. Colts released Edge in his Pro-Bowl year ... outcome Addai and Superbowl victory. Same season.

So who is to say Habs would not have won the Cup with Palmateer (?).

Dryden got the stats based on the players around him and vice versa, I agree. What if Dryden was on Leafs team then? Would he just have been a Luongo?

And to me, Palmateer was more exciting to watch than Dryden. The little guys, Colts' Sanders, Spudd Webb, Payton, etc.

I'll bet even Dryden will come out and say that Palmateer was more exciting to watch than him ... Dryden's out to get votes these days.

Simpson, Dorsett or Payton instead of Harris. Hell, that's 2-3 more Bowl wins for the Steelers. Payton instead of Alexander, Hawks would win 2 Bowls ... ahem, guaranteed ... 2 Bowls.

Anonymous said...

You are determined to take Palmateer over Dryden, no matter what. So there's no point in presenting any more arguments. Had any of these analyses shown that Palmateer was better than Dryden, I would have no problem accepting that.

I'm fine with your point that "all players are dispensable, and the outcome can be also favourable for the team." So long as it's clarified that "dispensable" doesn't mean "identical". Replace a key player from a winning team ... and that becomes a different team. The team might still win, but it will win differently from before. Their play will likely change. They may not win as many games. They might win by a smaller margin. Or it could go the other way. A GM tries to build a winning team, preferrably on as small a payroll as needed. All players have to be evaluated, their talents to be identified and given a market value. And it is hoped a winning team chemistry will arise from putting together a unique set of players ... as much as what happened with the Canadiens dynasty that included one Ken Dryden.

Hockey Outsider said...

I completely agree with you that Palmateer was more fun to watch than Dryden. Palmateer was definitely more athletic and acrobatic. I think a good modern comparison (of their styles) would be Hasek versus Brodeur. Palmateer was like Hasek, in the sense that he was unconventional, unpredictable, and would NEVER give up on a play. Dryden was like Brodeur, because he faced a much lighter workload than most top goalies and his style was so
routine and technical that it's sometimes boring to watch.

Do I think Palmateer could have won the Cup on some better teams? Definitely. Guys like Osgood, Khabibulin and Ranford are proof that a very good (though not elite) goalie can win the Cup if they raise their game in the playoffs and are on a good team. Would he have won five Cups in seven years like Dryden did? I'm not so sure.