I’ve spent way too much time in the past two days creating a spreadsheet. It’s color-coded, with wins and losses. It has the name of the winning or losing goaltender, with notes regarding whether a goalie was pulled, or in a couple of cases, thrown out by the officials for a variety of rule breaking scenarios (in case you are wondering, Justin Pogge has been pulled or thrown out six times this year. Four of these forced removals resulted in a loss for Mike Murphy, who went in cold to replace him)
I’ve even divided out the stats regarding home vs. away, and what teams those wins and losses were against. They are pretty startling statistics, really, and not completely conclusive, but very fascinating.
Murphy is 15-9-2, with a 2.95 GAA and .907 save percentage, which are pretty great numbers for a Rookie goaltender in the AHL. (He only played 19 full games/minutes last season, and therefore is still considered a rookie this year).
|2010-11 Regular Season||Charlotte Checkers||28||76||1548||738||2.95||0.907||15||9||1||2||3||11||0.727||0||0|
|2009-10 Regular Season||Albany River Rats||20||52||1109||578||2.81||0.917||10||9||0||0||0||0||0.000||0||2|
Pogge is 15-12-2, with a 3.04 GAA and .908 save percentage. This is his fifth full professional season, after stints in three organizations and teams in the AHL and ECHL. His numbers are not as good as they have been in previous seasons, and about on par with his 2006-07 rookie year, but there isn’t a significant difference statistically.
|2010-11 Regular Season||Charlotte Checkers||33||90||1778||888||3.04||0.908||15||12||1||2||6||11||0.455||0||0|
|2009-10 Regular Season||Albany River Rats||4||8||199||103||2.41||0.928||1||0||0||2||7||10||0.300||0||0|
|2009-10 Regular Season||San Antonio Rampage||23||57||1332||656||2.57||0.920||12||7||1||3||8||23||0.652||0||1|
|2008-09 Regular Season||Toronto Marlies||53||142||3155||1215||2.70||0.895||26||21||3||5||21||48||0.562||0||0|
|2007-08 Regular Season||Toronto Marlies||41||94||2415||929||2.34||0.908||26||10||0||4||12||24||0.500||0||4|
|2006-07 Regular Season||Toronto Marlies||48||142||2812||1222||3.03||0.896||19||25||4||2||10||31||0.677||0||3|
What’s interesting to me beyond these basic stats are the home vs. away stats, and the idea of how getting pulled negatively affects the other goaltender’s numbers.
For example, Murphy’s record at home is 11-4-1 (One of these losses was the result of Pogge being pulled). Murphy’s road record is far less stellar. He’s 5-5, but three times he has had to go in for Pogge mid-game, whether for bad play or getting game misconducts and being ejected from the contest. While I realize statistically it’s not logical to simply take away those extra losses that Pogge started and didn’t finish, it is interesting to note that without Pogge’s play, Murphy MIGHT be 11-3-1 at home, and 5-2 on the road.
Pogge’s record at home has not been very good by comparison. He’s 6-7-2, which is about average for the idea of a back-up netminder, but Pogge is not the backup. He’s sharing the starting duties, nearly equally with Murphy. Pogge’s record on the road is pretty phenomenal, with a 10-4 record. Of course, if you were to give those three losses Murphy took for him, he might be 10-7, but that is still a very respectable record for away games.
What I don’t understand, especially after looking at all of the stats, is why one goalie is given the nod over the other. Sure, it makes sense that Pogge starts against Norfolk when in Virginia (Despite usually being ahead of the Checkers in the standings, we have beat them all five times in their barn), but what I don’t understand are decisions like the one to start Pogge on Tuesday night over Murphy against Albany.
Prior to Tuesday’s game, Pogge was 1-2 against the Devils. He’d lost on Saturday night, and once in Albany, with a single win coming in Albany last month. Murphy, on the other hand, was only 1-0 against the team, but his play on Sunday was outstanding, and he beat the Devils when Pogge was unable to Saturday night. It was the final game in a three-game homestand against the opponent, so wouldn’t it have made sense to start the goaltender who was actually able to win, and not the one who had lost? It sure seems like it to me, but then again, I’ve always aligned myself with Murphy as the goalie I want to see play. He makes me feel more confident, and I like the way he plays. I like his focus, and the fact he doesn’t seem to get distracted by signs in the crowd, or the taunts of the away team fans. I like that he doesn’t wander out of position, and stays in the crease. I like him better in the shootout, and in about every situation. I don’t wonder if he’s talking to his goalposts between plays, or mumbling gibberish under his breath during the National Anthem like Jason Labarbera did way back in the day. So yes, I admit it, I’m a Murphy fan, and I think the numbers stand behind him, and I would have much preferred to see him on Tuesday (because I really believe we could have and should have won that game!)
The question is, how do we get our coaching staff to see this, and start playing the stable goalie who doesn’t act like Lance the Boil of “Rent a Goalie” fame.