Monday, October 19, 2009

Someone sign up Nikolai Khabibulin for the hall of fame.

I was watching the Canucks/Oilers game tonight when a stat popped up on the computer screen(I was streaming it. Damn NHL and their lack of TV contracts). Nikolai Khabibulin has recorded 20 or more wins in 10 of 13 seasons in the NHL. WOW! THAT'S AMAZING! REALLY?! HOLY EDIBLE POOP HOW COME THIS ISN'T MENTIONED DAILY?!

Seriously? This is the best they could come up with? Recording 20+ wins MOST of the time? I know he's not the absolute greatest goalie of all time, but he has put up decent numbers in his career, namely his time in Tampa and his final season in Phoenix. And I'm not even going to get into how stupid and pointless wins are as a way to judge the abilities of a goaltender, since it's already been covered.

So, what does this stat tell me? Well, I learn that he has played 13 seasons in the NHL, and I learn that he has been relatively durable, and dependable enough to start games. As a result, I find out that his team has recorded at least 20 wins with him in net in 10 times. This is all I know. I don't know how well he played, and I honestly don't even know if he was the main goaltender for some of those teams(I do know, because I looked it up, but last season he played just one more game than teammate Cristobal Huet...)

So, how illustrious is this 20 win club, you ask? It's pretty special. Only 28 goalies had 20 or more wins last season. Yeah. 28. There are 30 NHL teams, and 26 of them had goalies who posted 20+ wins (Chicago and Detroit both had two). Vesa Toskala had 22 wins last season. Jonathan Quick had 21 wins last season. Peter Budaj had 20 wins. Scott Clemmensen had 25 wins in relief of Brodeur when he was hurt. Every team in the Western Conference had a goalie who posted at least 20 wins last season, and Nikolai Khabibulin was one of them. So was his teammate. Congratulations for this accomplishment.

Don't get me wrong, I understand the point of this stat. It's to show that the guy has been around for a while and he has been a starting goaltender most of the time. But that doesn't make it acceptable to use this to prove a point, and I honestly don't know what's worse, the fact that they posted this stat, or the fact that Khabibulin FELL SHORT of 20 wins in almost 25% of the seasons he's played.

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