Moose does it again in a shootout

As you may know I’m working on an Art of the Shootout story which is scheduled to appear later in the month. I still have to talk to Johan Hedberg again before I write it, but after Monday’s 3-2 shootout win over the Rangers I had to share a little bit of what I have so far.

His stop of Marian Gaborik on the first shootout attempt brought me back to something Hedberg said when I first talked to him for the shootout story. Did you see how far Hedberg came out of the net as Gaborik rushed in?

“I want to come out and take away his space,” Hedberg told me of his shootout strategy. “I don’t want to have too big a gap between the shooter and myself because then they have too much room to move around. Ideally, he can make one move sideways and then he doesn’t have any more room to move around in. Usually my guiding point is if he’s at the hashmarks, I want to be on top of my crease. No further in or out at that time. If I’m at the top of my crease when he’s at the hashmarks, I know I have a pretty good gap.”

I don’t want to give too much of the story away, but I had to share that insight from a goalie who is 15-3 all-time in shootouts.

Looks like Hedberg has the hot hand right now. He had career highs in saves (46) and shots faced (48) in the win over the Rangers. You have to figure he’ll start again in Florida on Wednesday, but we shall see. Ondrej Pavelec will most likely play one of the back-to-backs with Florida and Dallas at home on Thursday.

What are your thoughts about the goaltending situation?

108 comments Add your comment

Russian

December 15th, 2009
9:27 am

Moose and Pavs are doing all work around the team. Moose got 48 SHOTS!!!
He stole game for us. Thank you Moose.

Smoothie

December 15th, 2009
9:28 am

Guess you could say the Rangers were “Moose-merized” by Hedberg’s stellar, game-stealing heroics under the bright lights of Gotham’s MSG. Way to go Moooooooose! I think his style and ability to read the play is the right fit for this team that seems to do a much better job, on the whole, clearing pucks and moving bodies from in front of the open spaces in the crease.

Once again, ride that hot Moose till the filthy stench of Christmas cheer fades into oblivion…and perhaps beyond into the future!! Fifth place is ours and a chance to overtake Boston for 4th place with a game-in-hand on the Broons.

Russian

December 15th, 2009
9:29 am

I like to see Pavs in Florida and Moose back at home with Dallas. Moose needs rest.

Furmanisanidiot

December 15th, 2009
9:34 am

Go Moose and Pav’s, need them both with the pre-olympic schedule(5 games a week). Chris you should talk to Kovy about his change in shootout style, the last two from him looks like Kozlov might have stepped in and helped him. He’s always been bullrush and go for 5 hole, now he is sweeping way out and crossing in front of the net(almost too far last night but it worked).

Daniel

December 15th, 2009
10:17 am

I remember a game a few years back when Moose was in the net for the game and OT, but they put Kari in just for the shootout (and lost). Wonder if they would do the reverse now?

sisu

December 15th, 2009
10:29 am

wow, Moose did well. anyone notice that both Kovy and Slava have a 50% success on shootouts this season? 2 out 4 for both!

Dwayne

December 15th, 2009
10:56 am

Happy day today!!!!! MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSE!!!! Any one notice, even if Moose did face 18,000 shots, that Lovy was playing a little more D than usual?

Dwayne

December 15th, 2009
10:56 am

Kovy, not Lovy from Gilligans Island.

Barry

December 15th, 2009
11:12 am

Ya that was a good game. I would have like to seen alot less shots from the Rangers. I’m sure Moose’s eyesight is much better from all the lasers he saw last night. Ya I don’t see Anderson sitting him down for the Florida game after last night’s performance. Then perhaps let Pavs play against Stars to give Moose a mental rest after seeing all the rubber he will see in 3 days if that is the rotation.

RonPaul2012

December 15th, 2009
11:23 am

MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSE!

GaVaHokie

December 15th, 2009
11:27 am

With Florida chasing us in the standings, I gotta think you have to play Hedberg in the meaningful games… play Pavs on Thursday against Dallas.

GaVaHokie

December 15th, 2009
11:33 am

Of course… Florida is one of the few teams that gets less Shots Per Game than Atlanta… Dallas is 6th in the League for Shots Per Game.

Smoothie

December 15th, 2009
11:38 am

Dwayner – indeed, Kovy was playing more D and FORECHECKING more aggressively!! Amazing. They didn’t quite get into sync, but with Little’s hustle and Antropov’s reach in the corners, that trio should be able to cycle nicely if Kovy commits to it. Of course, watching Kane and getting out-worked in scrimmages may pay dividends for our skill players who tend to coast at times. If you want to win in the playoffs, you can’t count on transition goals.

No way Moose doesn’t start in Sunrise. He’ll have a day of rest and if he knows he’s starting, he can prepare accordingly. Don’t want him to relax right now because his focus is acute. Pavs can play against the Stars on the back-end…makes more sense in my opinion.

Smoothie

December 15th, 2009
11:41 am

GVH – the Stars game is as “meaningless” as they get right now as it is our only Western Conference opponent over the next 10 games. I’m very happy if we can take 2 full points from Fla (and put one more nail in their coffin), then hopefully steal a “loser” point from the Stars. Although, looks like if you get to OT against Dallas, you’ve got a good chance to win…10 OT / SO losses on the year??? Zoiks Shaggy!

Midfield

December 15th, 2009
11:43 am

All is good, but what’s with allowing back-to-back break-away chances?

GaVaHokie

December 15th, 2009
11:48 am

Smoothie… Dallas is still missing Jusi Jokinen in the shootouts.

Midfield… seriously… I thought it was an instant replay, no joke.

Russian

December 15th, 2009
11:53 am

OK. it is fine for me to use Moose in Florida. :-)

Smoothie

December 15th, 2009
12:03 pm

You would think between Modano, Richards, Erikson and Ribeiro, they would be okay in the shoot-out. Go figure. Jussi Jokinen is just the kind of guy we should try to trade for at the deadline. Anyone think CAR might just help out their SE brethren if they can’t get back to 1 or 2 games over .500 by Feb 1?

Hollywould

December 15th, 2009
12:50 pm

Man, what a way to get 2 points. beaten all game up and down the ice but I will take it.

Smoothie

December 15th, 2009
1:01 pm

15 and 3 all-time in shootouts…pretty much sums up the Moose! And how stupid Bob Hartley could be (see pulling Moose for Lehtonen in a shootout loss to the Flyers in 2005). Hi Bob! is single-handedly responsible for starting the 14 game losing curse against them. Rightfully, Moose was the one to break the damn jinx. Now all we need is for him to squash the Nitty-monkey on 12/26.

Chris Vivlamore

December 15th, 2009
1:13 pm

Thrashers have beaten Florida twice this year – by one goal each time – and Hedberg played both. If you go by Anderson’s theory of a using a goalie’s history against a team as one of the deciding factors, Hedberg should start.

ThrashTalk

December 15th, 2009
1:37 pm

Not a proponent of this but I would like to hear everyone’s thoughts on pulling Pavs and inserting Moose for SO’s. Opie looked real shaky in his outings and Moose is always prepared even when coming off the bench to relieve Opie the 4 or 5 times he has this year. Is it just wrong to put a goalie in cold just for the SO?..or do you guys think Moose could handle it?

Sage of NERDSland

December 15th, 2009
2:10 pm

Hedberg’s save on the second shootout attempt = best save of the game.

MOOOOOOOOOOOOOSE!!!

Andy S

December 15th, 2009
2:19 pm

Smoothie, “Moose”-merized made me laugh out loud.

He’ll play wednesday for sure.

jake

December 15th, 2009
2:21 pm

I’d like to see a story on why the Thrashers are always getting outshot, and often by large margins. What’s the deal?

Smoothie

December 15th, 2009
2:25 pm

Andy – gotta give Moose all the credit for mesmerizing the MSG faithful. I just take note and write about it:

http://thrashingbirds.blogspot.com/2009/12/rangers-moose-merized-by-johan-hedberg.html

Anyhoo, as someone mentioned above, these odd-man rushes, especially while on the PK, need to stop. These type of breakdowns are inexcusable. Either it’s due to sloppy line changes or boneheaded positioning by the D-men. There’s no reason for both blueliners to be above their own blueline after we’ve iced the puck on the PK. Stooopid!

The Earl of Bud

December 15th, 2009
3:04 pm

Chris, you beat me to it. Moose has beaten Fla twice this year, his only game against his former team was mop up duty for Lehtonen. That might be the deciding factor.

Smoothie, you can’t ride a goalie right now. I expect that nonsense from others but not you. Both goalies are doing well this year and we along with the entire NHL are in the middle of a stretch of games where you would be crazy to ride either of them over the other. To suggest riding one goalie right now is utterly wrong and the rest of the coaches agree. Curtis McElhinney is starting over Kipper tonight and they don’t even have B2B games. When’s the last time that ever happened? All goalies are going to be playing between now and Christmas. The only exception would be if the Flyers don’t want to play Meltzer (an AHL backup) now that Emery is hurt.

Our next 5 games are in 8 days, not counting the last 5 games that were also in a span of 8 days with only 1 day off between the 2 sets of 8 days. That’s 10 games in 17 days. If you stretch the schedule out further it doesn’t slow down for longer, Christmas being the only nice break. For the love of Don Cherry do not suggest riding a goalie right now!

Dwayne

December 15th, 2009
3:23 pm

EOB, that does make sense, but if you do not ride the hot goalie now, and you fall out of a playoff spot, or don’t make the playoffs by a few points, because of that decision, doesn’t everyone 2nd guess JA? And, of course there would be other reasons, but every hockey “expert” might point to not riding a hot goalie.

Mark

December 15th, 2009
3:35 pm

Moose is playing lights out and IS no doubt the team MVP so far!!

The Earl of Bud

December 15th, 2009
3:43 pm

Dwayne, Hedberg is a 36 year old career backup. He has been hot the last couple games, but not exactly someone who you want playing 3 times in 4 nights or 5 times in 8 nights.

At what point is it smart to sit him or do you just keep playing him in these conditions until he gives up 3 softies in the first 5-10 minutes of a game because you rode him too long? And how long is too long for a 36 year old career backup? If he breaks down in that 4th game, THAT’S when you might lose a couple points in the standings that will hurt us at the end of the year.

Besides, look at Pavalec’s last 8 games, he’s 3-3-2 with a couple shutouts. 1 of the losses were that game against the Islanders where the whole team came out uninspired and flat, another loss was the last game of the west coast trip against Vancouver where again they came out flat and lost a game that had very little effort in it. So it’s not like Pavalec is a risky call to begin with.

Do not ride a goalie during a stretch of games like this, let alone a 36 year old career backup otherwise if he gives up 3 goals in the first 5 minutes because you started him for the 4th time in 6 nights you might lose some key points in the playoff run.

The Earl of Bud

December 15th, 2009
3:49 pm

Mark, can you support you MVP claim that Moose is worth more to us this year than Kovalchuk or Peverley? I’d be interested to see how you formed your conclusion that Hedberg has done more for this team than either of those two.

RonPaul2012

December 15th, 2009
3:56 pm

Ride the Moooooooossse.

waffleboy

December 15th, 2009
4:01 pm

EOB- can’t you make the argument that the team shows up for games when Moose is in net and play tight when Opie is? I understand your argument, but if I’m JA I’m talking to Moose and getting an idea of he feels about playing more minutes. If he feels comfortable and is not looking tired in morning skates(or skipping the morning skate when he wants to) I’m giving him the start.

The Earl of Bud

December 15th, 2009
4:01 pm

RonPaul2012, didn’t we meet at Fenway Park a few years ago? Yeah, I remember it. The whole stadium was yelling to get Pedro Martinez out of the game when the BoSox were about to beat the Yanks. Except you. You were the one yelling “Peeeedddrrrrrrrrrrrrooooooooo” “Keep him Pedro in the game” “Ride Pedro” “Sawx will finally beat Yankees if we ride Pedro”

The Earl of Bud

December 15th, 2009
4:10 pm

waffleboy, you can make that argument. But then people like me are going to point out that Pavelec faced .586 shots per every minute he played this year while Moose only faced .537 shots per every minute he played this year.

Then I’ll mention how Pavalec has had 11 games so far where he faced 35+ shots, Moose has had only 4 games so far where he faced 35+ shots.

So I would like to see how people would make that argument that the team plays tighter in front of Pavalec when it actually seems to look the other way around, that they play more loose in front of him and tighten up for Hedberg.

RonPaul2012

December 15th, 2009
4:27 pm

Moose for ATFC player of the month.

Johan Hedberg

December 15th, 2009
4:40 pm

I may only be 36, but I am in the best shape of my life. I have worked to fix some positional flaws in my game and I am better than Ondrej Pavelec right now and will be the rest of the year. His raw talent cannot compare to my wisdom, experience and quickness. I can play 3 of 4 games indefinitely and will lead this team to the playoffs. Pavs can play the back ends of B2B games and if I have a rough patch, he will be more ready than Kari Lehtonen to spell me. Ask the Penguins about riding the hot goalie in 2001 and see how well I did. I have played so few games over the last 4 years, I might as well be 28!

Bob

December 15th, 2009
4:48 pm

Yep, it’s a literal no brainer to ride Moose now, especially after last night. Just yesterday I thought you guys and Rawhide calling for Coach to ride Moose were nuts, that we need Pavelec in there. Pavs will play the 2nd of the back to backer this week, but you ride Moose and bank points.

The club also plays much better in front of Moose, they trust him, they like him. He’s won the players player award two years running, right? As a backup. That says it all.

Ride Moose, he’s our MVP so far this year, hands down.

Johan Hedberg

December 15th, 2009
5:10 pm

Indeed I did win the Player’s Player Award back to back years. Check out Smoothie’s blog for a list of my impressive stats this year and beyond. I dominate shoot-outs like Bogosian dominates his never-ending supply of Skittles.

The Earl of Bud

December 15th, 2009
5:18 pm

Oh Bob, wasn’t it also just yesterday that you had developed a method of measuring contract negotiations by how happy a player was after he scored a goal? I think I’ll pass on your “no-brainers” for the time being. Can you post any support as to why Hedberg is more valuable than guys like Kovalchuk and Peverley or will you just post more baseless cliches like the rest of the anonymous crew here? Can you say why he is the MVP for the year, or is just the fact that you say it is a no-brainer the only support you have?

waffleboy & Dwayne, thanks for the hockey discussions today, it’s nice to know there are some fans who can actually talk hockey instead of just posting cliches under anonymous names.

The Earl of Bud

December 15th, 2009
5:33 pm

“Check out Smoothie’s blog…”

Gee, I wonder who signed on with the name “Johan Hedberg” at the 5:10pm post?

Brendan

December 15th, 2009
5:56 pm

Chris Vivlamore, I think Atlanta’s goaltending has been pretty good so far. Especially without Lehtonen, who has been out of the lineup far longer that the GM and coaching staff anticipated. Moose has certainly played very well of late. I think he owns eight of the franchise’s past 11 wins. But Pavelec is also coming right along. He’s by no means “fully developed,” but he has exceeded my expectations for him, so far, this season. All things considered, I think Atlanta’s really been blessed with the results they’ve seen in net. I’ll leaving the goalie rants for Stendec.

RonPaul2012

December 15th, 2009
7:44 pm

On second thought, based on his number of clutch goals in November, Max Afingenov should get the player of the month for November followed by Johan Hedburg for the month of December.

Bob

December 15th, 2009
9:01 pm

“Max Afingenov should get the player of the month for November followed by Johan Hedburg for the month of December.”

And not many thought Max was going to be a positive for us, huge upside there with him. Just think if Little and White ever get going.

Buzzeng

December 15th, 2009
9:14 pm

Poor OP – looks like he’s in line for the Thursday Night Cursed Jerseys night. Sure would be nice to see him win one and bust the curse at the same time…

Dwayne

December 15th, 2009
9:17 pm

Just looking at some numbers, seem Max has cooled off, Pevs a little too. Colby, Nik and who else has lead Atl. to a few wins, MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSE. Can’t say the D played that well last night, understatement of the year, but we won. Looking forward to Monday night in Atlanta, My daughter and I love your city.

The Earl of Bud

December 15th, 2009
9:46 pm

“And not many thought Max was going to be a positive for us”

And keep in mind too that not many thought Max would cool off as I predicted. You guys vote Max player of the month for November and in the month of December he so far has 1 point in 7 games. Wow, talk about clutch.

Old Time Hockey

December 16th, 2009
8:36 am

How old is Marty Brodeur? 37. Moose? 36. Age is not an issue.

Russian

December 16th, 2009
8:42 am

BIG RUSSIAN RUMOR. I will translate it later. I have to go to meeting.
http://www.sovsport.ru/gazeta/article-item/361483

Bob

December 16th, 2009
8:56 am

Russian, I translated your link, let me know if I have it right here. It says that Russian sources have confirmed that negotiations between Waddell and Kovy’s agent have stopped. It says that Kovy’s agent wants a 10 year contract worth $11.5m per year and that Waddell won’t pay it as it’s more than Crosby and Ovechkin got. It says that Waddell is now looking at trade options and if he can’t sign Kovy by the trade deadline, then he’ll trade him. Did I get that right?

Gee Sara and Earl of Bud, now do you see the light? It’s been pretty obvious if you watch the games that something has changed with Kovy, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out it’s the contract.