Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Is Ben Bishop better than Carey Price?

There used to be a vast gulf between a Ken Dryden and a Mike Palmateer, or a Patrick Roy and a Stéphane Fiset.  One player was clearly better than the other and had a significant effect on the game.

The modern emphasis on goaltending, the improvement in the athletes, in the coaching and the equipment has narrowed that gap to a much less important margin.  The bad goalies, like bad pizza, are still pretty good.

It used to be that if you had an ace in net and the other team didn't, it was an overwhelming advantage, like if the other team had Dan Marino and you had Marc Wilson, you were certain to lose.  Or if they were putting Dwight Gooden on the mound, and you had Joe Hesketh, that was a pre-ordained 'L'.

Nowadays, the impact of goaltending is more like middle relievers, or middle linebackers.  Important to win games, but they're not the central story, the pivotal aspect of the season or a series generally.

Maybe a better comparison is to place kickers.  The new guys are so good, all of them, that they rarely are the determinant factor.  From 40 yards in, they're basically automatic, interchangeable almost.  Only rarely does it come down needing a guy to nail a 55-yarder for a win, and then you're happy to have Adam Viniateri on your side instead of Scott Norwood.

So specifically to Ben Bishop, I've stated often that he's not athletic or elegant, but his sheer size among other skills and attributes make him an effective, even formidable goalie.  He's not in Carey's class, but in our clash this post-season it didn't turn out to be that important.

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