Saturday, September 4, 2010

Goals (From The Other Side)

So far in the video analyses I've performed on various players from last season, I've stuck with 'goals scored'. For my next video session, I decided to flip things upside-down: I'm looking at every goal scored ON the young Caps goaltending tandem of Semyon Varlamov and Michael Neuvirth. Today, we'll look at Varly.

Varlamov is a reflex goalie. His reaction time is off the charts, as is his lateral movement. He was criticized early on in his career for having a wear glove hand, but those feelings seemed to subside as last season progressed. So how does Varly get beat? Are the goals put past him his fault, or is his defense leaving him out to dry. Let's look at the tape!

I had to come up with a variety of categories to describe how pucks got past Semyon: Location of the shot, whether the shot came off a rebound, was redirected or whether Varly was screened.

Looking at location, this is what I found:

High Blocker - 14
Low Blocker - 16
High Glove - 15
Low Glove - 4
5 Hole - 6
Other (Varly down and out, on his back, etc) - 10

As for the other factors, I found Varly popped out a bad rebound 7 times, was screened on 11 goals and 7 goals came off deflections or redirections in front.

So what does this mean? While Varly is vulnerable to shots high glove, most of the goals against of that variety came off a good, hard shot rather than some misplay by Varlamov. The majority of his goals against last season found their way in on his blocker side, several of which came from areas of the ice where a shot to that side is a relatively routine save. Coach Boudreau's reactions to those goals should speak volumes to their lack of difficulty to stop.

Varly's athleticism often has him driving laterally from one side of the crease to the other, so rebounds or redirections back to the other side frequently leave him down and out in his net. It also doesn't help that on a number of goals, his defensemen either screened his view of the shot, or knocked the puck in their selves. It's encouraging that so few of Varly's goals against came from rebounds, as it shows his rebound control to be fairly solid.

Overall, Varly had a relatively solid season. With some attention to certain areas of his game, his stats this coming season could be excellent. Hopefully the defensive corps around him can help eliminate some of the need for him to have to make so many highlight reel type saves.


  1. Here is Martin Brodeur: In Lou We Trust
    Varly covers five hole better but is worse blocker side.

  2. That actually make sense, based on Broduer's style/type of pads. He's more about reflexes and less about the new-school, take away everything low butterfuly style.