Where is Marty Turco?

Marty Turco was pulled 0:48 into the 2nd period last night against the Colorado Avalanche. By that time, there was 4 goals scored against the Blackhawks. Coach Q put in Corey Crawford, and it looked good (for awhile at least) until the defense left him out to dry and scored three goals in the final two minutes (ok, one was an empty netter).

Before I crunch some numbers, let me preface by saying that these Blackhawks are NOT the defending Stanley Cup Champions. I do not know of any organization that can turn over 30% of its workforce and still maintain a high-level of productivity. So lets stop calling them the defending champs and start calling them for exactly what they are – a talented team that is missing the depth to contend for the Stanley Cup.

For the statistical analysis of Marty Turco, I will use GGVT (which stands for Goaltender’s Goals Versus Threshold). Think of VORP in baseball but this is applied to hockey. You can read more about GVT, the Blackhawks (or any team for that matter) by picking up the Hockey Prospectus. It’s amazing.

Like VORP, GVT compares ‘Player X’ v. a replacement (or average player). To do this we need a couple sets of data: saves, shots faced, save percentage.

We start with Turco’s saves and divide it by the shots faced (500/558) this gives us the save percentage (89.61). This is lower than the league average (91.22) and it only tells us part of the story. If I’m Coach Q, I want to know how many goals Turco is allowing versus his competitor (Crawford) and the league average (replacement player).

To do this, we multiply Turco’s shots faced (558) by the league save percentage (91.22%). This leaves us with 509 (this number represents the number of saves an average goalie would have made facing that same number of shots). We then subtract Turco’s saves by this number (500 – 509) which gives us -9. According to the Hockey Prospectus, a goalie is only responsible for 75% of the shots he faces (I won’t argue with their logic, so I’ll go with it) so we will need to multiply -9 by .75 which equals -6.75.

Don’t let the negative number fool you. This means that Turco is allowing more goals than the average player - almost 7 goals in total!!!

But what about the replacement player?!?! A replacement goalie has a GVT of zero (0). Why? Because if you multiply the shots faced of the league by the league save percentage then subtract the saves, this would equal zero.

(League shots faced * League save percentage) – league saves

We have someone else to compare against Turco: Corey Crawford. What we have seen from Crawford is average goaltending. He has hovered around the league average (0) throughout the season. Considering the circumstances, this isn't a bad thing.

I don't know why Turco is struggling. Maybe it's a conglomerate of defensive miscues, puck possession, injuries, and/or preparation. All we can do is look at the data and interpret what it says; Turco has had a precipitous decline in his production. So much so that he has surpassed (and in this instance 'surpassed' is a bad thing) the guy he was suppose to replace (Antti Neimi).

Whether Turco's declining productivity turns out to be a liability to the team is up to Coach Q to decide. All I know is that we are 30+ games into the season and the Blackhawks have two goalies; one is playing average and the other is struggling...

...eventually Marty Turco will have to show up.

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