Thursday, December 07, 2006

Naming Rights

It's become widely accepted that the cut-off save percentage for a starting goalie is .900. If one drops below that mark (Mr. Raycroft, I'd like you to meet Mr. Gerber) the papers and fans will be calling for a trade, for the back-up to get his turn or for the GM's head (and sometimes all three).

But what is the goaltending equivalent to baseball's Mendoza line - that hypothetical minimum save percentage a goalie has to maintain to stay in the NHL? And, more importantly, shouldn't it be named after a goalie?

Thanks to readers' suggestions, I've nominated following list of goalies for your consideration as the future namesake of hockey's Mendoza line.

The goalie that's voted as exemplifying a career as a back-up*, somehow managing to stick with one team or another, will have the honour of being hockey's Mendoza Line.

Feel free to hit the comment button to make your drunken passionate case for your favourite marginal goalie (or to submit a write-in vote - I'm sure there are plenty of ideal candidates we've missed).

Name Hockey's Mendoza Line
Millen .876 SV%
Racicot .879 SV%
Ing .859 SV%
Bester .870 SV%
Bernhardt .866 SV%
Snow .892 SV%
Garret .867 SV%
Pang .865 SV%
Healy .888 SV%
Lalime .904 SV%
Free polls from

*Or maybe you just want to stick it to one of the many ex-goalie mediots out there, that's cool too.


  1. There is a problem with the poll. It says that it doesn't exist.

    I was initially on board with Millen since his career of moving around and never really being the # 1 was apropos of the team but .876 seems low.

    Lalime had a lot of regular season success and was a recognized # 1.

    I still think Healy is a good choice because even though he won a cup he was useless. Peter Ing could have been the backup and the Rangers would have won the cup. Because of that and his career back-upness my vote goes to Healy.

  2. The poll is working now...

  3. Anonymous2:05 am

    Jiri Crha?

  4. Jiri Crha - there's a name from the past. I'll see if I can dig up his save percentage...there's a great anecdote about one of Crha's first ever games in the NHL. The other team had a delayed penalty called against them and Palmateer rushed to the bench so the Leafs could send out an extra attacker. Allegedly, Crha saw Palmateer coming, threw on his gear and hit the ice - thinking the goalies were changing on the fly...

  5. Anonymous11:21 am

    I would pay to see that clip.

  6. Anonymous5:07 am

    As would I....

    The problem with this poll is that what makes a good sv% changes over time... As an Oilers fan, I'd nominate "The Conklin Line" (.880 sv% last season) but in the 80's, that would have been poor, but not league-worst awful.

    Anyway, Millen sounds about right.

  7. Anonymous3:37 pm

    Snow was only a back-up goalie in N.Y.. Now Allen Bester there was a goalie to name something after.