With Tom Brady going down this weekend I got to thinking about leaders in sports. In the NFL the backbone of your team is often your quarterback. In the NHL the backbone of your team is often your goalie. So the question is, is a top-flight goalie more important to a hockey team's success than a quarterback to a football squad?
The answer is, yes and the reason for this is quite simple.
If a top-flight goaltender in the NHL like a Marty Brodeur or a Roberto Luongo went down there would be no chance for the team to contend for a championship. Teams with marginal goalies do not win Stanley cups. Then there are quarterbacks. It seems like once every season that there is a starter that goes down and a backup comes in to carry his team to the playoffs. Quarterbacks to play in the big game since 2000 are players like Eli Manning, Rex Grossman, Trent Dilfer and Kerry Collins. Not exactly quarterbacks who make you quiver with fear. If your defense is solid than the job can still be done.
No matter how good the defense is in the NHL it can't fully hide a backup goalies weaknesses. While there are circumstances that could prove the opposite of my point every once in a while, it's a pretty solid bet that NHL goal tending injuries are more detrimental to a team than a starting quarterbacks injuries.
Although, it's not like losing Tom Brady exactly helps your chances.