Goalie Reviews

Quickness vs Balance: Balance wins every time…

Jonathan Quick: Off Balance leads to 5 hole exposure.

Kings VS Sharks

Jan 19th 2010

In this clip we can see Jonathan Quick gives up a juicy 5 hole goal on Ryane Clowe. Quick played this shot very well being square to the stick and not the man. He also did a great job in timing his backward flow eliminating the top corner options. So what did he do wrong? .

Although very hard to identify, Quick’s mistake was actually in his balance. Because he executed a backward flow his momentum transferred to the heels of his feet. When the shot was released his entire weight (balance) was behind him leading to a slow butterfly. As a result he could not shut his pads fast enough providing Clowe with a taste of glory. The evidence of this imbalance can be seen once the puck crosses the goal line. Pause the clip at the 0:08 seconds and you will see how Quick’s hips and rear-end drop down close to his feet after the shot is taken. The weight falling back demonstrates how his weight was behind him leading to the entire body to fall back.

In this type of situation the goalie wants to first establish a backward flow ensuring that his weight remains on his toes. This will allow him to perform a quick (no pun intended) butterfly with both pads tight together. An additional benefit to using this strategy is that when he goes down he will maximize net coverage and be a bigger target as his momentum will not force his body to fall back resulting in greater height and net coverage.

When do you think goalies should drop their weight back?

Leclaire vs Miller, Great saves and Positional conclusions…

Leclaire vs Miller, Great saves and Positional conclusions…


Sens vs Sabres Dec 26th 2009

Even if you’re not a Ryan Miller fan it is hard to not appreciate his goaltending mastery. In the highlight versus the Sens you will see a brilliant glove save at the 0.22 minute mark of the clip. As many of you already know, keeping both pads flush to the ice when making a save is crucial for a goalie’s balance. Miller fights the urge to lift his trapper pad up when the shot is flying to the top left corner. Instead Miller stays very balanced and allows his trapper to make the save well in front of his body. Having the gloves forwards reduces the upward elevation of the puck eliminating the top corners. The “Miller Man” makes this save look easy but we all know that looks can be deceiving.

Although in my opinion Leclaire is not on the same playing field as Miller he does demonstrate a great knee shuffle during this video highlight. The knee shuffle is a relatively new technique where instead of lifting the leg up to perform a power-slide the goalie simply extends one leg out and brings in the opposite leg in quickly which creates a slight lateral movement. This is a great play when a goalie needs to add a few inches to his positioning without having to compromise any gaps in the body were the player can score.

Unfortunately, on the second goal Leclaire fell victim to the “Blind Driver” (see article “Most Important Element of Goaltending” ). If you notice Pommenville beats Leclaire on a one timer, low to the trapper side. Leclaire made two fundamental mistakes which lead to this goal.

First, he did not turn his head to identify if Pommenville was a left versus a right hand shot (long versus short movement ). Pommenville is indeed a right hand shot meaning Leclaire should not have performed a long slide that gave up the trapper side of the net. This omission led Leclaire to be square to Pommenville’s body instead of the puck.

The other mistake Leclaire made is less obvious. After repeatedly observing this trend I have concluded that when a player, such as Pommenville, shows a backward stride and momentum in preparation for the one timer, the shot will almost always travel in the direction of the shooters forehand. For example, Pommenville is a righty so the shot traveled to the right. It is very challenging for a right hand shot to shoot far left side as his momentum is moving backwards during the shoot. The body mechanics and momentum force the shooter to almost always shoot to the same direction as their forehand. If Leclaire picked up on this tendendy he could have shortened his slide leading to a square save towards the right side of the net.

Understand the game, master the position, own the opposition

Marty Turco Vs The Short Side (Stars vs Rangers)

Marty Turco Vs The Short Side (Stars vs Rangers)

Jan 6th 2010.

Marty Turco shows that even the greatest goalies still need to work on their positional play. In the article “The Most Important Part of Goaltending” I emphasize the importance of always being square to the puck as opposed to the player carrying the puck. Turco lets in two very soft goals short side because he is square to the player instead of the puck. When viewing the highlight pause  it at the 1:11 mark into the clip. You will see that Avery, a left handed shot, releases the puck from a few feet above the faceoff dot.  When paused, we can see how Turco is completely off angle nowhere near being square to the puck.  Turco is unfortunately lined up with Avery’s body giving him the entire short side leading to the goal.

On the Rangers 3rd goal Turco’s positioning is again horrid. Kotalik, a right handed shot, is carrying the puck near the right side boards when he releases the shot from close to the blue line.  When pausing the clip at the 2:28 mark we see that Turco is not even square to the Kotalik, let alone the puck.  Kotalik had the entire trapper side open to score on an easy shot.

I am the number one defender of goaltenders but Turco is an elite goalie who should not be making these fundamental mistakes.  Being in the proper position would have allowed him to make two easy saves giving his team a chance to win the game.

Goalies and coaches take this opportunity to truly appreciate how important positioning can be. Highlighted are two goals to the short side that are easily avoidable by simply being square to the puck and not the man.  Goalies have an opportunity to work on this skill in every practice. Any time a player is coming down the wing either on a one on one or for a weave drill make sure you know if the player is a right handed shot or a left handed shot.  To simply this just notice if the shooters stick is closer to the boards or the middle of the ice. If the stick is closer to the boards you should be covering more of the short side, lining up close to the face off dot (see image). If the stick is closer to the middle this means the puck sees more net and the goalie should be lined up more towards the middle of the crease or a few inches left or right depending on the player.

Understand the game, master the position, own the opposition.