I was a goalie for one game in Tom Thumb. I didn’t like it all. I spent most of the game skating in circles around the net because I was bored. Every kid got to be a goalie for one game, and if you liked it you could play again. I never did.
I did lace them up a few times in our spirited road hockey games on Apache Crescent in Leduc, but after taking a frozen tennis ball in the junk when I was eleven, I never tried goal again. Kids like Darren White were much better in goal than I was and combined with the tennis ball incident, my days of putting on the pads officially ended when I was eleven.
I prefer offense. I’ve always appreciated goal scorers much more than goalies, plus I understand the forward position much better. However, in today’s NHL goaltending is crucial for a team’s success, so in order to learn the position more I reached out to a guy who understands the position.
Today, we break down the Flames’ game winning goal from this past Saturday night.
I’m sure you witnessed the goal, but if not watch the above video.
Cam Talbot has to stop that shot. He admitted it after the game, but I wanted to find out what goalies are thinking on shots like that.
Kevin Woodley plays goal. He works with NHL goalies. He writes at In Goal Magazine and for NHL.com. I convinced him to have a weekly slot on my show, Crease Lightning, Mondays at 3 p.m., where we talk about goaltending and/or specific NHL goalies.
This past week we discussed the new goalie interference rule, and Kevin was adamant it will become more of an issue and we’ll see more goals called back instead of goals being added. We also dissected the Talbot goal and the Flyers goalies. You can listen to the entire interview here.
Here is Woodley’s response to the Frolik game winning goal.
“Man, dead angle shots really suck
for us goalies. I hate to say it, but I think if other teams realized how much of
a bugaboo and how much of a problem it is, right up to the NHL level, they
would try more shots from those dead angles.
“I mean we’ve seen new techniques evolve
over the past decade specifically to deal with pucks down around the goal line.
The first one was what we called VH, or vertical horizontal, and that’s if you can
picture the [Cam] Talbot goal, that’s what you utilize there. You take the lead
pad and you stack it vertically against the post and you drop the back pad
horizontally against the goal line. The idea there is you are able to push off,
to maintain that skate edge against the post and you can push off if the play
goes to a backdoor pass, or if the player (in the corner) drives from a sharp
angle and brings it out in front of the crease.
“Then a few years ago we saw Jonathan Quick
have a lot of success with reverse VH, where that lead pad drops to the ice, and
the back pad is up and you’d use the skate edge to push your shoulder into the post. And now in the last year we’ve seen players from dead angles
and sharp angles exploit that (reverse VH) by getting the spot right above the goalies ear
because unless you’re six foot seven, you’re not covering right up to the post
in that position.
“So, first off, I’m not excusing that goal.
It’s a bad goal and Talbot owned it, but sharp angle shots give goalies fits. You
watch a goalie before and after practice when he’s working with his
goalie coach, you watch how much time they spend working on plays on and off of
the post, the ability to feel the post and then get into it and get off of it seamlessly
has become a major part of the game and yet we still have goals like that that
go in. It would be interesting, I haven’t obviously had a chance to talk to Cam,
but my curiosity would be to ask him how he would do it differently next
“Typically the VH play, where that lead pad
is stacked, is used for attacks from above the goal line and reverse VH is used
for attacks below the goal line. That said there has been a couple of other
situations for him this year where he’s gotten caught going into reverse VH,
dropping on a sharp angle threat and they keep going down to one side. I’m
thinking of the [Alex] Galchenyuk goal against Montreal — he’s laying into that
post expecting a dead angle shot and the puck goes right through the crease to
the back door and he’s going one way so he’s not able to push across because of
the other one.
“One thing that we’re seeing evolve is
goalies trying to hold their skates more, commit less to these sharp angle
techniques that have evolved over the past few years and like you said, just
try to play it more patiently. But sure enough, when you try to stay on your
skates, that will be the first time somebody shoves it in. It doesn’t look any
better if that guy, especially if it was above the goal line, throws it at the
net, it goes between your stick and you pad and hits the back skate and goes in.
“The one thing that I don’t like about the
technique he used, when you do use VH, is I saw him have the elbow around the
post and try to pull that heel tight, he didn’t get it. The lead skate was kind
of angled out so he didn’t get the pad flush and that cost him there. It’s a
position that’s very quote unquote, blocky.
“Once you get into that one, the one that he used, you really do lose your hand,
it’s a pure block. Executed properly, nothing goes in from that angle.
Obviously the execution wasn’t great, but I wonder if he could do it over again
if he might have chosen another one or like you said, had been a little more
patient, maintained the ability to use his hands, not locked himself up in that
block and just have the ability to throw that blocker down and steer that one
into a corner without committing to any type of move towards the ice”
Obviously Talbot needs to make that save, but it was great learning about the specific techniques goalies use on those shots, and how shooters are already adapting to them.
We will break down other goaltending techniques and strategies throughout the season.
If you have a question about goalies email it to me email@example.com. and Kevin and I will discuss it on the show.
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