Friday, May 15, 2009

A quick look at goaltending

It's obscenely late, so I'm gonna touch briefly on two things:

1.) The Lakers are borderline impossible to root for.

And 2.) Have a look at this picture:

This photo belongs to the Boston Globe, but the MS Paint additions are mine.

This is the game winning overtime goal which sent the Hartford Whalers, er, Carolina Hurricanes, to the Eastern Conference finals. I have highlighted 4 major problems with Tim Thomas and one major problem with Dennis Wideman.

First, his five-hole is wide open. Second, his stick is not in a location where it is helping him at all. Third, there's far too much space between his left leg and the post. And finally, he's dropped down and bent over.

Thomas has never subscribed to standard goaltending technique, and I don't expect him to change. However, were I a goalie coach for the Bruins, here's what I would suggest. First, the stick is covering your five-hole when it's open or else it's being used for a poke check. Those are the only two things a stick should EVER be used for in a save situation. The fact that five-hole goals even happen in the NHL is an embarrassment to the game.

Second, positioning defines a goalie's success. Thomas flops around like an octopus falling out of a tree, but his positioning is usually pretty solid. From watching the replay, Thomas needed to be sliding backwards into the post (he wasn't) while occupying as much space vertically as possible. There's two feet of open net above him. The goal trickled in over a leg pad. With his five-hole closed up with his leg pads and his shoulders square to the net, he makes this save. Just look at how close to the ice he is. That's so wrong.

And memo to Dennis Wideman: When your goalie is dropped down, you stick check TOWARDS the ice, not upwards. Also, you might want to consider getting behind your goalie instead of shoving your stick into his mask.

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