Throughout hockey there are misconceptions and myths that coaches, parents and goaltenders have heard about the position of goalie. Here are five of the top 10 most common myths and my thoughts about them:
1. Goaltenders do not have to be able to be great skaters.
Not true! Goalies must be wonderful skaters. In fact on a lot of occasions, goalies are some of the best skaters or at least one of the most agile skaters on the team. Skating is more than just speed forward, it is balance, agility and body control on the ice. Goaltenders must be quality skaters.
2. Goalies should have dull skates.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Most goalies like a sharp skate. The frequency at which a goaltender skate is sharpened is certainly based on the amount of ice time. But not only is frequency important, but the way the skate is sharpened is critical. Most goalies at the professional, college, or junior level put a hollow into their skate rather than the old myth of using a "flat ground" sharpening. Whether it be a very deep hollow at 1/4" or a shallow hollow at 3/4', goalies are now sharpening their skates more often and putting more and more hollow grinds into their skates.
3. A goalie's stick-side leg is weaker than his glove-side leg.
That would seem logical as more goals are scored low to the stick side than to the glove side, but it is not true. On most occasions the goalies' stick leg is significantly better in terms of skate saves or half-butterflies than the goalies glove-side leg. Why is this the case? The answer is simple, on the stick side the goaltender does not have the luxury of getting the stick involved in many of the saves, it's the leg and leg alone. On the glove side, the goalie has the ability of using the stick as a crutch as an additional saving vehicle which prevents the goalie from utilizing the glove-side leg as often as the goalie utilizes the stick-side leg. Should the goalie lose his goal stick during the game, you'll find the goaltender is far better to the stick side than the glove side.
4. Goalies make kick saves.
You hear announcers in pro hockey using this term all the time. "Kick saves and a beauty," but there really is no such thing. A goaltender either makes a skate save, or now in most cases, a pad save which includes a half-butterfly or two-pad slide... but rarely does the goalie actually make a "kick" save. We'll leave kicks to the soccer players.
5. The best goalies are the goalies that always stand up.
While we want our goaltenders to remain on their feet for as long as possible, the game today has changed. No longer can a goaltender expect to make a lot of saves standing. Now, it's not if the goaltender leaves his feet, but rather when and how. The key is timing. When the goaltender leaves his feet too early — the shooter will adjust and go over or around the goaltender; too late — and a lot of pucks end up going under or through the goalie. How the goaltender goes down is important because the goaltender, when leaving his feet, must fill space — not open holes — by staying off his butt and using his pads and his arms to close holes and take away large portions of the net. Yes, a goaltender must stand up more in moving, but now goaltenders must end up leaving their feet in saving. Remember - it's not if — it's when and how... that's the key.
Check out "Goaltending Myths, part 2" in the next posting!
Mitch Korn is the goaltender coach for the Buffalo Sabres of the NHL. In addition, he is an administrator at Miami University (Ohio) and directs the 8-week Summer hockey school. Miami has Division I ice hockey in the CCHA.
This first appeared in the January/1994 issue of Hockey
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Posted: Jul 26, 2005, 20:29
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