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Controlling the Game


Colander

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In the thread “Minor hockey - goalies - Is it all about the $$ ?”  the other day @Naz made the comment “...Does the goalie control their game…”. This got me thinking: when I started, many years ago I never heard people talking about goalies controlling the game – goaltending was seen as a passive position

Looking at the game now, the main area I see where a goalie has the ability to add some control is playing the puck. Clearly killing a shoot-in that wraps behind your net and setting it for your D breaks up the offensive control. Even better, being able to loft that nice breaking pass to your winger near their blue line certainly switches the tide (wish I could do that).

The other thing that comes to mind is freezing vs playing the puck – either can help control the game, depending o the situation.

So what am I missing here – what are your interpretations an ideas on how a goalie can control the play (Don’t worry – I plan to steal ideas shamelessly form this thread to hopefully help my game – I can use all I can get)

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Not sure if this is what you are talking about, but another thing is comiunication with your teammates, especialy defense. My defenders, usualy those with lot of experience, want me to give them real quick orders (have time - clear it - can´t see - I/you got him - go/don´t go etc.). Some are even upset when goalie is silent and start asking what is wrong 😀?  

This is very effective way how you can control the game in your zone.  

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Ever feel that you're forcing shooters to second guess their shots? Or force them to make alternate plays because you're not giving them any good looks?

That's controlling the game.

A goalie that is able to reduce or eliminate offensive opportunities through strong skating, positioning, and play reading does a lot more for defense than a goalie that is even a fraction of a second behind the play.

Edit: Should also mention that puck playing and rebound control are major factors as well, but you guys already touched on those.

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Nowadays goalies most coaches want their goalies to be the quarterback of the team. From the net you can normally see everything and you should use that to help your team get an advantage. You can call plays, point out open players, let your teammates know what is happening when they are focused on their job. Like Colander said it’s also important to know when to play or cover the puck for example if you know it’s the other teams top line and they have lots of speed covering is generally the play, but if the lines are favourable to your team getting the puck down the ice quickly can set up a scoring chance.

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Actually one of the things I do out of habit is talk to the D. As @mik said, letting them know if there is a threat (man on) or if there is an unchecked player in a high percentage position etc. This is something I did pretty well from the start of my time in net. I had a D man in my first year of minor hockey that got switched there from forward and couldn't skate back that fast. He came to me one day and told me he  wanted to try skating quickly forward with the attacking player trailing him as he broke toward our zone and when the opposing player started to make his move asked me to yell "now" at at which point he would spin around and skate backward. Surprisingly it worked quite well and from there we developed a whole single-word "vocabulary" for plays ( his backward skating did eventually improve😄). I find now when I play with a new team there will be the odd D man that will come up to me after a game to thank me for the heads-ups.

The other area I was considering was blocking passes. One of the goalies I used to play against was an absolute master at that - not just backdoors, but cross -crease as well. He would get into these battles with people  while down, literally batting the puck out of the crease 2 or three times in a row 'til his team got control. I figure he probably prevented 10 - 20% of the opposing teams scoring chances doing that - really wish I could do the same.

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2 minutes ago, Colander said:

 

The other area I was considering was blocking passes. One of the goalies I used to play against was an absolute master at that - not just backdoors, but cross -crease as well. He would get into these battles with people  while down, literally batting the puck out of the crease 2 or three times in a row 'til his team got control. I figure he probably prevented 10 - 20% of the opposing teams scoring chances doing that - really wish I could do the same.

This is a huge one.  I see SOOO often that goalies would rather sliiiide across in a pretty butterfly than even attempt at blocking the pass.  Part of this is because they are not reading the play and don't have their stick in the proper positioning to tip passes.  It drives me nuts seeing passes EASILY within reach of the goalie go RIGHT THROUGH THE EFFING CREASE for a tap in.  You can even put your trapper out for the from behind the goal line passes.  Block a few of these early in the game and the opposition will often not even attempt the cross crease passes later on.  And just like that, you are controlling part of the game.

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4 hours ago, coopaloop1234 said:

Ever feel that you're forcing shooters to second guess their shots? Or force them to make alternate plays because you're not giving them any good looks?

That's controlling the game.

A goalie that is able to reduce or eliminate offensive opportunities through strong skating, positioning, and play reading does a lot more for defense than a goalie that is even a fraction of a second behind the play.

Edit: Should also mention that puck playing and rebound control are major factors as well, but you guys already touched on those.

Agree totally on your first point, not that I am doing it unfortunately.

With regard to rebound control, that is something I always try to control and I think it serves me well. I am always trying to put the strong rebounds into the corners. While rebound control used to be a thing of pride in the old days, it seems now the "poor mans' " solution is to get hard pads and just kick them away. In my book that's not really controlling them as you often see those going right back into the slot. If I do that, the goal is on me.

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1 hour ago, Colander said:

Agree totally on your first point, not that I am doing it unfortunately.

With regard to rebound control, that is something I always try to control and I think it serves me well. I am always trying to put the strong rebounds into the corners. While rebound control used to be a thing of pride in the old days, it seems now the "poor mans' " solution is to get hard pads and just kick them away. In my book that's not really controlling them as you often see those going right back into the slot. If I do that, the goal is on me.

Ehh, I'll disagree with you on this one. It's pretty much taught from everybody that deflecting shots with your stick into the corners is the primary focus for rebound control on low shots. Hard pads help in deflecting shots you normally can't react to or for shots just above stick height but less than 11".

Rebound control, if anything, has improved through more modern teaching techniques.

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We'll have to agree to disagree. I agree that pads certainly come into play when the stick can't be used, but as an extension, both vertically and horizontally of the stick, redirecting rebounds to a safe spot. Kicking out a rebound into the kill zone may appear cool or give people a warm fuzzy, but leaves you open to some bad returns.

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One significant way we can control the game and play an active part in how offense plays out in our zone is cutting off passes.  If there is a pass from behind the net or a pass across the crease or low slot, we can use our stick to cut that pass and prevent one-timers, slam dunks, or odd man plays from happening. 

Yes, it's our primary job to guard the goal and prevent pucks from going in, but we can actively dictate the play in our zone by cutting off passes.

It's a gamble, sure.  We've all had pucks hit the heel of our stick and go in between our feet when trying to cut a pass....but really, what part of goaltending does not involve a gamble and risk?

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On 2/2/2021 at 2:09 PM, coopaloop1234 said:

Ehh, I'll disagree with you on this one. It's pretty much taught from everybody that deflecting shots with your stick into the corners is the primary focus for rebound control on low shots. Hard pads help in deflecting shots you normally can't react to or for shots just above stick height but less than 11".

Rebound control, if anything, has improved through more modern teaching techniques.

 

On 2/3/2021 at 9:36 AM, Colander said:

We'll have to agree to disagree. I agree that pads certainly come into play when the stick can't be used, but as an extension, both vertically and horizontally of the stick, redirecting rebounds to a safe spot. Kicking out a rebound into the kill zone may appear cool or give people a warm fuzzy, but leaves you open to some bad returns.

I've been lucky enough to get some updated training this year, wanted to add a couple points to this discussion, and to the conversation overall. 
It's been a great experience and I will be continuing with it, and it's interesting to see how I've overcomplicated my game since I last had any kind of coaching or mentorship. 

Most other things have been touched on - freezing or moving the puck, rebounds, communication, but I have some situational things that I can pass along...

Stick involvement on direct shots:

  • Rebound control with the stick is 100% preferred to using the pads.  Stack your coverage (stick, leg pad, glove)
  • Rebounds off the pad are easier to read for attacking players (fairly straight, flat, slow). 
  • Rebound velocity and trajectory off a stick are harder for a player to pick up, especially if you're using a composite stick
  • You'll get the most energy return/velocity and puck control if you focus on meeting the puck with the heel of your stick

Rebound control off RVH:

  • chest should be slightly angled towards boards so that rebounds off the chest stay in front of you.  If your chest is facing center, an uncontained rebound is going straight to the kill zone in the slot and smart players will take advantage of this.

Puck movement:

  • Eyes on attackers before touching the puck, get chest facing center as fast as you can once you touch, you see all your options and can go either direction with it
  • Know your plan A before you get there.  If you don't have one, just stay in your damn crease
  • short and simple.  Don't go for the flashy blue line sauce if you've got a guy providing support low with no pressure
  • when in doubt, glass and out

Net management:

  • understanding where your posts are, and how to manipulate the "box" in front of you to minimize available net
  • this means projecting your gloves and stick forward, shoulders over the puck, slight bend at hips, butt up
  • bad angle plays - goalie should favor the short side post to make this a 99% play.  D should help cover far side post.  A decent sized goalie will be able to eliminate the far side anyway
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What alot of younger goaltenders, or inexperienced ones fail to realize is a puck you can play safely is a offensive possession the other team can't take advantage of.

Playing the puck behind the net or in front on a failed stretch pass safely to your own team should be considered a faceoff won and a offensive possession gained.

Catching the puck and being able to shove it to one of your forwards or defenseman with a good pass is a faceoff won in my book, and a hell of a offensive scoring chance since I usually catch the other team taking the easy route and relaxing for the whistle or coasting to the bench.

To me, if I prevent 10 scoring opportunities and make 10 saves, thats a good game. If I create scoring opportunities too, thats a great game.

My team used to panic when I played the puck having not played with a "Offensive Minded Goalie", now they get open and wait for that sweet apple for their geno, bardownski.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/2/2021 at 7:10 AM, coopaloop1234 said:

Ever feel that you're forcing shooters to second guess their shots? Or force them to make alternate plays because you're not giving them any good looks?

That's controlling the game.

First, thanks to all for the replies – this is great information and great help to me.

With regards specifically to the quoted comment: I played with a group for quite a while where I felt they played two different games depending whether they were shooting on the other goalie or me. I can certainly see this now as he had great depth and handled breakaways extremely well (i.e. textbook). In a lot of cases I think the shooters weren’t really sure how to shoot on him because of his great positioning. Certainly food for thought – please keep it coming.

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