The Stanley Cup Finals was a huge victory in my eyes. Not for the Wings though. Nor for the NHL or TV markets or anything like that. It was a huge victory for something totally different, yet vitally important to the sport: talented goaltending.
Now a warning. For those who aren’t aware, I’m a stupid goalie who played in college (with Drew) and while my best days are behind me, I still for some reason find myself in the crease a few times a week. This article is going to be about stupid goalies; mostly non-Red Wings. So prepare yourselves.
You often hear about how technically sound, blocking techniques have taken out all of the skill of goaltending. For a lot of guys, it’s true. Take a look at this comparison of Quick and Lundqvist:
Would you believe that those two are actually the same height, while Quick has 25 pounds on Lundqvist? Lundqvist looks like the Stay-Puft Marshmellow Man in that picture. Incredible.
Follow the jump for more on why the goaltending matchup in the finals was great and why Mike Smith still is a shi!t goalie on the inside:
Anyone who has read NOHS for a while knows I find the blocking mentality of most goaltenders pathetic, boring and cheap. The equipment that folks like Lundqvist wear isn’t there to stop pucks, but rather to make themselves as blocky and as wide as possible so they have to move as little as possible. That sort of equipment allows folks like “King” Henrik and Mike Smith to stay on the goal line while still taking up 4/5th of the net. Tenders who wear this type of equipment maybe only have to react to 1/5 of the pucks shot their way (outside of their normal blocking technique), as their huge thigh rises allow them to stay on their knees and cover the shots on the ground, while their exaggerated shoulder floaters and two foot wide pants to conceal nearly the entire upper half.
Let's take a look at Mike Smith, the "great" goaltender from Phoenix:
Huge and was great in net. But do you remember Mike Smith before this year? No? That’s because he was in Tampa wearing normal sized equipment…and sucking. Compare the above with this picture and be amazed:
Lateral movement isn’t needed when you have that type of coverage, even when you’re on the goal line. Thus you see boring, motionless goalies in net, which makes for a boring motionless game. The only way to score on a goaltender like this who’s any good at his job is dirty rebounds or perfect shots; this of course means that ugly goals are the focus and hockey suffers.
But that’s not what we had in the Stanley Cup final this year. Jonathan Quick and Marty Brodeur play the game the right way. Brodeur is an outlier, who has a significant stand-up portion to his game, despite adding a few modern techniques to his arsenal. He’s the last of the old guard and I doubt that we’ll see another like him for a long, long time. Either way, he’s fun to watch.
But guys like Quick are what I hope to see in the future of the position. He is a very moderately sized goaltender who relies on unbelievable quickness and flexibility to make the saves, rather than oversized equipment. I’ve never seen a goaltender with faster foot speed as Quick. Seriously, watch this clip, keeping an eye on his feet. And remember, this is done on ICE.
Quick challenges and is aggressive because he isn’t wearing the monster shoulder pads that Lundqvist does. Yet he can still recover and get back to make that Richter-like splits save on the post. That’s skill and incredible to watch. Mike Smith’s ability to cover the net with his monster equipment isn’t. You might as well put a shooter-tutor in net with two tiny holes in the upper corners for the same level of excitement.
Relevant to the Wings, our boy Jimmy Howard takes a moderate approach. His thigh-rises are huge but not Niemi like, while his shoulder pads are very reasonable. He's got the foot-quickness where he doesn't have to rely on just his pads to make the saves.
Anyways, I’ve said this before and still believe it. Equipment sizes really need to be cut down, from thigh-rises to shoulder floaters to pant width. Even Quick uses pads which have thigh-rises which should be cut down. If you do that, the skill of the game will go up in all aspects and guys like Quick and Howard will adjust without a problem. However, I'm damn sure you’d see the Lundqvist-like pretenders fade away back to the mediocre goaltenders that they really are (i.e. Mike Smith circa 2011). If Henrik wins the Vezina tonight, he better give a shout-out to those shoulder-pads of his, they've earned it.
Sounds like you're just unhappy that your, I'm sorry our, style of play has become obsolete. Now, your main argument is what us goaltenders are referring to is blocking vs. reaction style tending. I was raised to play complete reactionary and at the time "hybrid". The term hybrid, as you know, referring to using he butterfly when necessary, the opposite being that you butterfly on every shot. I prefers technique that I was taught but as a goalie coach, the blocking technique you're talking about is more about positioning, which we're supposed to do, right? Oh right they're wearing "oversized" pads, you forget about the 12-13" wide-giant-knee-roll pads we wore? How about the coffee table sizes blockers or catchers that looked like a clown should be wearing it? Do you want to have more scoring? That's why they made the pad size rulings, to create more scoring, on top of that the change in crease size also made it so you can't be as aggressive in your crease, lest you'd rather leave your back door open. The game will always change and evolve, I think you should look at how great it's bece and actually give credit where credits due (such as Lundy), and mainly because no one wants to listen to the old guy bitch and moan about "back in my day"...
@MikeyD_OandBP I’m no instructor nor did I even play college but I disagree. If he wanted to point out a fraud you go with Garth Snow…
@tattered666 That's interesting, man. I dunno, the writer made me think, which is what I believe he's trying to do w the article.
@MikeyD_OandBP @tattered666 Exactly what I wanted to do with the article. (sorry I was linked to this conversation by someone else).
@MikeyD_OandBP I don’t even play like quick or Lundqvist. I play like hasek I flop around like a fish and hope the puck hits me…..
the last league i played in had a bunch of lazy goalies that never got out of the butterfly. they just wore giant gear and took up as much room as possible. my friend and i called that style, the "horsefly technique."
lol this is a silly article. Every goalie is using a legal piece of equipment. What you don't seem to understand is that different goalies thrive because they have different styles. There is no way the game is "meant to be played." Jonanthan Quick looks smaller than Lundqvist because of they way they play their position. Quick relies on a low center of gravity to get himself around the crease quickly and effectively. He uses his incredible core strength to keep himself steady when he has to sprawl out.Guys like Lundqvist and Smith utilize a different method to stopping pucks. They both have a more erect upper body than Quick. This creates that "blocking" type of movement that you write about. They make themselves appear bigger by playing a wider/taller stance. Also, they play deeper in the crease to allow themselves to have a greater reaction time to pucks.To call Lundqvist a fraud is outrageous and proves you know little about goaltending. There is no right or wrong way to play the game. Goalies play different styles based on their coaching/their athletic abilities. Quick, Lundy, and Smith all had great years... and shame on you for criticizing a different style because of your own skewed opinions.
@MacAttack Heh, erect.
@MacAttack Hey Mac, are you a NY fan because what you said makes no sense otherwise. Lundy and Smith take advantage of flawed rules. Just because they stay within the rules doesn't make them good players, or the rules fair. He is a fraud in so far as winning the Vezina that's for damn sure. And shame on you? Chris knows what he's on about, and it's not just him. There has been a clamor for goalie equp rules to be changed for a while now.
@MacAttack Hey Mac, I appreciate the feedback, but I think I do know what I'm talking about. I've played college hockey (in net), been a paid goalie coach, and ran a few goalie camps myself. Lundqvist certainly does play a different style than Quick, but that style is based upon the fact that he's a large mass moving near the goal line. Lundqvist isn't a big guy, certainly he's not as big as the many of the other tenders of the league, but he makes himself as big as he possibly can in order to make up for the fact that he's lateral movement is weak at best. His backside recovery is poor per NHL standards and he's certainly not flexible. What he is great at is making himself into a mobile wall, while still being reactive. If he did that using reasonable equipment, I'd have no problem with it. But he doesn't. He's one of those goaltenders who looks "chunky" not because he is, but because his equipment make it so. His style isn't possible if he wore equipment that made him the same size as Quick (which he is in real life, and is actually smaller.)
As the rules stand now, Lundqvist figured out how to take full advantage of them. However, if these rules were changed to actually effectively regulate equipment to reasonable levels, his style of play wouldn't be near as effective as it is now. His talent level isn't near as high as others in the league.
@moorecha I'll respond to all comments here:1) No I am not a New York Rangers fan.
2) I currently play college hockey, so I do know what I am talking about as well. I have also been paid to coach at various camps/private lessons. So, based on that... I guess we have the same credentials???
3) You say Lundqvist isn't flexible and has poor lateral movement. Really? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoC9JlYZ72E Watch this video and observe his lateral movement. It's actually one of his stronger points. The difference between Quick and Lundy laterally is that one Lundqvist's movements are much shallower and he doesn't move as far as Quick does. Part of this is because of how deep he is. Part of this is because of his compact postioning. When comparing the two, Quick appears... quicker because he extends a lot more than Lundqvist. It appears as though he is doing more work. Lundqvist plays a conservative game. To say his talent level isn't as high as others is laughable. I might agree with you if he had one good year, but fact of the matter is he's had a great year every year that he has been in the league.
There's a reason why he won the Vezina... there's a reason why he is the number 1 guy in NY... there's a reason why he won a Gold medal in the Olympics.... the guy is a damn good goalie.
@MacAttack Mac, again, I think we are just going to have to disagree. Lundqvist, as of today, is great at stopping the puck. I don't disagree with that. He's has an excellent conservative style. I also agree with that. I just take issue with how he does it. I think the equipment is a serious part of his success and I take issue with that.
He has good lateral movement as of today because he simply doesn't have to move much. His wide stance and back makes it so he almost never has to move more than a foot or two in the net. If he actually had to challenge, I think he's be exposed.
Now I'm going to give him a complete complement to Henrik. He has one move which I find very interesting; in a one on one situation, he'll back in, suddenly stop and lunge towards the puck, cutting off the puck carrier's angle. Not a poke check, but more of a body dive. It's a great move and one that I think others could use.
And again, I'm not saying he's not successful. He is. He's been able to take full advantage of the current rules to a tee. I just wish he would do that using reasonable equipment.
What team do you play for?
@MacAttack "Also, they play deeper in the crease to allow themselves to have a greater reaction time to pucks" Errrmmm....I'm not a goalie but I'm guessing that's NOT why people play closer to the goal-line as opposed to challenging. Maybe I'm wrong, but challenging cuts down the angles and also puts pressure on the shooters, and is not recommended for goalies with rebound problems (Luongo/Legace reference). Don't think the difference in space affords them much more time.
Also, the point of the article isn't to bash the goalies for cheating, it's to push the issue that a reduction in pad size would be favourable overall to the skills of the position and the excitement of the game (fast-reacting goalies like Thomas, Quick and Brodeur are fun to watch, plus GA would be up and that'd help our power play...okay I'm trying anything to help our PP at this point!)
As another former goalie, I would just like to thank you so much for saying what I've been saying to people for several years now. When I played, my leg pads only were a couple inches higher than my knees, and I was 5'10" The pads most goalies wear these days would be right up to my waist. And definitely, the chest protectors need to be more form fitting.
@JHowardDesign @YahooPuckDaddy Actually, what I am arguing is that if the NHL properly regulated equip, he wouldn't win. I think he will.
@stupidgoalie @YahooPuckDaddy He MIGHT win... but as the case you have made IMO stands... HE SHOULDN'T. He's found the loophole.
As a stupid goalie myself I generally agree with all of this, the neater, faster sieves like Howie and Quick are much better to watch, and much fairer. Lundquists thigh rises and shoulders are ridiculous.
Am I right in thinking that there isn't a limit on thigh-rise size but just an overall limit on pad size? So if it's 38" overall you could have 34" pads with a 4" rise (aka the Niemi)?
However, I will say the change from 12" to 11" wide pads (in 2006?) was good, I don't think the width needs to be any smaller.
@Reddy You were right until 2011. Now, there is a limit as compared to the size of the goalie, which can go past 38". I think there should be a limit to the size of the goalie, UP to 38" pads. Bigger than that you would just be getting walls.
@moorecha Yeah I really can't see anyone needing pads bigger than 38". Though i'm 5'11 and use 35" I appreciate a 6'5 sieve might need some bigger pads, but there should be a limit on thigh rises, 2" maximum or 1" if your pads are over X".
@moorecha Ah fair enough, the size I got was dictated by availability. I have used 34" and felt no difference. Mine have no rise though. Tbh it would be fun to have some 35+3s haha, but it is cheating and nhl goalies shouldn't need it.
@Reddy I'm 5'11" and played 3 years of college with 32" and the last year at 34" pads. I just got 34+1 pads and it feels like cheating.
Reminds of back in the day when Patrick Roy was criticized for wearing the giant jersey that caused pucks to get caught in it and sorta dribble instead of ripping past him.
I seem to recall as a result of that, the equipment/jerseys were shrunk. Either I'm wrong, or they've crept back up.
I agree fully about goalie equipment needing to be reduced. It always amazed me to see this little twig of a man in an interview but covers 2/3rds of a net on the ice. I get that protection is needed, but I think it is taken advantage of.
I have an old post which explains the equipment issue much clearer for those who haven't read it.