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Who Moved My Cheese?

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Who Moved My Cheese?
By Fred Quistgard

Many of you may know the book “Who Moved My Cheese”. If you don’t, the book was about some mice that got very comfortable with knowing where their daily meal of cheese was located. Someone moved their cheese and the story evolved around the stress, confusion and intelligence involved about locating new cheese. This concept can be applied to your life as a goaltender. Shooters are like mice and the net is the cheese. If a goaltender is very predictable about how he or she plays the position, the shooters get lazy because the goalie is easy to play against. I call this type of goalie a “puck receptacle” because they hang out and wait for obvious clues that a shot will be taken and then they scramble to try and stop the puck. An active goalie would be one that “moves the cheese” from the shooters on a regular basis. By being creative and active, this type of goalie creates stress and confusion for the shooter (mouse) because the goalie is not predictable. Most goalies I see are puck receptacles. Oh they may look pretty in how they move around in their perfectly formed butterfly slides and stances, but they lack purpose. When a goalie doesn’t know the game well enough to make proper choices with save techniques, positioning and stickwork, the shooters have easy access to the cheese.

What are ways to make you an active goalie that hides the cheese from the offensive players? Here’s a basic laundry list:

*Don’t glide backwards too early in the crease.
Play inside/out (step out to your angle before a shooter is beginning a shot and don’t retreat unless they are within a stick length away)

*Keep your elbows in and your hands ahead of your body at a forward diagonal from your nose. This hides the armpit area and the glove and blocker will keep only a few inches of the top shelf in a shooter’s sightlines. Very few shooters can put the puck in a few inch area under pressure. When the hands are down and 2 feet of top shelf are exposed, an average shooter can score. When the hands stay ahead of you, the glove and blocker can meet the puck early in the trajectory when it’s not a difficult save to make. If the hands are down and you have to try and get the puck when it’s already behind you, it’s probably going in….

*Have an active stick.
If you can poke a player who has skated too close to you or you can block a pass to the slot, do it! Save yourself from making a tougher save and maybe the shooter will think twice about getting too close to the crease.

*Protect the short-side of the goal.
If you move to the middle angle before a puck has crossed the midpoint of your body, the shooter has an easy short-side goal. Protect the cheese by making the shooter make the move across your body before you leave the short side. This allows you to move more easily into the save and it commits the shooter away from the short side.

*Don’t go down first!
Unless the player is way ahead of you and desperate measure are called for, learn to outwait the shooter. If they haven’t shot the puck yet, don’t get nervous and commit because you think you have to do something. Do something when the shooter commits to a shot, but not when they are staring you down. It’s a cat and mouse game. The one who commits first usually loses.

*Don’t be a Cone! Take gaps away!!
If you stand flat-footed deep in the crease and let the shooters either “grip it or rip it” or walk around you, paint yourself orange and join the Cone union. You need to take to take gaps away on opposing shooters. If you make a save and a rebound gets away from you, shimmy, slide or skate to the rebound angle before a shooter does. If a player steps out from the side boards, take a step to the top of the crease to take away the shooting and passing lanes. If a pass is made to another player, don’t watch the pass get received before you move, move with the pass so you are already set on the new angle when the player picks his or her head up to shoot.

*Know where you are going and why!
You must know left-hand and right-hand passing and shooting options of the team you are playing against. The distance you cover with a pass or rebound is totally affected by the way an opponent passes and shoots. A left hand shooter passing to a right hand shooter is a long way to go to get to the new angle. A righty to a lefty is a short distance. You have to get to the right spot to have a chance at making the save! 

This article was contributed by Fred Quistgard of Quistgard Goalie Training.



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