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EFFECTIVE GOALTENDING: PROTECT YOUR HOUSE!

IMPORTANT QUESTION! When was the last time you allowed a stranger to open up your front door, walk inside your house, open your fridge, make a sandwich with your food and then go sit on your couch and use your remote while you just watched … and moved out of the way to permit the individual to simply do what he/she wanted … IN YOUR HOUSE?

Is your answer to this question … “NEVER!?” If so, that’s terrific … and you sound like an outstanding “protector” of your house and your family!

Okay … now that we’ve established the best answer to the first question, I’d like to now lead you toward the next question, “Why do so many goaltenders in today’s game allow opposing players to drive the net at full speed and cut through the crease area … so easily … without any level of battle?”

Isn’t the crease area still the “GOALTENDER’S HOUSE?” It seems to me that sometimes goaltenders forget that they’re the KEEPERS OF THE CREASE AREA and simply allow opposing players to “walk through the front door, make a sandwich, put a point on the scoreboard and then maybe do it again in a few minutes” … does this sound like the house is being protected? My answer is “NO!”

Let’s Explore an Option: LOCK THE FRONT DOOR (POKE CHECK)!

** The following information has been summarized from “Goaltenders are not Targets” (Bradford & LeMire, 2011; www.GoaliesAreNotTargets.com).

Poke Checking the Puck/Player – The Secret Weapon: There are several BATTLES that goaltenders are forced to engage in throughout a hockey game (if they are strong, willing, effective), including game situations when opposing players pick up speed while driving the crease area from the wings.

DEVELOP YOUR SECRET WEAPON (POKE CHECK)! A Poke Check can become a goaltender’s secret weapon when an opposing player drives the crease area at full speed. However, there are some important points that must be made clear … and … it should also be known that being recognized as a strong, aggressive goaltender that battles intensely all around the crease area is a “gold mine” of a reputation to obtain!

The Poke Check – Physical Aspects: There are important physical movements that must be adhered to when poke checking successfully. All of the movements must be combined together as one EXPLOSIVE SAVE PACKAGE! This entire save package must be executed in a split second … in fact, the poke check must be practised over and over and over again until it becomes lightening quick!

IMPORTANT PHYSICAL MOVEMENTS OF THE POKE CHECK (BLOCKER-SIDE)

1.    Begin low in your Ready (SET) Position at the Top of the Goal Crease!
2.    Use an extremely quick, explosive sliding of your hand all the way up to the knob of your goal stick.
3.    Shift your weight to your Blocker-side foot, dig into the ice with the toe of your blade in order to load your leg in preparation for an explosive attack!
4.    Drive your entire body outstretched fully with an explosive push!

ATTENTION GOALTENDERS! The most effective strategy is to intercept the path of all three of these objects:

1.    The Puck
2.    The Player’s Stick Blade
3.    The Player’s Skates

IMPORTANT POINT! The direction that a goaltender must aim the explosive poke check and his/her explosive, fully outstretched body slide is … AHEAD of the path of the traveling puck! A goaltender should never aim toward the puck when attempting a poke check. If a goaltender were to aim toward the puck, the puck will not be there anymore when the goal stick finally arrives! The result will almost certainly become a GOAL AGAINST!

Two common game situations that are truly poke check candidates are:

1) A player, skating out of the corner, trying to drive entirely across the front of the crease area with the puck.
2) A player, cutting in from the wing, trying to drive totally across the front of the crease area with the puck.

Of course there area several other points to effective poke checking, and these are covered in their entirety in “Goaltenders are not Targets” … for example, there are important differences in decisions when poke checking depending on a goaltender’s catching hand. But for now, my intention is to help us all attend to this “secret weapon” that can impact the outcome of a game.

“… OR … WE CAN CONTINUE TO LET THAT STRANGER COME ON IN AND TURN THE CHANNEL ON OUR TVs … WHILE “GIVING HIGH-FIVES” TO HIS/HER TEAMMATES … AFTER WE SIMPLY WATCHED A GOAL BE SCORED AGAINST!”

LET’S BATTLE GOALTENDERS … AND LET’S CONTINUE TO SAY … “HEY … ALL YOU OPPOSING SHOOTERS … WHEN YOU COME NEAR MY FROZEN REAL ESTATE WITH THE PUCK  … WATCH OUT FOR MY SECRET WEAPON: MY POKE CHECK!”

REMEMBER GOALTENDERS! MAKE IT SNAKE-LIKE! LIGHTNING QUICK!

THIS WEEK’S HOMEWORK! As you continue to study NHL goaltenders this week … watch out for this type of game situation and feel free to share with us what you are seeing!

How is your poke check working …


1 Comment »

  1. Comment by Coach Vic

    Your assignment (Elite Goaltenders) is to create that “Reputation” per Coach Brent’s comments above. Once you are “labeled” as a Goaltender who uses a great poke-check … you’ll find that using a FAKE Poke-Check early in the save procedure will be just as effective as the “Real Thing” from time to time.
    OWN the CREASE!

    Coach Vic

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