On this page, I'll take a look at some goalie injuries, and to keep it interesting for me and for you, I'll also add some editorial content between clips.

Feb/18. I'll clean this page up and add to it over the next little while, but for now, I'm just glad it's up, because I haven't had time to work on the site lately.

Here's Luongo's injury, Fall, '17. He doesn't widen out all that much, and if you watch the full clip on the web, you'll see the coach wondering what just happened. By the time goalies are about 24 or 25, they've reached full flexibility, and they'll progressively tighten through use and injury until something like this happens. It's a long story, and I'll have to explain it fully one day.



Here's Malcolm Subban's injury, Fall, '17, and it came at a bad time, because he was dumped by the Bruins and Vegas picked him up, which had a bunch of goalie injuries that opened up a perfect opportunity for Subban. He was taking advantage of a chance that goalies often have to wait a long time for when this happened. He's young and he'll recover, but injuries don't ever really go away, and you only get so many of them before they take you down once and for all.




Left is a clip of Halak's injury, 2016-17, and again, it's a nothing play, When you get injured this easily, it means your core is wound up very tight. Actually, it's more like it has locked up, bit by bit, over the years, tightening like a vice until a move you easily did in your 20s becomes injury-prone. Could Overdrive have helped Halak here? Not on this play, because it looks like he was so close to an injury, he could have done it getting out of a car. But Overdrive could have helped him before this by reducing the widening out that got him to the point that his entire career was in question.


Further to the Halak play above, what kind of plays got him to that point? Ones like this. It's Henrik on a shootout, and I don't know what to call this move, but let's say it's a super-dangle - we've all fallen for it. The key is his right foot, which slides out until he has widened into a total split, which is something you don't want an over-30 franchise player doing too often. On top of that, he throws in a wicked twist at the end that torques his spine in a way that it definitely does not like. Overdrive would have prevented this by holding the right foot in place, or if you get totally fooled, by reducing the slide by a whole lot. You'll see goalies doing wicked widening-out like this on a lot of shootouts.

Here's Matt Murray's injury, spring/17. We'll see if it costs them in the playoffs, but Fleury seems to have regained his mojo. Again, it's a simple move, not even a boot-out, just a warm-up butterfly slide, medium width, he's done the move a million times, and that's the problem. As one announcer suggested, maybe he didn't stretch enough beforehand, but Murray is no dummy, he knows how to prepare. All pro goalies are working with a tight core, and many of them are on the edge of injury. And the more flexibility they have, the more likely they are to go down like this. They worked very hard to gain that flexibility, and it will cost them. The current style of goaltending places so much stress on the core that it can't help but get tired, then sore, then strained, and finally injured.

Murray's problem is that he's only in his second season, and that groin is not going back to its pre-injury state; it never does because other things were strained besides the groin. By the time an injury like this creeps up, the body has adjusted and compensated and can't do it any more. A sore groin can create tightness in the hips, which can cause a tight back, and so on, back and forth. I think that these innocent-looking injuries are worse because they've had time to grow roots, and the roots go deep. There is a lot of 'retro-fitting' required to fully get over such an injury; it requires a ton of work because of how muscles lock out and set like steel, especially up the psoas and around the spine, (I'll get to this on the 'Back' page).

Here's an old one; I have lots. It's Curtis Sanford, who dissapeared after this. The video is not great, but the injury is almost exactly like Halak's, a kick save to the right and Boom! All of the above applies.













On the main page I said that just putting Overdrive will, by eliminating the slipping and its related problems, secure you better movement but the more difficult moves require practice. I should correct that. They require lots of practice. Some of those moves I have repeated thousands of times and I'm still fixing them. Overdrive is a small piece of steel with a limited grip on the ice. It will not do more if you don't. In addition, some of the moves degrade quickly if they aren't maintained. All of this shouldn't come as a surprise because it's just like everything else, you get what you put in. This page will look at what I think is the best way to start with the blade and work your way up. They are only suggestions as I think the only real mistake is that of not experimenting.
When you first go on the ice with the blade, you'll have a few worries about strange things happening to your foot movement so the first thing to do is allay these fears by taking a few turns around the ice. You'll quickly realize that nothing horrible is going to happen and can now get to work on goaltending moves.
When you're down stretching, slide your leg in and out to look for some bite. You may be surprised at how little there is. You'll feel something, maybe you'll hear a scrape but there won't be much. Everyone wants those 'sliding while down' moves but they'll take some work.
When you set up in the crease, try widening your stance just to see what happens. You'll likely be able to get much wider and the feet will feel more secure. Try taking a wide stance on all four blades and exert some downward pressure just to see how well your feet hold.
You'll probably have to start taking shots at this point so I would just have a normal practice. Don't get sidetracked by Overdrive and don't start changing your game around. Anything new can put you off your game and we don't want that. In the course of your practice you may feel the blade here and there but don't expect it to perform miracles because it's not all there yet. The only other thing I would reccommend is to check out your butterfly slide for scraping (see below).
Using Overdrive requires you to roll your ankle down into the ice.You may not feel much at first because your foot is programmed to do the exact opposite. Without Overdrive, rolling the boot into the ice would result in a slip. It'll take some time to reprogram the feet to dig in when you need the blade. This reprogramming seems to happen automatically over the course of a few weeks, up to a month.

For this reason, I would just say wait. Of course you'll fool around with the blade but for the first week or two play your normal game, don't change anything and see what happens. Eventually, you'll start feeling the blade more and when that happens, I'd say it's time to get to work.

At this point, most goalies who play for fun will say thanks, cya later. That's OK because for a lot of people hockey is for fun and work is something that gets in the way of hockey. If you leave things at this point, in 6 months to a year every move you have will use Overdrive. The programming will have changed to dig the feet in whenever you move. All of this will happen with no effort and without your noticing it. Try taking the blades off after 6 months and you'll see how much you use it.


On the other hand, if you are looking for rapid improvment in your moves, you'll need to focus on things.

The best way to know what's going on down there is to do a simple lateral push or a t-push across the crease. You should hear the blade cutting into the ice but you can also check the size of the mark that Overdrive leaves. At the beginning, the mark will likely be short. The goal is to leave a mark the full length of Overdrive (about 3") because this will indicate that you are using all of the blade. There is no other other way to get this improvement other than simple repetition. Just start going back and forth and repeat until you get the results you're looking for.

As with all moves, it's very important to start ssslloooooowwwllly to smooth out the mechanics. You'll implant the muscle memory and gain an understanding of what is required to properly execute the move. It is almost impossible and most definitely dangerous to do a rough move quickly. Each rough point in a move represents a sticking point that not only will slow you down, but also indicate a possible injury area if you continue. Aim for smoothness and speed will soon follow.

On the lateral move above (click it to open the clip), the effect of using the blade fully is to lower the center of gravity, simply because the blade works to a lower angle. Try to eliminate any head bobbing or arm flapping. Keep the hands tightly positioned and experiment to see how far you can push. If you're moving backwards, say from a top corner of your crease back to the post, you won't get the full mark on the ice because your weight is shifting back to the heel. For a move like that you might also want to try some 'c' cuts. Experiment with your moves but of course, don't overdo it or you'll run the risk of a repetitive stress injury somewhere.

It's very important to get this improvement in your standing pushes because you'll use these moves all the time. They're not as exciting as the recoveries but the advantages to moving better on your feet are huge.

You might also want to look into stopping harder. This is an underrated benefit of Overdrive and once you get things working you'll be able to use all four blades to literally stop on a dime. Just try putting more and more weight on the feet. Grind the feet into the ice when you stop and you'll get it in no time. Try one and two-footed stops and again, take it slowly at first.

A common theme of mine is to combine moves because in a game, no move occurs in isolation. It always comes before and after some other move. Once your lateral pushes and stops are working, try combining them into a hard back and forth move like on the clip above. Also, try moving out of a wide, low stance. Without Overdrive, lateral movement out of this stance is extremely limited so this move can be a powerful addition to your game. All this will give you a good leg burn but hey, this is goaltending, not Scrabble.
The butterfly slide will probably be your most important move so resolve yourself to working on it for the rest of your career. Every time I play, I warm it up and if I have time I work on it to make it better. There's a page on this move which has some useful info and if you click the strip, you'll get the clip. For the pushing foot, it's just like on lateral moves. Check the mark on the ice to see how much of the blade you're using. Start with small moves because the sliding foot might scrape or even catch here so you'll need to check this out. If you get it, work the move slowly and the foot will start sliding out cleanly after a while. One foot will slide out better than the other and the weaker side will scrape if you get it. I always get the strong side working and then copy and paste what I'm doing to the weaker side. Once your form is good, it's just a question of adding speed and distance and that'll keep your busy forever.

You'll probably want to start working on recoveries as soon as possible but I'd advise some patience here. It takes a fair bit of work to get most of them going. Count on maybe a month or two before you are getting up with the legs at a lower angle. At the beginning, a lot of goalies have trouble finding the blade when their legs are down low and figure they can't do it. Instead, do your normal recovery and slowly try to start lowering the leg angle you recover from. If you work your way down like this it might be easier. I think that the easiest recovery might be from a butterfly slide.
While you're sliding, all you have to do is angle the leg up slightly until you feel the blade catching on the outside foot, tighten the foot so it holds and your sliding momentum will lift you up.
This one isn't too difficult but it does require more effort and balance. The feet wing out and they should run into the blades. Plant the feet and and get up.
Here's a recovery I use a lot of the time. There's not much to it but it took some work to get it that way. In the second frame I've put a lot of my weight on the right skate to keep the foot from sliding back while the left one swings forward. In frame 3, I start getting up.
Since this is a page on getting started, the best advice I can give regarding recoveries is be patient but keep working on it. None of them come quickly but when you do get them you won't regret the effort it took. There are a couple of pages on recovering and you might want to check them out for a closer look at how to get up using the blade.

I think that improving your moves while down will be a little easier than recoveries because it's just a matter of getting a stronger push. With recoveries, some basic programming has to change, meaning you have to learn to get up from a lower leg position and that brings with it a number of balance and agility issues. Here, the moves don't really change as much. That doesn't mean it's going to be easy. The blade has a limited grip on the ice at the lower angles so you'll have to learn to make things work with that. Don't be discouraged if you go down and find that there isn't as much edge as you had hoped for. Believe it or not it's enough and with some effort, you'll get things working. On the 'About the Boot' page I explain why it isn't a good idea to move the blade out. Like all the other pushing moves, you can check the mark on the ice if you want to see how you're doing. Paddle down will be the easiest to work with so get down, get to it and repeat until you've had enough. It's the only way I know of that is 100% guaranteed to give improvement. Get your normal move going and then try getting the same distance starting with a lower and lower leg angle.
As for technique, imagine just standing flat-footed and then going up on your toes. I'm mean right up on your toes. That's what you have to add in to all your pushes, that extra push from the ball of the foot to the toe. In addition, you'll need to combine it with downward pressure on the blade (blue arrow).
Focussing pressure here is something you likely haven't done before. Normally all the pressure would stay on the main blade so it'll take some time to get it shifting from the main blade to Overdrive as the move progresses. This is the key to a lot of the moves so be sure it's clear in your mind that you're going to be working off of the inside of your foot.
Aside from the paddle down, this is the move that everybody has to have. In the strip, I get my leg up to about 45° but to make it easier, raise the leg higher. Again, once you get a feel for how the blade is working, see if you can get the same amount of push with the leg working at lower and lower angles. Pushing will be more difficult here because of the friction of the pad but check out the 'Moves While Down' to see what kind of distance is possible.
That's about it. I think you can figure everything else out from here
but if you have a question or a problem, you know where I am.
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