No Red Lights: Hockey: ... Sting Like a Bee - Goalie News And Instruction By Roxanne Gaudiel

... Sting Like a Bee

Continuing with the last post -- a quick, explosive butterfly is all about the knees. Seems pretty simple right? Obviously, if you are going into a butterfly you will end up on your knees.  But the motion of going down into a butterfly, is too often thought of as spreading your feet out wide.  By sliding out your feet, you would make a wider butterfly and also fall into the butterfly position. Looks like it solves two problems right? Two birds, one stone = better move.

However, I argue it creates two problems: 1) the goalie is then concerned with falling into position, implying that the butterfly movement will happen naturally, and 2) the goalie is trying to do two moves when only one is necessary. So here is my solution - do one move to accomplish two goals (drop quickly and have a wide butterfly). To create an explosively quick butterfly, adjust your stance so that the only movement made is a straight downward motion. NHL goalies Eddie Belfour and J-S Gigguire illustrate my point.

Beginning with the Godfather of the butterfly, Eddie Belfour.

Belfour made his mark on goaltending by being the first true butterfly goalie. He dropped after just about every shot and was barely beaten on his five-hole. In Figure 1 below, note how far apart Belfour's feet are. His stance is extremely wide. This lets him drop his knees fast while also giving him a wide butterfly.

J-S Gigurre also demonstrates this in Figure 2.

But what about the newer, Quebecois goalies? Their stance is not nearly as wide as Belfour's. If you look at Figure 3, Marc-Andre Fleury has a fairly narrow stance. Despite his stance, he is undeniably quick. So how can my wide-stance theory be true? It's not. My argument is not that a wide stance contributes to the ability to have a quick butterfly -- the argument is that the knees need space to move downward and that the emphasis is on the knees.

Notice how Fleury's main concern when going down is closing the five hole. To do this, he keeps his knees tight.
To be quick, the goalie should think that they are driving their knees into the ice. This is the key.  Don't think about moving your feet outward. Instead, over-exaggerate the downward move, and imagine pushing your knees down so hard that it breaks the ice.  That will give you an explosive movement.

The next series on explosiveness will be shuffles - the bedrock of all goaltending movement. Stay tuned.