No Red Lights: Hockey: (cont.) Paddle down... way down - Goalie News And Instruction By Roxanne Gaudiel

(cont.) Paddle down... way down

In my last post on the paddle down, I wrote how generally the paddle down is excessive and ineffective. So let's get technical about it - it's not a great move (all the time), and here's why:

From a statistical point of view, covering roughly 80% of the ice surface would be a good idea. Many goals are scored on the ice, so why not just eliminate those goals and take your chances with the top corner shots, right?  I mean, honestly, most forwards don't hit the net anyway, and they all want to shoot top corner -- so why not tempt them to shoot there by covering all the shots on the ice?  While I am all for controlling the shooter and making them shoot where you want them too, there is a fundamental problem with the paddle down which makes this ineffective.

Basically, the paddle down takes way too much time. It is a very time-consuming move. Your blocker hand has to go from its position in your stance to flat on the ice. That is a far distance to cover in a short time frame.  To put this in perspective, take the glove save.  The glove only travels a short distance, a few inches at best, yet many high glove hand shots go in. When doing a paddle down, the blocker travels almost twice as far as the glove does for a glove save.  And the paddle down carries more weight (the stick) than the glove which also slows the move down. This is why the move takes too long, sheer logistics -- the save must cover too far a distance and must move too much weight to be explosive.

So how do most goalies compensate?  They actually move their blocker before the shot is taken.  Watch any goalie who goes into a paddle down on long shots. They anticipate the paddle down move, and their blockers slowly inch lower. As a result, their stick blade moves out of position. Most goalies whose stick is out of position maybe have this problem.

Two main problems arise from moving the stick to early in anticipation of the paddle down:
a) the five-hole is left open, which dares the forward to shoot there;
b) the blocker side top corner is left open as the blocker is has moved lower.

As you can see, the results of using the paddle down are usually counter-productive. By trying to cover low shots with the paddle down, the goalie usually exposes the five-hole for a longer period of time. The result is usually that more five hole goals go in, which is exactly what the paddle down is trying to limit!!

To make a long story short, don't over use the paddle down. Only use it when there is traffic in front of the net and the shooter is close.

Till next time,