No Red Lights: Hockey: Cup Finals Analysis: Fleury Improves, Osgood Shows Weakness - Goalie News And Instruction By Roxanne Gaudiel

Cup Finals Analysis: Fleury Improves, Osgood Shows Weakness

Marc-André Fleury, the Stanley Cup, and Sidney...Image by michaelrighi via Flickr

With the Stanley Cup Finals completed a week ago, the post-series analysis can begin. There are many different character stories that can be discusses: comparison to last year's Finals, the regular season vs. playoffs performance, the maturity of Fleury and even the changes in both team's defense and what that means for the goalies... maybe we'll save those topics for summer pondering; but for now, and simple Finals Series analysis and takeaways will suffice.

As always, train yourself to be critical (not a critic though!) of other goalies. What this means is that you should always look for ways to improve not just your game, but the style and game of hockey in general. Finding trends in player's styles can lead to new ideas that you may not have considered before. It is important to not be a Critic because of this one small but important distinctions -- Critics, in colloquial terms, are looking for the worse aspects of objects -- be positive in your analysis! Look for good techniques as well as ones that need improvement. Here is my short list for take-aways from 2009's Stanley Cup Finals:

As Always... Never Give Up!

Fleury's last minute save in game 7 is evidence that even the most out of place and technically imprecise saves can win the game. Even though the shot came while Fleury was out of position restricting him from moving his legs quick enough, he used whatever means were available--in this case his shoulders. He deserves even more praise because this is not a natural reaction (to dive face first towards a shot); it actually goes against human instinct which would be to protect your head.

Mental Game... Now That's Rebounding Back

Another factor that allowed Fleury to take away the cup was his ability to bounce back from being pulled in Game 5. The mental toughness he demonstrated was a bit legendary, which is even more significant due to his history in the playoffs. After last year's sweep in the Finals, it would have been easy for Fleury to doubt himself. Memories of last years Fail could have overcome his mental edge and led to a capitulation. But instead, he rose above any of those thoughts and played as usual -- rebounding with near perfect games just as he had done in the regular season.

Aggressiveness Pays Off

Lastly, the starkest difference between Fleury's play and Osgood was how much more aggressive Fleury was. When he moved laterally, he stayed at the top of his crease to be as aggressive as possible. After the save, he moved quickly to get back in position. A few times, Osgood was caught playing deep in his net and did not have the lateral movement and quickness that Fleury exhibited. Usually, he can play a more conservative style because the Red Wings defense is rarely penetrable and never gives up the lateral pass. But this year, it was not the case. In the end, it looks like a year of maturity and some hard fought early round games gave the Penguins and Fleury enough confidence to capture the Cup.

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