Carey Price is calm. Watch any game he’s involved in and you will inevitably hear those words. Again and again and again. Commentators will say that his calmness helps him make saves, and that his teammates feed off of it and probably something about ice in his veins. It’s a nice thought and it’s all sort of true (except the ice in his veins, that sounds like a serious medical problem.) He is super calm in the net; I’m sure it makes his teammates feel good when he’s back there, calm as can be, stopping everything. Staying calm under fire is definitely an asset in net, especially on scrambles in front, but it is only part of the package. Calmness on it’s own doesn’t help you stop pucks. There is lots of work that goes in behind the scenes so that Carey Price can stay calm in net. In this edition of Goalie School, I want to show you why Carey Price can be so calm.
After two posts and three goals analysed, it’s probably time to discuss a few saves. The problem with analysing saves is that alot of the “fantastic saves” you see on highlight reels and on the nhl.com video page usually start from a mistake, or aren’t something you want to see as a goalie coach. When I played, a lot of times when I made a “great save” that got a big crowd reaction, I would be swearing at myself under my breath, or embarrassed that I had made a mistake and got away with it. One time in Chicago, I hadn’t played in a few weeks and I was a bit rusty, and somewhat nervous at the beginning of the game. Long story short, I caught an edge on the first play of the game and fell, while following a puck carrier across the zone, so I had to kind of slither on my side along with the guy, swearing and hoping he wouldn’t get a shot away or my teammates would bail me out. He took a shot that should have been a routine save, I reached up and caught it and then looked over at the bench where Ondrej Pavelec (my goalie partner) and Wendell Young (our goalie coach) were laughing at me. Things got worse when that save made it onto the team highlight reel on the jumbotron before every game and I had to remember falling on my ass and butt shuffling around the net.
As a coach and a player, I prefer my goaltending to be boring. My favourite thing to watch is one of my goalies in perfect position getting hit in the chest protector with a puck absorbing the rebound. So I chose this sequence from yesterday’s wild US vs Russia Semifinals at the world juniors.
Rob Gherson is a former NHL draft pick of the Washington Capitals. He played 5 years of professional hockey, winning an AHL championship with the Chicago Wolves in 2008. He represented Ontario in the 2000 World Hockey Championship, winning a silver medal. Since finishing his playing career he has worked with hundreds of goalies from age 5-25. Along with running his own goalie school with former NHLer Chris Beckford-Tseu, he is the goalie coach for the prestigious private school Upper Canada College. He also coaches in the GTHL having coached AAA, AA and A, as well as Sterling Hall School’s under-12 and Under-14 team who has won 2 silver medals and a gold in the 3 years he has coached there.