Niemi putting the puck on the ice after the whistle.
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01-28-2013, 02:19 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: TealTown, USA
Originally Posted by
Niemi is exceptionally socially awkward and dishes the puck away to avoid a potential interaction with the officials.
You probably said that in jest, but it probably isn't too far from the truth.
I've personally gone through stretches like that as a goaltender myself. I don't like referees messing with my equipment. I don't like it when they touch my glove. If they alter the angle of my equipment by even 1 cm, that could be the difference between a save and a goal. And I especially don't want them talking to me when they don't have to when I'm trying to focus on something else.
So yeah, I've gone through stretches where I will drop the puck on the ice and/or skate away from the puck or kick it towards the faceoff circle so I can avoid talking to the refs......unless I had a specific bone I wanted to pick with them, in which case I'd hold on to the puck until I said my piece.
Goaltending can require a hyper-intense level of focus. Opposing players, teammates, coaches, even officials can disrupt that focus even through just innocuous or even friendly comments. If I'm trying to replay the last sequence in my head and gear up for the next one, even just some linesman skating over to say "Nice save" can interrupt my concentration and get inside my head.....especially if I feel the "nice save" was more luck or the result of poor positioning.
Good goalies need to shut out all the extra noise around them, and that includes the officials. Some go to greater lengths than others to shut out the noise, but every goalie has their own methods.
Some goalies hold on to the puck to get the feel for it in their glove. Some goalies will drop it and skate away to completely clear their mind. And other goalies don't care either way, but will have some other quirky behavior or superstition unique to them and their personality.
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