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Early NHL Goaltending

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02-06-2013, 04:16 PM
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BM67
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Early NHL Goaltending

I've been going through old game reports and seen lots of stuff that isn't much like modern goaltending, so I thought I'd throw some out there.

References to goals rushing out to break up a play are fairly common. They could either take out the opposing attacker or clear the puck down the ice.

Goaltending seems at times much like modern defensive shot blocking. Reference to a young Jake Forbes being like Benedict when dropping to the ice nearly at the attackers feet sounds much like Beliveau talking about Goldham in the Fifties.

Goalies not being allowed to freeze the puck caused many a goal. If a goalie caught the puck he had to throw it away quickly. Just standing up to find out where the puck was could find it falling out of your equipment into the net.

Several times found reports on Tiny Thompson that sounded a lot like Hasek playing goal. Laying on his stomach and stopping a furry of pucks with his elbows.

Screening the goalies view was illegal, at least in 1931-32, and would result in a goal being disallowed.

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02-06-2013, 04:41 PM
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Killion
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Georges Vezina, the Chicoutimi Cucumber was a total Standup according to reports & quotes Ive read. Extremely adroit with his stick, using it almost exclusively to stop & redirect shots. I've assumed there was a variety of styles in the early years, however, Vezina appears to me at least to have been a seminal figure in the development of how the position was played which to a large extent transcends the various rule changes that occurred through the teen's, twenties & 1930's.

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02-06-2013, 05:24 PM
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Canadiens1958
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True

Quote:
Originally Posted by BM67 View Post
I've been going through old game reports and seen lots of stuff that isn't much like modern goaltending, so I thought I'd throw some out there.

References to goals rushing out to break up a play are fairly common. They could either take out the opposing attacker or clear the puck down the ice.

Goaltending seems at times much like modern defensive shot blocking. Reference to a young Jake Forbes being like Benedict when dropping to the ice nearly at the attackers feet sounds much like Beliveau talking about Goldham in the Fifties.

Goalies not being allowed to freeze the puck caused many a goal. If a goalie caught the puck he had to throw it away quickly. Just standing up to find out where the puck was could find it falling out of your equipment into the net.

Several times found reports on Tiny Thompson that sounded a lot like Hasek playing goal. Laying on his stomach and stopping a furry of pucks with his elbows.

Screening the goalies view was illegal, at least in 1931-32, and would result in a goal being disallowed.
Very accurate observations although a finer point could be added especially with specific dates. Key moment is the start of the forward pass era - 1929-30 season.

Since the forward pass option was not available goalies could attack the lead puck carrier since a back or side pass would be picked-up by trailing defensemen or defensive players.

You mention screening being illegal but deflections or re-directs were not viable either pre forward pass. Both could be viewed as screens and / or a illegal forward pass.

Constantly freezing the puck is a recent phenomena. Maybe last generation. Previously teams did not want defensive zone faceoffs since these facilitate SOGs for the opposition and your team was flat footed, starting from a standstill making it more difficult to exit the defensive zone. The basic idea was to play the puck to a defenseman in position for a transition pass out of the zone starting an odd man rush.

The Hasek/Thompson analogy is backwards. Hasek stood-out because he played like an O6 or pre 1980s goalie EXCEPT Hasek did not have the full range of skills that the old goalies had. He was poor at handling, directing and moving the puck, poor at communicating with his defensive skaters.

A few weeks ago you posted seminal/work in progress data about the 1930-31 NHL goalies. The SV% data was striking. Even pedestrian goalies were generating SV% numbers that project at or beyond Hasek's prime. Project these numbers balancing against GA and estimated SOGs at the 25-35 per game levels for the consolidation to Red Line era and the elite goalies during their primes easily matched or surpassed Hasek's prime. Allow the o6'70 game season goalies the luxury of a tandem that spared them 3 games in 4 hights or 4 games in 5 nights at times against opponents that had 3-6 days off and you would of had much higher SV% - see Jacques Plante's late career number with Toronto or St. Louis.

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02-06-2013, 05:40 PM
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This is going to make for a fascinating discussion

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02-06-2013, 06:07 PM
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Killion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Since the forward pass option was not available goalies could attack the lead puck carrier since a back or side pass would be picked-up by trailing defensemen or defensive players.

Constantly freezing the puck is a recent phenomena. Maybe last generation. Previously teams did not want defensive zone faceoffs since these facilitate SOGs for the opposition and your team was flat footed, starting from a standstill making it more difficult to exit the defensive zone. The basic idea was to play the puck to a defenseman in position for a transition pass out of the zone starting an odd man rush.
Yes, and by attack, thats precisely what they did. Skated out & met the guy head on, parking yourself in his shirt pocket before he even had a chance to shoot the puck. An aggressive nature in that regard mandatory, skating & stickhandling skill's of paramount importance, including being able to wield the wide part of the paddle from the heel to where the regular shaft meets it with the expertise of a Jai Alai player using a Xistera.

Back in the day, freezing the puck was indeed much frowned upon, to the point of in some circles being considered gutless. The Cowards way out. Cant take the pressure so you smother the puck huh?. Ref's were slow to blow the whistle unless bodies were littering the ice surface in the prone position, someone's ear dangling by a length of sinew perhaps, but no, you did not fall on or smother the puck because faceoffs in your own zone were & still are potentially very deadly indeed. Some centres more than capable of wringing a shot right at you just before the puck hits the ice from the refs hand or is so strong on the draw that BANG a back pass for a one-timer from a Winger or Defenceman through a maze of bodies.

Always keep the puck in play, as the oppositions in deep & as a Goalie, your responsibility to headman the puck up to your forwards for either a free & clear breakaway or odd man rush. Your guys are moving already, whereas from a standstill, what would often happen is the opposition just crashes your net, everyone falling all over one another, and another idiotic faceoff. Sometimes 3, 4 in a row. Ridiculous. Who needs that? Not smart hockey.

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02-06-2013, 06:16 PM
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Canadiens1958
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Soccer Goalies

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Yes, and by attack, thats precisely what they did. Skated out & met the guy head on, parking yourself in his shirt pocket before he even had a chance to shoot the puck. An aggressive nature in that regard mandatory, skating & stickhandling skill's of paramount importance, including being able to wield the wide part of the paddle from the heel to where the regular shaft meets it with the expertise of a Jai Alai player using a Xistera.

Back in the day, freezing the puck was indeed much frowned upon, to the point of in some circles being considered gutless. The Cowards way out. Cant take the pressure so you smother the puck huh?. Ref's were slow to blow the whistle unless bodies were littering the ice surface in the prone position, someone's ear dangling by a length of sinew perhaps, but no, you did not fall on or smother the puck because faceoffs in your own zone were & still are potentially very deadly indeed. Some centres more than capable of wringing a shot right at you just before the puck hits the ice from the refs hand or is so strong on the draw that BANG a back pass for a one-timer from a Winger or Defenceman through a maze of bodies.

Always keep the puck in play, as the oppositions in deep & as a Goalie, your responsibility to headman the puck up to your forwards for either a free & clear breakaway or odd man rush. Your guys are moving already, whereas from a standstill, what would often happen is the opposition just crashes your net, everyone falling all over one another, and another idiotic faceoff. Sometimes 3, 4 in a row. Ridiculous. Who needs that? Not smart hockey.
Like soccer goalies. Eliminating shooting options and the various angles and arcs available in three dimensional space.

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02-07-2013, 12:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Like soccer goalies. Eliminating shooting options and the various angles and arcs available in three dimensional space.
Well, I'm thinking pre-forward pass here, so rather than a soccer comparison, sort of a hybrid soccer/rugby (or Rugger) type analogy might be a little closer to the reality of playing goal in those early years of the games development. As you couldnt drop to the ice to actually make the save, youd want to interfere with the shooter with your stick & body as much as possible, sweep & poke checks, actually checking the forward or rover yourself. Quickness on your blades & with your stick critical.

Like in rugby when your defending and you have a line coming at you, you wanna either bowl over & tackle the ball carrier and rip it out of his hands, or, dart in between the lines & grab the ball mid-air while its being passed back, then run like Hell towards the oppositions goal posts & hope your team mates have the good sense to follow. As the goalie on ice, youd play it the same way, only you wouldnt pass it forward, youd pass it back to a waiting winger or defenceman to carry up ice. Ergo; youd be more active as almost a 3rd defenceman than as a pure goaltender as we know it today, as its been since Vezinas' era really.

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02-07-2013, 08:17 AM
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Penalty Shot/Kick etc

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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Well, I'm thinking pre-forward pass here, so rather than a soccer comparison, sort of a hybrid soccer/rugby (or Rugger) type analogy might be a little closer to the reality of playing goal in those early years of the games development. As you couldnt drop to the ice to actually make the save, youd want to interfere with the shooter with your stick & body as much as possible, sweep & poke checks, actually checking the forward or rover yourself. Quickness on your blades & with your stick critical.

Like in rugby when your defending and you have a line coming at you, you wanna either bowl over & tackle the ball carrier and rip it out of his hands, or, dart in between the lines & grab the ball mid-air while its being passed back, then run like Hell towards the oppositions goal posts & hope your team mates have the good sense to follow. As the goalie on ice, youd play it the same way, only you wouldnt pass it forward, youd pass it back to a waiting winger or defenceman to carry up ice. Ergo; youd be more active as almost a 3rd defenceman than as a pure goaltender as we know it today, as its been since Vezinas' era really.
In all three sports - hockey, soccer or rugby, the advantages of defensive movement or attack to the puck/ball are neutralized by restrictions on movement during penalty shots / kicks.

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02-07-2013, 11:48 PM
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And goalies werent allowed to drop to there knees

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