Not sure if its physical makeup. Grant Fuhr set the post expansion record for most games started in a row with 76. That same year he also set the record for most games played in a season with 79. I believe that was 95-96. He was never in great shape. By this time he was plagued with injuries though the latter part of his career. Granted that happend to be the same year that Kypreos took him out in the playoffs. I believe it more has to do with the psycological. Grant was very relaxed during games. Plus he just enjoyed playing the game. I think goalies nowadays are too worried about their stats to relax. Not to mention that some have to fight for their starting jobs.
Lifestyle, work load, goaltending style....pretty much the same things that make one average joe never have an on the job accident or miss a day of work while others do so quite frequently. I am sure that a little bit of each of the catagories you list comes into play.
Yes, but it's interesting as supaman points out. Fuhr wasn't the greatest athlete in terms of being in shape, but he thrived with a heavy workload. Guys like Curtis Joseph, Felix Potvin and Roberto Luongo also thrived and played better with more games played. Brodeur is just a beast. Then you have guys who can play well up to a certain point but then the wheels fall off and they begin to play sloppy. Seems like it must be at least in part a mental thing.
Brodeur has said himself that a lot of it has to do with his style of play. I believe it was in an issue of SI...he said he's been good for so long because his style of play isn't as tough on the legs/knees as a butterfly goalie. I think he's right. Butterfly is really tough on the legs and especially the knees...part of it is conditioning...and part mental toughness. There are plenty of durable butterfly goalies who have had long careers without serious injury as well.
No doubt. Then take a look at a guy like Belfore. Here is a guy who drank like a fish and still smokes like a chimney! Playing well consistantly at the top levels is in large part a mental thing for the goalies part and also a solid understanding between the other players and their goalies.
The other members of the team can make a goalie look great game after game, season after season. Looking at Roy as an example, he had a long and great career but at the same time he also had a team that understood him very well. The Defensive play, for the most part kept the opponents to shooting lanes that favored Roy. Nothing wrong with that...It also helped hide those "off" days that he seemed to have so few of.
Malarchuk, returning to the ice just 4 days after his throat was slashed. HE left the hospital that same evening! 300+ stitches. How long was Zednick in for his "minor" cut? .....you would think Clint would rank as one of the toughest mentally. Obviously, now that we all know his history he was prob one of the most mentally challenged to have played the position. He battled his demons for years prior to his on ice accident.
My bottom line.....I would bet that it all comes down to a LOVE of the game and the Position. If a goalie looks at it as a "job" its just not the same. They need to be able to still remember the dreams of their youth. Even if the body is willing the mind has to be there. I dont think it works as well the other way around. We have seen how many seemingly push the body beyond "normal" limits in game and over time.