Discussing the need for goalie coaches in the post-lockout years

goaliecoaches.jpgAs much as the sport (and the position) has evolved – just look at the way the equipment went from skimpy pads to netminders resembling “The Michelin Man” – some things never change. Even if their relative value within an NHL franchise and on the free agent market may ebb and flow, goalie performances still make or break just about every NHL team.

So it makes sense, then, to hire a bright and skillful goalie coach to get inside their often murky heads. NHL.com had a nice story about the rise of goalie coaches from just a few only a decade or two ago to an every team standard now. While the story emphasizes the importance of learning the intricacies of a position that is now much more challenging and technical thanks to the increased speed of the game, a good relationship between a goalie and his coach ultimately comes down to human factors like trust.

Goalie coaches have drawn comparison to quarterback coaches in football because they handle a small, specialized group of players — in the NHL, that’s usually just the two goaltenders carried by most teams. With such a close relationship, success boils down to a matter of trust between player and coach.

“There has to be trust,” Dunham said. “Trust in the goalie to trust his goalie coach. The goalie coach has to understand what the goalie is going through during the ups and the downs of a season. The goalie has to feel that the goalie coach understands where he is coming from and what he is trying to do.”

Francois Allaire, regarded as one of the best goalie coaches in the world, couldn’t agree more about the importance of trust in the goalie-coach relationship.

“Trust is important, just like in every relationship,” he told NHL.com. “The goalie has to trust the system you bring in practice and he has to trust it’s going to work in the game.”

(It’s great to see random goalie names from the 90s like Dunham’s pop up out of nowhere, isn’t it?)

The funny thing is that I was waiting through the first few paragraphs of this story thinking “Why hasn’t Francois Allaire been mentioned?” He seemed to have the Midas Touch with goalies as the guy for the Anaheim Ducks, churning out winners like J.S. Giguere, Ilya Bryzgalov and most recently Jonas Hiller.

That being said, Allaire could be the source of a “chicken or the egg” argument if the goalies on the Toronto Maple Leafs struggle this season. After all, Allaire spent his time in an organization that employed the likes of Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger. Some might say that a goalie’s best friend is his coach, but I’d say that an even better ally comes in the form of a huge, gap-toothed defenseman who will make the opposition pay.

Nonetheless, sports require a much more academic approach than ever before, so it’s great to know that every NHL team invests in a goalie coach. Perhaps we’ll find more sophisticated ways of measuring their aptitude beyond wins and save percentages some day, too.

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    No hearing scheduled for Burmistrov after Bergeron headshot

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    Winnipeg forward Alex Burmistrov isn’t in line for a disciplinary hearing for his elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron on Thursday night, an NHL spokesman confirmed to PHT.

    Burmistrov was tagged with an illegal check to the head minor late in the first period. Bergeron received a minor roughing penalty for retaliating on the Russian forward, but was able to finish the contest.

    Afterward, B’s head coach Claude Julien expressed frustration with the hit.

    “It will be interesting how that is being reviewed, and especially to an elite player in the league who’€™s had some [concussion] issues in the past,” Julien said, per WEEI. “I hope they look at it seriously. In my mind, I don’€™t see why there wouldn’t be further consequences [for] that.”

    Bergeron said that, while it was “definitely a hit to the head,” Burmistrov did come up to him afterward and apologized.

    According to sources of CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty, Burmistrov received a warning from the Department of Player Safety.


    After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

    Claude Julien

    The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

    Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

    Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
    Joe MorrowKevan Miller
    Matt IrwinZach Trotman

    And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

    That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

    “I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

    But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

    “It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

    And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

    Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

    All in all, it was a tough night.

    “We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

    The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.