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Evolution of goalie styles.


LordStanley1893
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I was thinking about this the other day with most of the goaltenders play butterfly with a few standup and hybrid sprinkled here and there. I think goalie will eventually change to a more hybrid style the shooters are so good up high now that butterfly goaltenders are more vulnerable. In the old days you had a more noticeable evolution. (had a lot to do with equipment though) I think the changes will be more subtle but you never know.

Any thoughts?

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I think the changes will be far more subtle now, but the evolution of goaltending is one of the most fascinating things in sports history, in my opinon. Hockey as a whole has changed so much, equipment wise, over the years, but nowhere quite as noticeable as in the goalie gear. The gear has become so much more effective, protection wise, that goalies are able to make saves they never would have been able to in the past without seriously injuring themselves. Butterfly influence is absolutely necessary to being an effective goaltender these days, but was non-existant earlier in the sport. When a guy cuts across the front of the net with the Pavel Bure move, or hands like Alexander Ovechkin, how are you possibly going to stop them standing up? Going side to side in the butterfly position is necessary (and you're right about Hybrid being the way of the future). The days of a stand up kick save on a wrister from 20 feet are gone though - probably because of the evolution/addition of the chest armor. Goalies used to keep their legs in front of the shot; now they often want to swallow the shot with their whole body, which is generally more effective. I'm often angered because my personal opinion is that guys like Alexander Ovechkin and Peter Forsberg are better hockey players than Wayne Gretzky, but playing in an era where goaltending is (in my opinion) infinitely better than it was through 65% of Gretzky's career and thus will never touch his records nor look as good as him on paper (keep in mind, I'm a big advocate of two way players here too, so that plays a role in things). Anyhow - I attribute much of the change over to great butterfly goaltending and the need for goalies to be more agile and the like to Tretiak. I'm glad goaltending has changed though; as much as seeing more goals if fun, the improvements in goaltending and goalie gear have forced the players to improve and thus the goals we see are far more exciting than we ever would have in the past. The stick handling and ability to change direction so quickly alone is a tremendous improvement in the offensive excitement of the game. Guys like Max Afinogenov would have dominated 30 years ago (but never would have existed because the goaltending of that time didn't press the skaters to be as offensively talented).

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In response to your post Mach, I actually agree with you to an extent. That's why I really think there will never be any individual performances the way they used to be with players scoring 70 and 80 goals and having close to or abover 200 points. It's unfortunate too because that was the pinnacle of the NHL when teams like Edmonton and Pittsburgh and Montreal were scoring upwards of 350+ goals a year and had players with staggering numbers.

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In response to your post Mach, I actually agree with you to an extent. That's why I really think there will never be any individual performances the way they used to be with players scoring 70 and 80 goals and having close to or abover 200 points. It's unfortunate too because that was the pinnacle of the NHL when teams like Edmonton and Pittsburgh and Montreal were scoring upwards of 350+ goals a year and had players with staggering numbers.

Fully agree, Brilliant. It's absolutely true, however the problem lies with the casual hockey fans here. That brand of hockey, with less hitting, far less evolved gear, and far less challenging goaltenders saw a lot more scoring and was more exciting for the casual fan. Guys with 80 goals and 200 points were guaranteed to fill the seats to some extent. As hockey evolved however, the casual fans didn't keep up with it. People who aren't involved and interested in hockey everyday are unaware of the actual evolution of the game - all they see is a low scoring, back and forth game with more complicated rules than Football or Baseball and less accessable, media fawned over players. In truth, the lower scoring (not necessarily LOW, just lower than the 60's, 70's, 80's) is just as, if not more exciting, and the players are such better athletes than they used to be that it's been worth the decrease in goals. A guy (even as good as the "Great One") used to come in, cut a light edge and coast across the crease, firing a low shot past a standing goaltender who sidesteps and kicks at it. Now we see guys driving full speed, with a defender draped over them, carrying the puck with one hand, stop, completely change direction, shrug off the defender, get their top hand on back on the stick, drop their shoulder, sell a fake on the backhand, change direction once more - about 7 inches from the top of the crease, pull the puck to the forehand and slide it in the net with a goalie, superior to those of old, sliding completely out of position, or otherwise diving backwards to make a mind blowing save. It's far more exciting to see that transpire with the puck sliding wide, getting knocked away and ringing off the post without a single point being put up on the board than to watch a guy skate, slower and with less stickhandling skills, the entire length of the ice, untouched, and shoot the puck past a standing goaltender.

Now the question is can I write a longer sentence than some of the ones in there?

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Great Posts by both of you. I agree with both of. I wish I had a time machine to see the old time high scoring games.

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