Saturday, October 24, 2009

A look at goaltending...

George Malik is one of best bloggers out there (by the way, I find it funny that Blogger thinks that "bloggers" is misspelled, irony makes me laugh). He IS the source for all news Wings related and usually has an intelligent viewpoint on almost any subject.  However, his last few posts on Osgood's play have, well, made me wonder if we were watching the same game.

Regarding last night's Phoenix game, he posted the following about the last goal, under the title "The game-winner wasn't Osgood's fault."
Despite the claims of Ken Daniels and Larry Murphy that Chris Osgood should have stopped Adrian Aucoin's game-winner...Jonathan Ericsson tipped the puck from what would have been Osgood's five-hole to the blocker side, or at least swatted at it to the point that Osgood didn't get set.

And on the game last Saturday when Ozzie gave up a soft wrist shot from outside the circles and another goal between the legs, Malik had this to say.

For all one could say about Osgood's performance tonight, Craig Anderson looked equally shaky on the goals he gave up, and while the first goal Osgood gave up may have been a "squeaker," the Red Wings ensured that the Avalanche would score on essentially the same play every time.

Once again, Ericsson and Lebda negated superb performances by getting caught up in line changes, and the usually-solid Stuart surprisingly followed suit in screening Osgood, and the third goal's three-on-three-turned-three-on-two was simply inexcusable...
Regarding Saturday's game, Osgood was average in net at best.  The goal that went between his legs was stoppable (something we need now) and the wrist shot by Duchene was a must stop.  As a stupid goalie myself, I understand screens happen, but the shot was from far outside enough that there should be no problem finding the puck again and tracking it to the blocker.  Stuart played it perfectly and simply, that shot has to be stopped.  This shot was not much different than the game winner last night.  The shot was again shot from almost the blue line, and, while I agree that there was a mild tip from the Big Rig, Ozzie again reached with his stick rather than following it with his blocker.

Osgood used to have a huge issue with the lower blocker side early in his career, always going for a stick save when the proper move would be to extend to the puck with his blocker.   He was always much more of a reaction goalie than a blocking goalie.  After his banishment to the Island and St. Louis for a few years to work on his game (yes, I'm saying that getting traded to the Islanders and the Blues is sort of like sending someone down to the AHL), Osgood was called back up and has reemerged as a solid butterfly goalie with the ability to react to the puck when necessary.  His fundamentals and experience usually make up for the fact that in today's game, his edge control, size and flexibility are all subpar as compared to other NHL netminders.

In the past few games, however, there has been a few signs of the Yzerman era Osgood.  Now, while we all hate to admit it, he is getting older.  The natural tendency of the body is to turn the leg up and swing the stick at a shot to the blocker side, like the goaltenders pre-90's did.  It does take a significant amount of hip flexibly to stretch out with the blocker square to the shooter (as somewhat shown in this photo with the white jersey).  The next photo shows the old technique that cost him goals the past two games.  He more swings at the puck rather than pushes towards it. 

Now, having said that, Osgood was great in Phoenix for three periods.  Usually that would be enough, but lately, we need him for the entire game on every shot.  I know he can do it.

Jimmy starts tomorrow.  I hope he can get in a regular rotation with about a 2-1 ratio with Osgood. If so I have no doubt he'll be fine.


  1. Nice to see a goalie take from an actual goalie. You might be on to something.

    I'm going to start covering Bantam hockey to see if I can sound smarter.

  2. All this really shows is that not going to the bars because you lost your id somewhere in Ohio can make you type really long boring posts.

  3. I'm wacky crazy and a "stupid goalie" myself.

    When Ozzie turns over his blocker hand to steer the shot wide--and he admitted that he shouldn't have tried to deflect Aucoin's shot into the corner, and should have kept his blocker more square to the shooter instead--opposing teams hone in on it, but I still felt that Ericsson committed a big no-no in swatting at the puck.

    I don't like the fact that Ozzie's using one blocker in practice (a Bauer-only-branded version of his Itech Prodigy with X:60 graphics) and is going back to his NikeBauer blocker, which has more binding, and as picky as he is about his gear, that's not going to help.

  4. I didn't know that George, I know I could never do that.

    I agree that Ericsson shouldn't have swatted at it, but he still was ways away.