More of a nuts-and-bolts technical post today. I’ll happily admit I totally stole the inspiration from this from Canucks goalie coach Ian Clark. I was able to watch him earlier this season working with young goalies Thatcher Demko and Jacob Markstrom before a morning skate. It was a super simple drill for a skill that doesn’t get much attention.
I don’t have video from that day, but we reproduced it at one of my small group sessions last week.
Off camera, I start at the outside hash mark next to the faceoff dot and skate down to the bottom of the circle to shoot. The goalie follows me down and stays square to me as I get to the “dead angle” to shoot. The thing I wanted to get my goalies comfortable with was having a bit of overlap as they retreat when the threat of a shot is present.
A Time and A Place for Everything
There’s definitely some “reading the situation” involved in deciding to play a shot this way. Too many goalies go to the post by default anytime the puck gets towards the bottom of the circle. If a shot comes, the BEST case scenario is they end up making a save with the side of their body (ouch!), or worst case, they let in a pretty soft goal, which can be super deflating for them and for their team.Embed from Getty Images
Let’s talk about when you would NOT want to use an overlap. The downside of the overlap is that you place part of your body outside of the frame of the net. By doing this, you increase the distance to get across the crease to follow a pass. In other words, this is not the strategy you want to take when the player has a back door option to pass to, or on an odd man rush with a trailer waiting up high for a pass.
This is meant for situations where a player is forced to take a shot from a bad spot. These situations develop quickly, so it’s very important to work on the ability to get in and out of the overlap position quickly.
Used properly, this strategy can help reduce the number of bad goals we let in over the course of the season. Although not many drills in practice allow you to work on this strategy, consider mixing it into your pre or post practice skating to get comfortable with it. When this situation comes up in a game, it will feel natural to step out and make the save.