Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Every Hockey Site Needs A Goalie Expert

And we have ours.  Let me introduce you to Laurie, who knows all when it comes to goaltending.

Don’t believe, me, read on…


It’s 42C in the Mojave Desert, and I’m thinking about goaltending in the NHL,  possibly a bit in the AHL, and what’s going on the NCAA. No, this isn’t a diversionary tactic to keep my brain fron frying in the heat.

There’s been a lot of “change partners and dance” going on in the goalie ranks. Bryzgalov headed east, Varlamov headed west, Theodore headed south, Vokun headed north, and Osgood just headed on. The pundits didn’t even let the goodbye cake get stale before they declared Osgood not fit for the Hockey Hall of Fame. Good thing these aren’t the same people who vote. But Skippy’s ultimate Hall of Fame fate, and where that Skippy moniker came from, is another column….


Ah, I see we have a question in the back. Do I mind giving a little background? Not at all! I’ve been following the NHL, and goaltending in particular, since Glenn Hall was using the bucket next to the bench at the old Chicago Stadium. I drew goalies on my class notes, DX’d hockey broadcasts from Montreal to Denver, and read everything I could about NHL and WHA goalies.

Fast forward 20 years, and I’m co-admin at a little site called plaidworks.com. At one point, we were running over 20 hockey related mailing lists out of an extra bedroom. I wrote a piece called “Handicapping the Goalies” for a good part of the during the 90’s and 00’s. And then there was that little diversion into the IHL to run a website and take a lot of goalie photos.

That’s a long time to be studying goaltending and goalies.

Okay, so that’s the goaltending Curriculum Vitae.  What are we going to talk about here?

Let’s start with the goalie outlook for the 2011-2012 season. There’s been a lot of movement, and there’s going to be more before the season kicks in for real. We’re seeing the end of the “I want to be Patrick Roy when I grow up”  Allaire Butterfly era, and we’re smack in the middle of Finnish “get it done by sheer athleticism” era. So, what’s next? Do we get ten more years of 6ft plus and 10% bodyfat, or does some waterbug pop out of the firmament and stone all the hot scorers? How about the goalie coaches—are we seeing a trend in styles and training? And what’s new and interesting in tweaking the gear—and who’s going to be on Kay Whitmore’s “vist often” list?

Are the Sharks really confident that their two Finns can do the deed this season? And if so, why did they sign Greiss?  Is Mike Smith the answer to the question the Coyotes are asking?  Are the Leafs goalies going to be really big targets? And if they’re happy with Corey Crawford, why would the Blackhawks invite Ray Emery to camp? These will all get played out early enough to provide a second round of moves and shuffles before the NHL season settles in.

We’ll take a side trip into how much a good goalie means to a team. USA Today just published the annual “Goalies don’t get paid as much as other players on the team” piece. How much of this is statistics at work, how much of this is a changing of the guard, and how much is actual valuation by the team? An okay will get you into the playoffs, but in a short series, if your goalie isn’t hot, you’re going home. So, how much is a goalie worth to their team, and are the various front offices deciding to develop or trade for their goaltending?

As the season heats up, it will be time to take a good look at the trends, how the new kids are doing, whether there’s going to be a lot of movement, and if anyone stayed one season beyond their shelf date.

Development camp may be over, but training camp opens up in just over a month, and the 2011-2012 season follows closely behind. But it’s always a great time to talk about goaltending!


Filed in: NHL Teams, Laurie Sefton, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Ian!'s avatar

Hey Paul-

Loving all the new bloggers around here. Any chance when they all get linked that we could get a list organized by team/specialty like over at SB Nation? That would help a lot, as some of the blog titles are a bit of a puzzle smile. Thanks! Love the site.

Posted by Ian! from Baltimore, MD on 08/01/11 at 08:35 PM ET

Paul's avatar

We will have a team dropdown Ian, along with a blogger dropdown, so if you don’t know the blogger, pick the team and vice versa.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 08/01/11 at 08:37 PM ET

Ian!'s avatar

Awesome. Thanks for the reply, and welcome to Laurie.

Posted by Ian! from Baltimore, MD on 08/01/11 at 08:39 PM ET

Chris from NOHS's avatar

Honest question and I don’t need to sound rude, just wondering what type of analysis will you be bringing? i.e.  how much do you actually know about the technical aspects of goaltending (something I do know) vs. simply knowing the history (something I know very little about)? 

I’m certainly not saying you you can’t run a great blog about goaltending or anything else, just wondering what type of blog this is going to be. 

Welcome to the clan either way!

Posted by Chris from NOHS from Denver CO on 08/01/11 at 08:52 PM ET


Hi Chris,

Good question! 

Yes, I have strapped them on and played, mostly back in the 70’s and 80’s. 

After 3 concussions, 5 left shoulder dislocations, 3 right shoulder dislocationsI, I finally blew up my knees in 1993, and pretty much had to give up the game after that.

I’ve studied the physiokinetics of the various styles in use, and what works and what doesn’t, especially across varying body types. I’ve also studied the evolution of the equipment, and “modifications” (whoever did some of Patrick Roy’s more interesting modifications should get an honorary engineering degree!).

So, yes, there’s going to be lots of discussion of talent, style and technical aspects of goaltending!


Posted by lsefton on 08/01/11 at 09:13 PM ET


Yes, I have strapped them on and played, mostly back in the 70’s and 80’s.

After 3 concussions,

Boy, takes a lot of stones to stand in front of a puck in a catcher’s chestpiece and a Jason mask.

Look forward to the insight.

Posted by steviesteve on 08/01/11 at 09:25 PM ET


Welcome about, judging from the intro. I’m going to enjoy your work.

Posted by Steve on 08/01/11 at 09:48 PM ET


Not just about but aboard too!

Posted by Steve on 08/01/11 at 09:48 PM ET

Doug Miller's avatar

Excellent addition Paul - and a very warm welcome from myself to you, Laurie. It’s nice to have someone else around here who knows a thing or two (or three) about Goaltending.

This is hands down my favorite new addition to the growing list of blogs we’ll have here at KK this upcoming season. Aside from myself of course, as I’m still quite honored to be a part of the amazing team here.

I’m very excited to have a veteran goalie expert here! As a former puck-stopper myself—former due to a herniated disc in my lumbar spine that happened a few years ago. I do still play, but it’s been limited to video game goaltending due to my back injury.

I’m really looking forward to reading your veteran insight, considering you’ve been in between the pipes longer than I’ve been alive, so I’m sure I will learn more than a few things.

Last week I wrote a pretty extensive post called “Let’s Talk Goalies” - and I’d love to get your feedback on it when you get the free time.

Again, welcome to the team… and cheers to my favorite position in the game of hockey!

Posted by Doug Miller from Wyandotte, MI on 08/01/11 at 10:09 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

Welcome to Kuklas Korner Laurie.

The pundits didn’t even let the goodbye cake get stale before they declared Osgood not fit for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Hopefully as the new resident goalie expert here at Kukla’s,you will be able to explain to me how anyone could make ANY case against Ozzie not getting into the Hall. When Ozzie’s numbers are Better than: Cheevers, Giacomin, and Smith, and they all are in the Hall. As a boy from the Midwest, It’s quite obvious that if Ozzie had played his whole career in NYC, the same snobs who now say he isn’t worthy, would be writing glowing articles about what a great goalie Ozzie was, and making his case for the HOF. Plain and simple if Cheevers, Smith and Giacomin are in the Hall, then ozzie is a lock.

Posted by Down River Dan on 08/01/11 at 10:51 PM ET


Someone to blog about goalies? About friggin time. I’ve played the position many years: injuries , height , my geekiness and love for the things you guys use to post and read these blogs ( coz you know I had all the talent in the world , dontcha know) prevented me to turn pro. I was thinking about running my own blog but time does not permit however I will follow this one and I might add a few comments here and there .. if you don’t mind. Looking forward to your writings, Laurie.
Sharks pose a great deal of confidence in the Niemi/Nitty fest but in truth they are a bit skittish when it comes to the two finns. Niemi’s technical holes have been in full display in the playoffs, coupled with his rough start and failure to deliver when needed most probably put some doubts into the org. Greiss is their insurance policy of sorts, as well as a bit of payoff for the way they treated him last year/ The fact is, with the unknowns of Stalock’s recovery, they do need someone to be ready to take over the Woostah reins if need be, as well as backup duties with the big club if Nitty follows his yearly injury tradition. They ( Sharks) will probably finally bring Sateri stateside, since his development with Tappara went to a grinding halt when he lost his former mentor and goalie coach, however he is not to be relied on heavily in his first year, and Greiss is above all the other goalies in the system. Some say ( not me) Stalock is going to shine brighter but his height and now his injury might have a thing or two to say about that.
Anyway .. again .. looking forward to this blog of yours about goalies ... rock on!

Posted by pimpzilla on 08/01/11 at 10:57 PM ET

petshark's avatar

Welcome! Sounds like your blog is going to be a must-read for this non-skating hockey fan.

And Mojave desert, you say?  Interesting. my grandmother grew up in the town of the same name.

Posted by petshark from Nor Cal, and on Twitter @petshark47 on 08/01/11 at 11:10 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Welcome.  This looks to be a very interesting topic to say the least.

Posted by Primis on 08/01/11 at 11:52 PM ET

moocat's avatar

A goalie blog! Yes! About time…

Welcome to KK. I can’t wait to see some discussion about the tenders and especially the equipment as that is a fascination of mine to along with breaking down the stylistic differences.

You mentioned new equipment and tweaking. I think one of the biggest things this year in equipment is that Warrior signed Pete Smith to design their pads moving forward. This positions them to bring instant credibility and innovation to their lineup.

This beer league goalie looks forward to reading your take on the position this year.

Posted by moocat on 08/01/11 at 11:59 PM ET

CaliforniaPuck31's avatar

Glad to not be the only “goalie guy” in here.  Welcome!

Posted by CaliforniaPuck31 from San Luis Obispo, CA on 08/02/11 at 12:38 AM ET

shazam88's avatar

Very, very cool. Welcome aboard!

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 08/02/11 at 12:22 PM ET


Can’t wait for the Steve Mason mystery to be solved by Laurie.

Posted by VandyBuck on 08/02/11 at 01:40 PM ET

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com


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