Kukla's Korner

23 Intently Staring Goalies

Goalie Fight!

There's one area where the advent of improved and lighter goalie equipment made a radical change in goalie behavior that just never seems to be discussed by the tv/radio announcers, and that's fighting. Way back when (and we're talking about when bench clearing brawls weren't punishable by multi-game suspensions) goalies would skate out to the center of the ice, make a game attempt at grappling, and then fall down, hopefully far enough away from the action to keep from getting involved.  The old leather pads with the horsehair and who- knows-what stuffing were heavy--especially after they got wet.

Yes, there were goalies known for taking shots at opposing players, and by the end of the 70's, goalies who would take a much more active part in scrums.  When the synthetic padding and lightweight designs started to show up in force,  goalies started holding their own in the fights.

Yay technology! Um, "Better Living With Chemistry"? Hmmmm…...

Goalie fights still have the ability to attract attention, even in a league with a reputation for fighting, like the WHL.  Looks like the Seattle Thunderbirds and Everett Silvertips just can't get along:



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About 23 Intently Staring Goalies

23 Intently Staring Goalies comes from the 23 close-up photos of goalies that used to line the walls of my office.

On the good side, it kept down interruptions, but it also made sure I had to leave my trash outside my door if I wanted it picked up.

I've been watching and analyzing goaltenders for going on 40 years. Some of that was spent drawing goalies on my grade 8 math homework. Then it was taking my card decks and printouts to Indianapolis Racer games. Luckily, the Internet took off, and by 1991 I was half of the duo that would ultimately become the Plaidworks hockey mailing lists. I wrote "Handicapping the Goalies' for the San Jose Sharks mailing list, and took a lot of photos of goalies in action. I have around 5000 slides of mostly goaltenders in action from 1989 through 2001 from the WHL, IHL and NHL. Since I've gone digital, I've added about 10,000 more images to the library. During summers and when the league went dark, I was reading through multiple SF By area news papers, tracking ice hockey from the 1917 recreational leagues up through the California Seals.

We'll be talking about goalies and goaltending. We'll talk about whats going on now, who's in the system, and when the doldrums hit, I'll haul something out of the big bag of history, or something from the photo archives. We'll talk about who's hot and why, and who's not and what they can do to get back on track. We'll take a look at the trends in scouting goalies, and why a style may work for one team but not another. I'll battle with my dictation software to get it to understand Bryzgalov and Bobrovsky.

It should be interesting--hope you want to come along for the ride!