Saturday, September 26, 2009

Goalie Lesson #1: Dealing with a screen

I was thinking last night, I've learned an awful lot in my 9 months as a goalie. I know several of my readers are goalies or goalie freaks, so I thought I'd do a series of goalie and hockey lessons so you, too, can benefit from my learnings.

The first lesson is on how to deal with someone screening you in goal.

There are two kinds of screens: Friendly and Enemy.

Friendly Screens
Sometimes your own defenseman (or even forward if things are really crazy) can screen you. This is annoying, but you know they mean well, so don't treat them like an enemy screen.

Just start yelling "SCREEEEEEN!!! SCREEEEEEEN!!!" at their backs while they stay exactly where they are until the play moves or you get scored on.*

Enemy Screens
These are a whole other animal and when the opponent is screening you, it's your chance as an insane goalie to get your crazy on. The key to dealing with this kind of screen is to make the motherf**ker pay a price for invading your space.

Be forewarned though: Skaters don't understand that in your puck-dented brain, your "bubble of authority" extends a foot or two out of the blue paint.

So they're thinking, "Hey, I'm not in the paint! Why are you hitting me?"

And you're thinking, "GETTHEF**KOUTTAMYWAY!"... but the reason you're thinking that is because your keen goalie mind has instantly sorted out the geometry of the situation, and you know instinctively that the puck is far enough away that being in the paint puts you too deep to cut down the angle properly.

Along with that knowledge is the feeling in the pit of your belly that this is a threatening situation, and when a human is threatened, they have a fight or flight response. I'm gonna wager most people who play hockey will go for the fight response pretty much every time, and that means -- Punkass is about to get a beating.

Timmmaaaaay is having none of Dandenault's screen.
Look where he is in relation to his crease.
That's right, motherf**ker. That's our space, too.

Now, my first time dealing with a screen, I gave the guy a little shove in the back with my glove, but it was clear he was growing roots and every nanosecond that ticked by, my fight response was getting more Nuclear.

And so, without even thinking, I put my goalie stick between his legs and gave the twig and berries a tap. Just enough to make him feel as threatened as I felt; not a full blown nutting spree. Now, before I go on and tell you how immensely effective this is, especially if the ref doesn't see it, I will tell you that you will get in trouble from the guys on your team (and on the other team... and your goalie coach... and pretty much everyone) for doing this.

Guys are really fond of their junk. Like, insanely fond. So while this Nuclear approach to dealing with a screen works... oh man, does it work..., as with most nuclear tactics, there are consequences that probably just aren't worth the hassle.

A slightly less nuclear but still very satisfying approach is just to start shoving them in the back as hard as you can. Glove, blocker, stick, whatever you've got. Beat them like they're trying to rob you because that IS what they're trying to do.

You'll still get shit for this. They'll whine that they weren't in the paint and therefore they're allowed to be there, but don't back down. Just because the rules of hockey allow them to be there doesn't mean you have to roll out the red carpet and give them a shoulder massage while they're there.

Of course, the trick here is to also:
  • Maintain visual contact with the puck
  • Stay square to the puck
  • Keep your stick on the ice
  • Pay attention to where Punkass's teammates are
  • Stay low, mobile, and ready to react if the puck is shot
So, that's an awful lot to do but it is, of course, the primary job. Moonlighting as an attack goalie can't interfere with your responsibility to the puck. But frankly, if one does get past you, at least you got to hit someone a whole bunch. Win!!**

*This doesn't apply to me, of course, because my defensemen are friggin' awesome and I'm almost never screened by them. Seriously. They rock so hard and save my bacon so often...

**For the sense of humor-challenged, I'm kidding of course. The real, sane-person way to deal with an enemy screen is to poke them in the back of the knees with your stick blade until they buckle***.

***Okay, still kidding. You should actually just jab your stick blade at the back of their skates, because this ensures your stick stays on the ice****.

****Look, if you want real goaltending advice, just ask Coach Jules. "Be a man, motherf**ker!"


Sunshine36616  September 26, 2009 at 8:55 AM  

What an awesome post!!!! I am a big fan of the "nut meg." Nothing wrong with a little nutmeg, especially if you don't get caught.

The Samuel L Jackson video is hysterical!!! Be a bad m-fer!

"Dave Schultz"  September 26, 2009 at 11:20 AM  

words cannot express how much I love this post.
"Guys are really fond of their junk" = understatement of the year.

David Hutchison  September 26, 2009 at 2:09 PM  

Brilliantly irreverent. Loved every word of it.

Fred Trask  September 26, 2009 at 2:27 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fred Trask  September 26, 2009 at 2:45 PM  

Fixed typo .. sheesh

Women have been known to be pretty fond of my junk too! On mans trash is another ... um person's treasure.

Ms. Conduct  September 26, 2009 at 3:21 PM  

You sure that's better, Fred?

Thanks for the nice comments, you guys.

Fred Trask  September 26, 2009 at 3:54 PM  

Well it's better that saying something about fondling the junk isn't it?

Ms. Conduct  September 26, 2009 at 3:58 PM  

Yeah, probably. :) Frazzled today! :\

Ghostrider aka NETminder1  September 26, 2009 at 7:47 PM  

ms.C, i love what you've done with your blog! i haven't visited since last hockey season! but now i'm back at last! great post on goalie lessons!

Ms. Conduct  September 26, 2009 at 7:52 PM  

That's awesome Nicky. Yep. You can see that shit in their eyes. The only bad thing is when you're playing so bad that they already know what their gift is. They don't even look excited. Ugh.

Net/Ghost/whatever (pick a name)... DON'T EVER LEAVE ME LIKE THAT AGAIN!!!!! I'VE BEEN A MESS!!!! ;)

Aubrey  September 26, 2009 at 8:28 PM  

"Just start yelling "SCREEEEEEN!!! SCREEEEEEEN!!!" at their backs while they stay exactly where they are"

Serious lol-ing! I can't wait to see what Lesson #2 is!

maalivahti  June 5, 2010 at 2:23 PM  

Absolutely awesome. So true about the 1-2 feet OUTSIDE the paint. And the Coach Jules vid is one of my absolute favorites. My problem is my puny little goaliebrain can't do this AND focus on the puck, punkass's teammates, etc. I have found that the edge of the blocker to the kidneys works well though. ;)

Anonymous  December 7, 2011 at 2:53 PM  

If any player hits my junk for any reason, accidental or on purpose, goalie included, I am going to turn around and sock him square in the nose. I don't care how big his teammates are that is something you DO NOT DO on the ice.

Disgustingly dirty player.

Ms. Conduct  December 7, 2011 at 4:21 PM  

Consider us all duly warned, Johnny Drama.

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