Hockey’s Evolution – Goalies and the Butterfly Style



Do you find the current butterfly goalie style leaves behind some of the basic tenets of goaltending?

I sure do.

Marc-Andre Fleury Penguins
(Cliff Welch/Icon SMI)

I remember when the goalie stick was actually used to make saves by simply keeping it on the ice in front of a goalie’s pads.

The stand up goalie did not commit to dropping to the ice at the mere sight of an opponent loading up a shot.

The butterfly style is committed to the lower part of the net as we routinely see goalies hit the ice when there are scrambles in front of the goal area.

I have no problem with that. It’s a good way to force a shooter, under pressure to try to lift the puck into the top part of the net. That’s a challenge when being pressured.

I will give two examples where the butterfly style has failed the Maple Leaf goalies in recent games.

First, we rewind to the third period of the recent Ottawa/Toronto game at the ACC, where Kyle Turris snapped a shot over the shoulder of James Reimer and it winds up going into the top corner of the net for the game-winning tally in the Sends 3-2 win.

In breaking down this play it should be stressed that there was no one between Turris and his view of Reimer and the net. Second, Turris was down at the low end of the attacking face-off circle with a bad angle, though.

Reimer needed to come forward and cut down the angle, to eliminate any chance of a shot beating him from such a sharp angle.

Instead, he did what many butterfly-believers do. He dropped to the ice, deep in his crease and the puck sailed into the net.

In the next game, Jonas Gustavsson was less than three minutes from his third shutout in three weeks, as the Leafs were nursing a 4-0 lead. Wild forward Nick Johnson ruined the potential whitewash effort with another shot that had no business entering the Leafs’ net.

He was down low in the corner of the Leaf end and released a harmless-looking salvo.

Oddly Gustavsson, who was again unimpeded from the oncoming shot, helped this unfavorable outcome. For some reason he was down on one knee and had his other pad flat on the ice. The puck squirted between his legs and trickled into the net.

If he merely stood up and hugged his post, there was no way and no opening for any kind of shot.

Both Leaf goalies ignored the fact that they are big men, over six feet tall and can cover the greater portion of their nets by staying upright.

These are merely two of the new types of goals that we are seeing more frequently, just because of the prevailing interest in committing to the butterfly style.

My thought on this is that there is a time and place for it.

If goalies have an unobstructed view of the shot and/or the shooter —STAND UP and be aware of your angles!

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