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No Rebounds: Steve McKichan's Goaltending Tips

Monday, 10.01.2005 / 11:50 AM / Features
Toronto Maple Leafs
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No Rebounds: Steve McKichan\'s Goaltending Tips
Maple Leafs New Goaltending Coach Has Advice From The Pros

(January 10, 2005) -- For the past two years, Steve McKichan has been Ed Belfour's personal goaltending coach. In Ed's first year in Toronto he set a team record for victories with 37 and was a big reason the Leafs had a successful season. This past season Eddie had another stellar year finishing the season with a career win total of 435. During the playoffs he posted three shutouts in the opening round as the Leafs sneaked by the Ottawa Senators.

After the season ended, McKichan accepted the position of Goaltending Coach with the Maple Leafs, which means that all of the goalies in the Toronto system will now be under his guidance and coaching.

As an NHL goalie coach, Steve must develop all the goaltenders in the system and try to get them all progressing towards the mutual goal of playing in the "show". Besides the two goaltenders on the big club, most teams will have two goaltenders in the AHL and one or two goalies in a third tier level like the ECHL or the Central League. In addition there are normally two or three other youngsters that have been drafted but still play in Major Junior or college hockey.

Now, Steve will regularly offer up some great practice tips for goalies of all ages at all levels...

"All pro goaltenders do things really well as you would imagine but clearly they all have areas of weakness or more accurately areas the need to improve on. The fact that they are getting paid to play doesn't mean they have the position perfected. This applies to the guys on their way to the Hockey Hall of Fame and the guys trying to get their first taste of the Big Leagues.

"Each individual goaltender in our system would have specific areas to address but all goaltenders need to work on three core areas. Even goaltenders still playing in youth leagues or in the recreation leagues can benefit from these ideas...

What do scouts look for?

Scouting goaltenders is a difficult task especially when you are looking several years down the road. So difficult in fact that scouts overlooked a rough around the edges college goalie named Ed Belfour and one nicknamed Cujo.

Generally speaking three areas are normally prioritized when evaluating a goalie.
1) Size
2) Athleticism
3) Competitiveness

Size
Being big is an asset that can't be minimized, especially if it appears in combination with athleticism. Don't be disheartened if you are on the smaller side however. Manny Legace, Fred Braithwaite and Arturs Irbe all proved they could make it.

Athleticism
Excelling at several sports is attractive to scouts because this speaks well of the individual's ability to improve and perfect multiple tasks. It also means that a multidimensional athlete will succeed in a variety of situations.

Competitiveness
To get to the NHL you must be a competitor. I think when you mention this word in combination with goaltending; the first name that comes to mind is Ed Belfour. Ed detests getting scored on in games and practices, hates losing, and never quits even when the score is getting up there.

Scouts never know where the next Ed Belfour or Vladislav Tretibination with goaltending; the first name that comes to mind is Ed Belfour. Ed detests getting scored on in games and practices, hates losing, and never quits even when the score is getting up there.

Scouts never know where the next Ed Belfour or Vladislav Tretiak will come from. Keep in mind these three areas. If you feel you are weak in one of those areas strive to improve it or make sure the other areas are super attributes.

"If you want to reach your goals in hockey as an elite goaltender it is important to focus on these core areas. If you have any other questions you could drop me an email or visit my website www.futurepro.com.

--Steve McKichan
Toronto Maple Leafs Goaltending Coach

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