Random Goaltending Knowledge of the Day: Rebound Control

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    Trying to force myself to make a new post on the CI website, just to see how it goes. When we were over at SSH, from time to time I would write about topics in goaltending. Here I am at it again, this time the topic is rebound control.

    Of all the pieces in a goaltender’s equipment, it is the glove and stick that allows a goaltender to control rebounds. The glove is obvious, anything that touches it must be trapped. Also, while it might seem more obvious that shots absorbed by the body limit rebounds, watch any professional goaltender and you will see that they immediately follow up any of these shots with a cover by their glove against the body. Shots can and will reflect off a goalies body and the ingrained reaction of the glove catching any of these is a well developed part of goaltender training. Keep in mind, that these types of shots are always elevated off the ice, which is where a statistically smaller percentage of shots come from.

    The stick is really the key piece of equipment for rebound control as it is used for anything along the ice, which is where a higher margin of shots originate from. Its purpose is to redirect any incoming shot into the corners of the rink (basically the restricted boxes behind the net). Why is that the purpose of a stick save? Because shots from those areas are a very low percentage shot (in the event your opponent retrieves the puck) and are prime areas for your defense to recover the puck. Since 99% of the shots on the ice that are intercepted by the stick in this manner touch the stick while it is at an acute angle with the ice, it also results in the puck gaining elevation off the ice. This makes it an even lower percentage shot for conversion into a goal. Think about it: its supremely difficult to bat a puck out of the air with a stick (that’s why you make it on top plays if you can do it) and even more unlikely if it is headed to the corners.

    Stick work is a bit of an art. At the NHL level, stick redirects are almost always done in conjunction with the butterfly. The reason is to create double coverage: if your stick fails to reach the puck, you have a secondary stop with your pads covering the ice. HOWEVER, most shots a goaltender encounters are not squarely aimed at the five hole and thus require the stick to travel towards the direction of the incoming puck, usually off to the left or right pad. This is where things become difficult. In these situations, a goaltender will flare out one pad flush with the trajectory of the puck and open a small gap in the five hole. This is compounded by the fact that their stick is now moving towards the trajectory of the puck, losing double coverage of the five hole. If the goaltender has a clear sight of the puck and gets their stick on it, the result is a well controlled puck steered into the corners. If they lose sight of the puck, either through traffic or just as commonly due to a redirection and are not able to get their stick on it, either they get a rebound off the pad, or in some cases, the puck finds a small gap in the five hole and squirts through. Goals like this happen all the time, from mites to the NHL.

    Watch this video of a goalie doing drills on his rebound control:

    All major rebound control saves are practiced in this video, stick redirect glove side, glove save, body absorption with glove help, stick redirect blocker side, blocker redirect, and body absorption with glove help high blocker side. Watch the stick saves closely. You will see the stick travel to the puck and the five hole will be exposed momentarily. The first stick save also shows the flare of the pads on the glove side that I was talking about above. This goalie is doing well to try and maintain double coverage on where the puck WILL BE by doing that. But one pesky redirect, and his timing may be thrown off, not allowing him to recover positioning back to that open five hole.

    Blocker side and five hole stick saves can get really dicey. The only way to get the redirection to the corner in these cases is to “lever” the stick right when the puck gets to it, sending the puck to the corner. Watch this video of Corey Crawford doing some drills, and notice how he constantly “levers” his stick to give the puck height and direction:

    If you take a close look at this maneuver you will see the same thing: for a moment the five hole will be exposed. At the NHL level, this has been ingrained to the point of automatic reaction. It is all done in the name of rebound control, affording a low percentage conversion if the technique is executed precisely. However, redirection or mistiming the lever/stick flick will result in an exposed five hole and every once in a while, a goal. Plus, it will make you look really stupid because everybody assumes that with all those pads on you should just automatically stop a five hole shot.

    This brings us to the last topic of rebound control: pad saves. This may come as a shock to some people, but any save made by the pads inherently CANNOT have rebound control. This only occurs when the stick gets involved. Think about it, in a butterfly the pads form a 90 degree angle to the puck. This ENSURES that anytime the puck touches the pads, it will bounce off and away from the pads. Watch this poor guy doing a drill without a stick, he is literally a rebound machine:

    And the most dangerous area to catch a shot on the pads is on the boot break (where the shin curves forward and covers the foot). A puck shot here without being intercepted by a stick will guarantee the rebound is spit out right into the slot, the juiciest of all rebounds for a shooter. Watch the Crawford video again and look for this, you will see it happen at 32 seconds in and again at 43 seconds in.

    See why I said stick handling is an art? Even in an age of butterfly saves, without an active stick, the rebounds will be devastating.



    Excellent! Glad to see your posts return!


    I am not Chico Maki

    Thanks… glad to see the return of these. Yep. Glad.



    This is very cool stuff.



    Good Stuff….Thanks



    amazeballs. Our very own Goalie Geezer is back



    Very, very cool stuff. More!

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