HNIC Mailbag: Why goalies love butterfly style | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaHNIC Mailbag: Why goalies love butterfly style

Posted: Friday, March 30, 2012 | 07:38 AM

Back to accessibility links
Martin Brodeur (30) of the New Jersey Devils, the NHL's winningest goaltender, defends the net using the butterfly style. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) Martin Brodeur (30) of the New Jersey Devils, the NHL's winningest goaltender, defends the net using the butterfly style. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Beginning of Story Content

Goaltending styles evolve over time. Some of this evolution is based on the success of goalies who have a certain style that gives them success and then other goalies play the copycat game.
We encourage you to send questions to our commentators.  Here's one to Glenn Healy that we believe deserved a more detailed response.  

"Hello Glenn,
It seems a growing number of analysts are questioning the current method of training goaltenders. The butterfly has become the default strategy taught by most schools. I am interested to know your opinion because I respect your views and insight on all aspects of our great game. - Alan Greenberg"

Alan,

Goaltending styles evolve over time. Some of this evolution is based on the success of goalies who have a certain style that gives them success and then other goalies play the copycat game.

Patrick Roy had great success with the butterfly style and most of the goalies coming out of Quebec emulated his style. The emergence of the butterfly goalie is not just about copying a Hall of Famer like Roy, but related to a host of issues that created the drop-and-block style.  

In the late 1980's, goaltending equipment was revolutionized. Heavy and bulky pads stuffed with deer hair were replaced with light foam pads. Pads went from 12 pounds a pair to four and that is significant. 

This allowed goalies to be more mobile and lengthened many careers. Goalies could remain mobile as they approached their mid 30's, allowing them to make east-west type saves.

Bigger goalies obviously cover more net. But with the heavy pads of the 80's, they had trouble with movement. Welcome the newer lighter pads and big goalies could become quick and big.
 
Size and quickness is a great combination and it is now the trend in the NHL to have big goalies who cover a ton of net and can move east to west.  

If a goalie wears a 38-inch pad and uses the butterfly style when on his knees, he will cover 76 inches of net. To put that into perspective, he will cover the entire bottom of the net plus have four inches to spare. Tough to score on him low with those percentages. 
 
Players have become quicker and stronger and, with the speed of today's game, you have very little time and space to get good shots off. Gone are the days of Guy Lafleur down the wing with the big slapper. 

Today's goalie plays the percentage game based on the assumption that everything happens instantly. Goalies do not have the opportunity to be set and ready. Time and space is gone.  

The experts at goaltending schools teach what works in the NHL and, in today's game, the drop-and-block strategy is the flavour of the day.  

I have thought of opening a standup goalie school but am aware my students may be all in their 50's.

End of Story Content

Back to accessibility links

Story Social Media

End of Story Social Media

Comments are closed.