Maple Leafs New Goaltending Coach Has Advice From The Pros
December 8, 2004 -- 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 some of these ideas...
1) Rebound control - In practice and games all shots on net can cause rebound control issues. The best in the business focus on this area every practice trying to maintain puck possession on every shot or at least direct the pucks out of danger to the corner.
2) Movement drills - Getting where you need to be early enough means you will be able to stop over 90% of the shots you face. This requires that you have to be a great skater. All the Leaf goalies spend daily time skating around their crease working on shuffling, challenging, retreating, transition movements and sliding butterflies.
3) Puckhandling - Advanced goalies must be able to shoot and pass the puck intelligently so their team keeps possession of the puck. We spend a lot of time working on this area in practice and during video study.
"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.
Toronto Maple Leafs Goaltending Coach