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The Unknown Goalie Rule

by Greg Millen / Toronto Maple Leafs
There is an old saying in hockey for a defenceman: “The glass is your friend.”

Translation – when a defenceman is under pressure, shoot the puck high off the glass to clear the puck out of the defensive zone. Therefore, considering this is a safe defensive play, the glass should be the goaltender's friend. Correct? Not necessarily.

If you happened to catch the Maple Leafs versus Tampa Bay this week, the glass can also be an enemy to goaltenders. Tampa Bay goaltender Dan Ellis went behind the net to field the puck. Unfortunately, for him the puck hit a partition on the glass and bounced right in the goal crease where an opportunistic Nikolai Kulemin scored into the empty net. All the helpless goaltender could do was watch the play develop from behind the net. Not a good feeling! Watch the goal here

I know the feeling. The Ellis play brought back a few memories when I was a member of the St. Louis Blues. The venue was Madison Square Garden in New York, one of my favourite buildings to play in. On a similar shoot in, I decided to field the puck behind the net. The puck hit the very last partition on the glass near the goal line and curled into the empty net. It didn’t even need the help of a forward to tap it in. Standing behind the net I helplessly watched the puck go in. At that point, all I could do was laugh.

A young Doug Gilmour skating on the backcheck started to laugh as well. I looked at the bench and there were several gloves buried into the laughing faces of my teammates. Then one of our captains Rob Ramage skated over. He wasn’t happy. Immediately the smiles were off our faces. When old Rammer was a little sour, you really didn’t want to cross him! I will never forget the look on his face. He was not impressed!

The defenceman’s rule: “The glass is your friend.” The goalie rule: “If the puck is shot in around the glass – stay in your net." If you don’t, the glass will be your enemy! Although the game has evolved considerably over the years, some situations and rules never change! Dan Ellis was reminded of that this past week. 
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