Goalies: Does being an Angry Goalie help?

We’ve all been there, we’ve had that frustration. You’re getting scored on repeatedly and nobody is doing anything. The ref blows a huge call. It’s been building and building all game, and by the 4th or 5th goal, you can’t take it anymore! You have a goalie outburst! Sometimes it just cant be helped, some of us goalies are not so zen between the pipes. I know myself personally I have had a very bad tendency for frustration in the net. I come out on the ice as a goalie to have a good fun game, where everyone takes part, and sometimes when things get out of hand, I don’t like it so much. Us as the goalies however don’t come out to be embarrassed, or made fun of, and when the score starts getting pretty high, that’s what it can feel like.

What can we do to try and prevent these outbursts? Many goalies are good at just shrugging off goals; we get scored on every day, so 1 or 2 goals can easily get passed our mind. Some goalies don’t count goals at all, or keep track, they simply play their best and ignore what goes in the net. Unfortunately there is no “simple” step or easy way to prevent a goalie meltdown on the ice, simply because everyone is different. Do what works for you to try and calm down out there. I have really worked on calming down and just “letting go” of the previous goals. I know if I get too frustrated my play gets poor with less structure, patience and form; therefore I make efforts to try and stay calm.

Of course the argument has to be made, is it really a bad thing? Is it something that we should really be trying to curb or get rid of? Or is it important for a goalie to not only be vocal about his rights and defend himself but make it known to his players he cares. In a lot of cases the act of a little goalie outburst, or even in some cases fighting, can actually boost a teams morale. This is not just for the obvious fun of it, but also because it lets the players know the goalie is in it, or still in it. There is little to no communication for goalies with their players on the ice while play is going on, and sometimes a little body language can go a long way. Sometimes nothing is more exciting then seeing the goalie, of all people, with all of his bulking equipment coming down the ice for a good scrap.

In the professional leagues, the “goon goalie” or angry goalie has been rarely seen. We all can remember the days of Ron Hextall, who was most likely the most outspoken goalies on the ice. Between slashing, hacking, chopping, suckering, checking, this guy was quite a lethal goalie. You didn’t want to get too close in the crease, otherwise you might catch his lumber across the ankles, or his blocker upside your head! We also can remember the good days of goalie fights, such as the historical Patrick Roy vs. Chris Osgood fight, but it seems that for the most part, goalie outbursts were a little more common throughout the 90s and early 2000’s, but have recently tapered off. Perhaps coaches try to keep goalies calm at a fundamental level, or its just become part of the position in a lot of ways. Elite goalies such as Cary Price and Henrik Lundqvist are said to have “ice in their veins”, making them cool customers even at the most stressful of times, but that’s not to say goalies that have outbursts are poorer goalies. We have seen the likes of Tuukka Rask, Jonathan Quick,and Braden Holtby all have temper tantrums or argue calls, and they are certainly elite caliber goalies.

I believe that it’s all about personalities. Some goalies are very hot-headed, and are prone to outbursts, but as long as its kept to a minimum and perhaps used correctly, such as team communication or energy (or if you KNOW that ref REALLY blew the call), even to elevate play. Perhaps some goalies can elevate their play based on the passion, but it does come to say that staying calm is part of the position. Goals will happen, it is inevitable. However, if we get angry on the first goal we let it, every game would be poor. Its important to have a little durability, and stay cool between the pipes. Keep focused on the puck and the play, not worrying about the past. Just don’t be afraid to stand your ground.

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