Creating The Ultimate Goalie
From stand-up to butterfly, goaltending technique has evolved greatly over the years.
From playing without helmets and wearing waterlogged horsehair pads, like Terry Sawchuck, to wearing the high tech gear that is commonplace in the NHL today, equipment has evolved drastically as well.
However, equipment and style are only two measures of a great goalie. Which is why I have decided to mash together all the goalies I think were the best at a particular aspect of the game in order to create the ultimate goalie.
The skills that are essential in a goaltender and from which I will be choosing the best from are: Glove Hand, Lateral Coverage, Puck Handling, Rebound Control, Positioning/Angles, Desperation Saves, Poke Check, Size, Mental Toughness, Durability, and Speed.
Although it is hard to compare today’s goalie to past defenders of the twisted twine I will be including goalies from all eras of hockey when considering who was the past at each particular skill.
Glove Hand - Grant Fuhr
Grant Fuhr played deep in his net relying on reflexes just hoping that players would try and put one top corner.
Playing on the run and gun Edmonton Oilers of the 80's Fuhr had to have a quick glove to keep his team in games.
His agility and catlike reflexs are as sharp today as they were in the 80's, as he flashed the leather and robbed Stephane Richer during the Heritage Classic game in Edmonton.
Lateral Coverage - Roberto Luongo
Standing at an imposing 6' 3" Roberto Luongo has the size necessary to cover the net post to post. After stifling shooters in the NHL for 7 seasons Luongo has posted a scintillating .919 SV%.
His excellent positioning and amazing ability to read the play allows Luongo to move side to side a split second before the puck arrives.
Puck Handling - Martin Broduer
Although he is not as daring as Marty Turco in his escapades outside of the crease Broduer has mastered the art of handling the puck. He is able to act as a third defender and prevent a hard forecheck against his defencemen.
Broduer is also the only goalie to score a game winning goal, and only the second goalie to score a goal in regular and post season play.
Rebound Control - Patrick Roy
Patrick Roy is perhaps the ultimate goalie by himself, he revolutionized the butterfly style, he was the best goaltender mentally and he had lightning quick reflexes.
His rebound control was one of the strongest points of his game, and his down low style allowed him to smother many shots in his chest.
Positioning/ Angles - Ed Belfour
Apprentice to the legendary Russian goalie Vladislav Tretiak, Belfour built an excellent career on his precise angle and positional play.
The Eagle was not the most athletic goaltender, yet he used his immaculate positioning to rack up 484 wins ranking him 3rd overall.
Desperation Save - Dominik Hasek
The Dominator paid no heed to positioning and technique. One scout even commented that he flopped around the crease like a fish out of water.
However, in 15 seasons, Hasek proved all his critics wrong by making saves with any part of his body nessecary, winning 6 Vezina's and 2 Stanley Cups along the way.
Poke Check - Johnny Bower
The inventor of the poke check was not the best at the risky manouver, but doing it without a mask makes him the bravest.
Bower was a stalwart in the net for the Leafs in the 60's winning three consecutive cups in 1962, 1963, and 1964.
Size - Steve Valiquette
At 6' 6" and 220 pounds, Steve Valiquette is the tallest goalie to ever play in the NHL. He has not yet secured a starting job but he has proven to be a competent backup behind Henrik Lundqvist.
His sheer size makes it nearly impossible to see the open net behind him, and this alone adds him to the ultimate goalie makeup.
Mental Toughness - Patrick Roy
"I have the love to win. I hate to lose. Maybe it's more the hate to lose than the love to win." - Patrick Roy
No goaltender is more competitive or passionate than St. Patrick. Over his stellar career he was able to block out all distractions and play his best in big games.
Put Roy under pressure and you can be sure that he is going to give his all and show you why he is known as the ultimate clutch goalie.
Durability - Glenn Hall
Goalies are often seen as fragile and prone to injuries. Mr. Goalie on the other hand played in 502 consecutive games, a record that will never be broken in the NHL.
Hall played every game of this record without a mask which makes his record even more unbelievable.
Speed - Marc Andre Fleury
No goaltender past or present can match Marc Andre Fleury's pure speed. Some may be better positionally or be more flexible, but Fleury's foot speed is second to none.
This speed was on full display during in Game 5 of the 2008 Finals at Detroit, where he stopped 55 of 58 shots in a triple overtime victory.
Everyone has their own opinion on which goalie was best at what, but based on who I have seen play and the records that others have set I feel confident that I have made educated selections for my ultimate goaltender.
I for one would like to see this goaltender let lose in the NHL. Who knows what a 6' 6" goaltender with Ed Belfour's technique and Grant Fuhr's glove hand could accomplish.