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Author: Kevin Woodley

inGoal in Vancouver: Who plays Tuesday? Breaking down Brodeur and Canada-USA showdown

Kevin Woodley is a rec-league target and former contributing editor of the Goalie News. He has written about the Vancouver Canucks and NHL for The Associated Press, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and The Hockey News for the last decade, and is currently at the Olympics for AP. Canadian coach Mike Babcock was planning to take Sunday evening to figure out his goaltending. “What I’ll do is put out the emotion, I’ll watch the game (on video) and then I’ll make my decision from there. Obviously this was a night we’d like to have been better in that area. We’ll look at that.” If it’s based solely on Sunday’s 5-3 loss to the United States, it’s hard to imagine Babcock will come to any other conclusion than to replace a totally ineffective Martin Brodeur with Roberto Luongo in time for Tuesday’s qualification game. Then again, Babcock can’t just look at the past. He must also look to the future and a showdown with Russian Wednesday that many thought would be for a gold medal. As easy as it would be to argue that showdown wouldn’t be necessary had Luongo played against the Americans on Sunday – freezing pucks instead of playing them into danger, with at least three of the goals hitting the pads of pretty much every butterfly goaltender in the NHL instead of finding holes in Brodeur’s outdated...

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inGoal in Vancouver: Americans Trying to Pick Apart Brodeur’s Unique Style

Kevin Woodley is a rec-league target and former contributing editor of the Goalie News. He has written about the Vancouver Canucks and NHL for The Associated Press, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and The Hockey News for the last decade, and is currently at the Olympics for AP. Wilson Taps Thomas’ Knowledge to Find Brodeur’s Weakness The American practice was winding down late Saturday afternoon at the Britannia Ice Center, with Ryan Miller stopping shootout attempts from a handful of players at one end and Jonathan Quick scrambling around his crease in a rebound drill at the other when U.S. coach Ron Wilson ambled over to backup goaltender Tim Thomas at center ice to chat. The conversation wasn’t loud enough to hear from the stands and left many media observes puzzled, but to anyone familiar with puck stopping the topic was obvious: Martin Brodeur. At the request of his coach, Thomas was waving his glove hand in the air as he backed in slowly, dropping his right knee to the ice and tucking his blocker into his body just above the pad. In the age of the butterfly, the move was immediately recognizable, even to those who weren’t watching Brodeur use it while stopping the Swiss four-straight times Thursday. As Thomas did his best impression of the living Canadian legend and last bastion of stand-up saves, Wilson pointed to various...

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inGoal in Vancouver: Brodeur’s Puck-Handling Advantage Slow to Materialize

Kevin Woodley is a rec-league target and former contributing editor of the Goalie News. He has written about the Vancouver Canucks and NHL for The Associated Press, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and The Hockey News for the last decade, and is currently at the Olympics for AP. If there is one unquestioned advantage for Brodeur and Team Canada at the Olympics, it’s the removal of the trapezoid that prohibits goalies from playing pucks in the NHL corners. Freed from its shackles, Brodeur was supposed to revert back to the form that had most treating him like a third defenseman with the Devils, stymieing forechecks and creating breakouts. It’s been slow to materialize, however, in large part because it’s been taken away for so long. Despite being one of the few that doesn’t use the Marty Turco-invented reverse overhand grip with his glove, Brodeur can still snap the puck as well as anyone in the league, something he began working on after his dad Denis, a former Montreal Canadiens photographer, came home from a game raving how Philadelphia goaltender Ron Hextall played the puck like defenseman and would “change the game.” But Brodeur finds himself hesitating going into corners. “In practice, I even kind of caught myself from going for that half a second,” Brodeur told the Associated Press. “It’s something I’ve got to get used to and not think...

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inGoal in Vancouver: Miller Looking Forward to First Taste of Border Battle

Kevin Woodley is a rec-league target and former contributing editor of the Goalie News. He has written about the Vancouver Canucks and NHL for The Associated Press, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and The Hockey News for the last decade, and is currently at the Olympics for AP. With all the attention Saturday on Brodeur, it was easy to overlook Sunday’s game with Canada will be the first border-battle experience for American stopper Ryan Miller. “I’m just excited to play,” Miller said. “I haven’t had a chance to play Canada and this is a good time. If I remain sharp, I’m going to keep getting that tap on the shoulder and as a starting goalie in the NHL, you want to get into a rhythm. With our great goalies [backup Tim Thomas, and third-stringer Jonathan Quick] you want to get established.” As a Michigan native now playing in Buffalo, Miller is well aware of the rivalry between his nearby neighbors to the north, and remembers well America’s 2006 World Cup victory. “I was proud that the Americans won and I really looked up to Mike Richter,” said Miller, who was sharp in wins of Switzerland and Norway despite not seeing a lot of rubber, and is expected to play ever game. “They did something great. It was a big stage and a big game.” He’s also fully aware he’ll be...

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Hiller and Gerber: Canadian Goalie Guru Key to Both Swiss Olympic scares

Kevin Woodley is a rec-league target and former contributing editor of the Goalie News. He has written about the Vancouver Canucks and NHL for The Associated Press, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and The Hockey News for the last decade, and is currently at the Olympics for AP. Asked to put his jaw- (and stick-) dropping performance into perspective after forcing an entire country to hold its breath for three hours on Thursday night, Swiss goalie Jonas Hiller needed a little time to catch his first. A couple of reflective – and deep – breaths later, the sweat-soaked Hiller still wasn’t entirely sure about the scope of his incredible 45-save effort, struggling between patting himself on the back for sending Canada into a panic and the disappointment of coming up short in a dramatic 3-2 shootout loss. “It probably takes until tomorrow to realize what we did today,” Hiller said. “It was one of the best games I’ve ever seen from the Swiss National team.” No one was going to argue after Hiller’s remarkable performance, including a spectacular stick-less sequence of saves with the game tied in the third period, and stopping Sidney Crosby once in the shootout before the young Canadian icon clinched the win on his second shootout attempt. But as Martin Brodeur remembered after stopping all four Swiss shooters in the decisive one-on-one, this was hardly a...

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