I would like to introduce you today to Nik Vassilev, a junior goaltender from Toronto. Nik sent me a note asking if he could write a few articles to be published on the site. Of course I was happy to have him (and any of you!) contribute. When Nik sent me a draft with an article on technique I was pleased to see it, but warned that any technique articles are sure to create a good deal of debate – everyone has an opinion! But that is also exactly what I hope happens. A Blog is so much better if the readers interact in the comments section.
So, here is Nik’s first article. I’m sure he would love to hear from you. Please click the link at the bottom of the article to add your comments. Do you agree? Do you disagree? All opinions are valid.
Overuse of the Butterfly Slide
by Nik Vassilev
In today’s game the butterfly slide is a great tool and when used correctly and it can lead to momentum turning saves, however a new trend is emerging. The trend that is causing unnecessary goals and very bad habits: The overuse of the butterfly slide. Most goalies are beginning to think that the butterfly slide is an effective way of moving around the net to get to almost anywhere, I’ve even seen goaltenders butterfly slide from a pass from the hash marks back to the point. This isn’t the way it used to be and arguably the greatest goaltender to ever play Martin Brodeur hardly executes this move. There is a teaching that states to stay on your feet as long as you possibly can before committing yourself, unfortunately in many cases today’s goalies are being taught to go into butterfly slides almost to the point that they are eliminating T-Pushes and Shuffles.
My main concern with it is that it seems this generation’s goalies today use it to get to everywhere and anywhere. Today I was doing a private lesson with one of my goalie coaches and we had a drill that was T Push to top of left side of crease parallel to the player (player is standing at circle dot), as he makes the pass you are suppose to T Push to the other player (standing at other circle dot), however this goalie (95 birth year) was simply butterfly sliding. The problem with this is: any decent shooter will put the puck over your shoulders for an extremely easy goal. If the shooter ever has that much time to think and shoot and see’s you go into a butterfly slide you are essentially done. It’s like playing poker and revealing one of your cards, you are giving the other players an edge and by going into a butterfly slide early you are doing the same by revealing the top part of the net too early. Knowing when and where to go into a Butterfly Slide relative to the shooter is a necessity to a good game.
This article might sound like I’m against the butterfly slide and that T-Pushes and Shuffles should be used instead, but that isn’t the case at all. There are many NHL goalies that use the Butterfly Slide just about every game with great success (Fleury, Price and Lundqvist just to name a few). I think that when executed properly a Butterfly Slide is extremely effective. That is why I have developed a system of an appropriate area of where the shooter is when a Butterfly Slide should be utilized. Of course this is in no way meant to dictate how or when you should go into a butterfly slide, just an area of where the shooter is that I feel the Butterfly slide would be a good choice. I think that if the shooter is outside of that area you are making the save a lot harder on yourself. Goaltending is a game of decisions and hopefully this chart will make your butterfly slide decisions a little bit easier.
I’ll give you 2 examples of where a butterfly slide has cost a goal
Shot is blocked, goaltender goes into a butterfly slide when he should’ve got up and ends up killing all his glove side lateral momentum.
:20 in Roloson executes a Butterfly Slide that ends up putting his team behind 10 seconds into the game. They end up getting spanked 10-2
Here are 3 examples of properly executed Butterfly Slides
1:50 Unreal save by Fleury, very well timed and great explosion into the butterfly Slide
2:48 Ty Conklin makes a great read and stays right with it.
3:41 Thomas with some great speed and snares it out of the air.
The key to deciding whether or not to butterfly slide is making a correct read in the speed/accuracy of the pass relative to where the shooter is standing. The examples show when and when not to go into a butterfly slide and this is decision making is imperative as you advance into higher and higher levels of play. The butterfly slide is a great tool for any goalie to have in his/her arsenal; however as you can see it is one when abused can lead to problematic situations. Hopefully this article has given you a guideline of how and when to properly execute a Butterfly Slide in order for you to use it when it is most effective. Thanks for reading and if you have any thoughts or comments please leave them on the bottom!
Thanks to NHLVideo and hockeyenforcer24 for their videos. Also thanks to McGuire goaltending for the first picture.