Carey Rie looking down ice close up

photo: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire

Linus Ullmark credits a big part of his incredible season to “recoil,” a philosophy that Boston Bruins goaltending coach Bob Essensa has used successfully with Tuukka Rask, Tim Thomas and current backup Jeremy Swayman.

Ullmark wasn’t always a fan of the concept, however. The 29-year-old Swedish stopper admits he didn’t completely buy in last season, his first in Boston, because “recoil” went against his long-held belief that “set and square” were keys to his success.

Like so many others in the goaltending world, Ullmark viewed being set and square before a shot is taken as a foundational part of the position and how best to play it. So, when Essensa asked him to purposely drift backwards as a shot was being taken, Ullmark admittedly bristled at the idea initially.

“I was frustrated because he wanted me to move and I wanted to be stopped and set because I felt that’s where I make my reaction saves and now it feels like I’m letting in bad goals because I’m moving,” Ullmark said of last season. “And then I had one game, just one game, when everything clicked last season, where I got a little taste of it, and I told him ‘This is nice’ and then I started easing up a little bit on it. I was stubborn, like ‘my way works, my way got me to this point, so why would I start changing these things in my game.’”

Ullmark still strives to get square to shooters, but now, instead of being set and still as they load up a shot, he often has a little backwards flow to his game. But not all the time, of course.

“It’s about finding the right mix of when to do it because there’s still opportunities where you have to stand still and you just have to wait because it’s easier to make saves standing still,” Ullmark added.

Check out this week’s Pro-Reads with Linus Ullmark, where he talks about using recoil:

Linus Ullmark Pro Reads

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