Thatcher Demko has been exceptional his first six Pro Reads, explaining how he sees the game and chooses depth, save selections and post integrations based on a variety of factors, so we’re going back-to-back with the Vancouver Canucks No. 1 on the subject of using the Reverse.

It can be a touchy subject, with no shortage of analysts shouting “just stand up” when the use of Reverse, or Reverse-VH as others call it, plays a role in a goal going in. But that can often be because of how, when and why Reverse was used, rather than the technique itself.

“My argument to the whole Reverse thing is you get beat when you go into the butterfly. Does that mean you should never butterfly?” Demko said. “You have to play the game.”

Which is exactly what Pro Reads are all about.


In the first of those two parts, Demko is breaking down footage of an end-zone sequence against the New York Rangers and a cycle in the corner. You can’t see it because of the boards, but the puck is on the stick of Rangers defenseman Adam Fox in the corner at this point:

The cycle has just moved from below the goal line to Fox along the wall at this point, so what do you make of Demko still being in his Reverse here? What reasons would you list for staying down on the post? Can you come up with any for getting back up to your feet here?

Who is the biggest threat? Is it still Fox, a Norris Trophy winner? Or is it someone else?


Now watch the entire sequence and ask yourself the same questions:

Does his use of a Reverse make more or less sense seeing how this played out?

Of course, his size and ability to move out of it matters, and not every goalie will play it the same way based on those attributes, but can you see reasons why it’s right for him here?

Also, did you notice when Demko looked off the puck?


Now let’s hear how Demko read this threat and his keys to choosing this post play option:

“This one here, I’m 100% going to be in my Reverse, it’s below the goal line to start,” Demko said. “Pockets and spacial awareness on the ice, if you look at what is available, where is the dead ice? (Fox) kind of has three options: He going low to high, he’s going to sling it at my pad or he’s going to try to make a play to the guy going backdoor. If this is a different player, he’s probably not trying the backdoor, so again, knowing who is on the ice, knowing what they are capable of as far as making plays and being set and stable in my Reverse.”

As for the keys to executing out of his Reverse, Demko had a list:

“The first thing that goes is my eyes,” he said. “And getting your knee down first. Obviously, you are going to reach, but that knee has to get down as a priority for sure … and hand in support … that’s a pretty good coverage as far as where he has to go. There’s not much.”

InGoal has an entire Hand in Support drill series with Demko and Ian Clark:

Ian Clark Hand in Support Drill Progression

Ian Clark Hand in Support Drill Progression Part 2

We’ve also got LOTS more coming from this lengthy sit down with Demko, including Part 2 of this Reverse breakdown next week. But if you enjoyed these insights go back and watch his first six Pro Reads. And if you haven’t already, listen to his appearance on the InGoal Radio Podcast last season. It’s one of our most popular episodes ever!

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