Devils Schneider Breaks Down VH And Reverse-VH
New Jersey Devils standout stopper Cory Schneider dropped by NHL Tonight earlier this week to walk through post integration options with former NHL goalie turned TV analyst Kevin Weekes.
It was an informative session for goaltenders everywhere as Schneider walked through various scenarios and why he still prefers a traditional VH (Vertical-Horizontal), with the short-side made up vertically against the post and back leg down horizontally along the ice.
It’s not really a surprise since Schneider broke into the NHL with Vancouver Canucks goaltending coach Rollie Melanson, who taught VH exclusively until Roberto Luongo learned the reverse-VH from Ian Clark during the 2013 offseason and brought it back to Vancouver with him.
Where Schneider moved in and out of VH with ease, Luongo struggled to hold that back leg above the goal line, hold the post and keep his balance on jams and wraparounds, something other teams began targeting in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Luongo has since told InGoal Magazine the addition of reverse-VH, with the short-side pad on the ice and the back pad up off it and used to drive coverage into the post and rotation around it, has been the most significant improvement in his game over the past three seasons.
So it was interesting to hear his former playing partner talk about the reasons he doesn’t like to rely on the reverse-VH as much, including difficulty sealing the post with his skate on the post. James Reimer had similar problems earlier this season and now uses a pad-inside-post technique when he’s in a hurry and wants to prioritize a tight post seal (InGoal has an upcoming article highlighting four variations of reverse-VH to solve these problems, depending on the situation and goalie’s flexibility). Schneider also talked about a delay on lateral movements out of VH, which is more of a blocking save, but not about the fact reverse-VH puts more of the goalie’s frame inside the net even before they have to move off the post.
Of course many goalies use different techniques depending on the circumstances, with Schneider talking about the reverse-VH as a better option below the goal line and traditional VH on plays above it. He also talked about the importance of holding his skates and staying patient, and important lesson for young goalies – and some in the NHL – who stay on their knees long after the play is no longer a sharp-angle threat, or drop prematurely and expose the top part of the net and reduce their mobility off the post.
So enjoy Schneider’s video with Weekes above. It was a good segment and a great reminder there isn’t one way to seal a post; there is still a important place for the “old-school” VH; and while the best plan is probably to have all the options in your toolbox and the ability to execute each smoothly, even some of the NHL’s best goalies have personal preferences that don’t always match.
(You can also check out Greg Balloch’s earlier article on situational use of reverse-VH, though like Schneider, some goalies might prefer VH for the purple zone above the goal line: