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TnGoal’s limited series on puckhandling with Mike Smith continues, as InGoal was on ice with the Oilers No. 1  as he worked with the two youngest netminders at the Annual NET360 Goalie Camp presented by Alpha Hockey. 

Part one of the series included a look at purposeful practice, accepting mistakes, the importance of skating beyond traditional crease movement patterns, and getting your defensemen and coaches on the same page about where to go on the ice. 

This week’s segment includes more discussion with the goaltenders ahead of some drills Smith shares which we will bring in the next segment of the series.

Questions that are discussed in this segment include how Smith holds the stick and getting leverage on a shot, how he decides when he’ll leave the net to stop a rim or a dump, including understanding the opposition forecheck before he even steps on the ice. While footwork is the key skill required of a good puckhandler, Smith points out that practice and communication with his defensemen ranks above all else in being a successful puck handler.

“If you can’t communicate with your defensemen, then you have zero chance to be a good puck handler….the communication part is number one.”

That communication includes a system and understanding of when Smith will leave the net and the defence’s responsibility when he does.

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