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When we started this series of Pro Drills three weeks ago, Curtis Sanford was the Vancouver Canucks goaltending development coach. Now he’s the new goaltending coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs but his new job doesn’t change the philosophies or keys behind them. And we certainly didn’t want to waste any of our video sessions with Sanford just because he switched teams. If anything, we get to give Leafs fans a glimpse into some of the things they can expect to see from their new goalie coach – and likely the new goalies he’s working with.

This drill is designed to help goalies manage plays behind the net, an increasingly common area teams try to attack from in the NHL and beyond. As every goalie knows, this can be a challenging play to manage because it forces us to take our eyes off the puck when it’s moved side to side behind the net. Choosing the right time to switch sides with our eyes — and then doing it quickly — are just two of the keys to getting comfortable with it.

The drill starts with the coach – and the puck – behind the net and a shooter set up at the side of the net, just above the goal line but below the bottom of the face-off circle. If you have two shooters, and want to make the drill more dynamic, you can set one up on each side. The coach drags the puck from one side of the net to the other, going back and forth until making a pass to the shooter for a quick shot. The goalie must manage his windows of vision behind the net, choosing the proper time to give up that visual connection to switch from side to side:

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