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Quick Plays Puck Behind Net From Knees, Pushes Off Post With Pad

Quick Plays Puck Behind Net From Knees, Pushes Off Post With Pad

Kings goalie Jonathan Quick plays a lot of pucks behind the net from his knees

Kings goalie Jonathan Quick plays a lot of pucks behind the net from his knees, and made a brilliant saves in Game 5 Saturday using his right pad to push back out into the middle on a pass out from behind the net. (InGoal File photo)

While much of the focus in the Stanley Cup Final has shifted to 40-year-old Devils’ legend Martin Brodeur after two straight wins, Kings’ goaltender Jonathan Quick had a few highlight reel saves of his own after an early puck-handling miscue cost him the opening goal in Saturday’s 2-1 Game 5 loss in New Jersey.

High on the list was his robbery of Ryan Carter in the slot to keep it 2-1 late in the second period (video below). The stop was noteworthy because it came on a pass-out from behind the net, and Quick has been playing most of these plays below his goal line from his knees, using VH or one-pad down on as the play moves down low on his glove side, but transitioning down and using a pad-down approach against the post on the blocker side, and also staying down for a lot of the action behind his net.

Watch how Quick uses the shin of his pad, just above the boot, to push across into this save, rather than planting his skate:

The approach was covered in the last issue of InGoal Magazine in an instructional story by former Ottawa Senators goaltending coach Eli Wilson about defaulting to the knees early on plays behind the net. And it that created a lot of healthy debate and discussion when we pointed it out on a similar save by one of his pupils, Boston’s Tim Thomas, earlier in the playoffs.

Thomas isn’t the only NHL goalie going down early and staying there. Mike Smith used a similar approach in Phoenix, though the much bigger Smith takes up most of the net from his knees, and, like Quick, pops back up more often if the play moves back across and out, as well as when the puck gets tied up with several players in the corner. Quick is also so good at it – and so strong – that he can actually push off the post with that right pad and go straight onto his opposite skate and into a t-push.

In general, the philosophy, as explained by Wilson and also seen in pupil Carey Price, is designed to simplify things when the play moves behind the net, and reduce the possibility of getting caught in the transition from up to down and vice versa.

It’s not one every coach agrees with, but as Quick demonstrated in Game 5, it can be effective.

About The Author

Kevin Woodley

Kevin Woodley is a rec-league target and former contributing editor of the Goalie News magazine. He has written about the Vancouver Canucks and NHL for The Associated Press, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and The Hockey News for the last decade, and covered the 2010 Olympics for The AP.


  1. Nathan Lloyd

    I personally, like the knee play when the puck is below the goal line. Being only 5’7, this might not be the most effective play in my own game (being a rec. league goalie), but it is something that is becoming more prevalent in pro level puck stopping.

  2. Denon Maximchuk

    In most local rinks the pegs dont allow you to do that movement though. Thats because the pegs most rinks have stick only centemeters into the ice, unlike NHL pegs that stick many inches into the ice. I only do it when I get tired so the ref blows play down haha

  3. Dan

    completely agree with denon, it’s something i’ve been unable to incorporate into my game due to nets without pegs or just those rounded weights

  4. Brian Shaw

    We’ve seen Cam Ward do this for quite a while down here in Raleigh, but like the others above, I can’t use it effectively because of the tiny net pegs used by the multipurpose rinks around here.

  5. Darren Bradley

    I think the other replay shows him using his skate blade on the net padding behind the post, it just looks like his shin is the push off. I may be wrong, but i do believe the other angle shows that.

  6. Darren Bradley

    Also, a little trick I have learnt from a former WHL goalie coach, spray water down the pipe, so that it lands on the peg, it solidifies the freezing around the peg, and it adds stability to the posts for this very reason.

  7. PrairieDogsbody

    Like the other guys, I too have had this issue/complaint about the pegs in beer league-type rinks. Any kind of force, either pushing off or hugging the post in a save situation, causes the net to come off its moorings. As a result, there’s no way I can even consider trying these kinds of saves.

    Then again, as a 5’9″ beer leaguer, I wouldn’t dare model my game off the NHL game–the entire game is different! lol

  8. Dave

    Guys, after watching Quick throughout the playoffs, last week I practiced some of this technique using the standard rink pegs. I found that the key was in proper weight transfer and recovery movement, much like a butterfly recovery. While down on one post (as described above) I kicked the lead pad toward the opposite post while immediately pulling the trailing pad under my torso (like a standard butterfly backside recovery). This two step manoeuvre, and the momentum and weight transfer that resulted, propelled me to the other post “quickly” (pun intended) and I was immediately set up for a play on the other side. It seems to me to be a sequence of lead-pad thrust followed immediately by a 5-hole-closing backside recovery that finishes the slide.

  9. Rick Evoy

    A little tip from my Junior playing days with leather pads. Spray a little silicone on the sliding edges of the pads. Back in the day with leather pads, we didn’t have the sliding surfaces they have today, and not having it in spray cans we used to have to kinda paint it on. I have my goalies spray their pad’s sliding surfaces, and even with a weak push the ability to slide to the proper position is greatly enhanced by the more slippery sliding surface. It’s also great when the ice goes away late in a period or when you have to play a number of periods on the same surface.

  10. Steave Rioux

    I attended the Eli Wilson Camp in Saint Albert Canada in Aug 2012 and this move was tought to us aswell. It was very difficult to learn however, i have been using this technique every single game and it is very affective and smooth to transition from post to post. I am learning how to get into the T push but its not powerful because as stated the posts arent drilled in. I strongly recommend the move to everyone 🙂
    Steave Rioux


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