Tim Thomas empties his mind and reacts, echoing Waite
In particular it was worth noting his thought process on one of the most spectacular saves against Philadelphia. That is, he tried his best not to have one.
“You’d like to do that on every shooter,” Thomas told reporters of a glove save on Scott Hartnell’s penalty shot – after first stopping him on the breakaway that resulted in the call. “I didn’t want to over think it and think of what he might do. He took a shot low blocker (earlier). At one point, I started to think, ‘Is it going to go back there,’ and then I emptied my mind and just reacted.”
(Thomas was at it again Saturday night, making a diving glove stop against Toronto that is already being talked about as a leading Save of the Year candidate – check out the video in this week’s 3 stars).
The idea of emptying the mind and reacting was an interesting thought, especially after longtime Chicago Blackhawks goaltending coach Stephane Waite told InGoal Magazine he thought that North American goaltenders, and ones from Canada in particular, are now thinking too much about technique.
“The last five years a lot of goalies from Canada, they think too much,” Waite said. “They just want to be perfectly technically and they think they are going to be all right. They are just thinking too much on everything. And they are so predictable now, that’s the biggest problem we got. Every goalie plays the same thing, same style exactly and they are so predictable for shooters.”
Waite still stresses good technique in terms of movement, shot preparation and post-save recovery – he’s adding some structure to Marty Turco’s game – and believes it remains a key to consistency. But as he said for the in-depth InGoal feature article on why he believes there are more European and fewer North American goalies in the NHL every year, it’s now more important than ever to react and battle as well, pointing to both Turco and Thomas as great examples.
“I’ve changed a lot the way I coach the last four years,” Waite said. “It doesn’t have to be pretty. I don’t care about that any more. I need a better reactor, even if it’s not very cute. If you battle, it’s important.”
Be sure to check out more of Waite’s thoughts on the increasing importance of reacting in today’s NHL.