New Caps Goalie Coach Breaks Out Medicine Ball
Long-time NHL goaltending coach Mitch Korn is already making his mark with the Washington Capitals.
After leaving the Nashville Predators along with head coach Barry Trotz, Korn was on the ice in a Capitals uniform for the first time at Washington’s development camp, and not surprisingly to those who have gotten to know him over his 23-plus years in the NHL, things looked a little different. The list of unique drills and props employed by Korn was well documented by Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley or CSN Washington, and included both a mirror drill with two goalies and the use of a basketball.
Capitals prospect Philipp Grubauer, who was the first to drop his mitts and pick up the ball, may not realize he got easy. As Korn explains, holding the ball out in front of you with both hands while doing movement drills encourages the goaltender to keep their arms tight to the body instead of letting them flail behind on lateral pushes. It also works the core … hard, something past Predators goaltenders like Carter Hutton and Devan Dubnyk found out the hard way when Korn left them holding a medicine ball instead of a basketball.
(Editor’s note: despite what Grubauer told CSN Washington, InGoal was informed it was indeed an 18-pound medicine ball, not a basketball, that he used during the Capitals prospect camp).
InGoal talked to Hutton and Korn about the importance of that work last season, and San Jose Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi credits similar crease pattern work holding a barbell weight out in front of him for helping get his strength up when he was a Vezina Trophy finalist two seasons ago. In addition to the CSN Washington story, Korn spent some time with reporters shortly after his arrival, and the Capitals website documented the discussion, in which Korn talks about building a relationship with his new goaltenders, starting with conversations over the phone, how he uses frame-by-frame video to evaluate reaction time, and his three parts of playing goal: physical, mental and emotional.
It’s a worthwhile watch, whether you are a goalie or a goalie coach:
And of course you can go back and read InGoal’s past Ask a Pro segments with the popular coach for more insights into the position.