Category: Goaltending Tips

Information, instructions on playing goal or coaching goalies.


Most coaches have a rating system to evaluate their players’ performance for each game. For example, Jacques Martin uses a 1-5 scale, Mike Keenan would uses a scale of 0-1-2. Some use letters.  Whatever the scale or the system used, coaches use it to keep a record of each player’s performance. By doing this, a coach can track the evolution or the consistency of the players.      

The same holds true for goalies. As a goalie coach I take it one step further. I rate the QUALITY OF GOALS SCORED AGAINST. It’s a very effective tool to motivate, teach and assess the the degree of responsibility for the goalie, especially if a team gives up too many goals. 

Here is how it works:   

We rate each goal 0, 1 or 2. I say “we” because the goalie and I rate each goal together. Goalies are pretty honest about it and are often more severe than I am on their own rating. Video, of course can be used effectively for this purpose.   


  1. If the goalie had absolutely no chance, the goal is rated a “0”. It’s a GOOD GOAL! We don’t spend time analyzing a good goal but we do CELEBRATE IT because that’s the what we try to achieve.
  2. When the goalie is solely responsible for the puck entering the net he receives a “2”. It’s a BAD GOAL!  It’s important to look for patterns of bad goals and they must be eliminated.  
  3. Anything in between a GOOD GOAL AND A BAD GOAL is given a “1”. It’s an ERROR. This is the chance to teach or make corrections.That can be done with related drills, video sessions and constant reminders.  The goalie has to know what mistake he made and what he needs to do the next time this situation comes up.   

I keep track of the goals against and their ratings all year-longThe average per game should be 2 or below.  The quality of the goals against usually coincides with wins and losses. GOOD GOALS produce more wins, that’s why we celebrate them.   

Goalies generally take on this challenge very positively. It gives a positive edge to a negative situation which is a goal against. If a goalie gives 5 or 6 goals and gets only two points in the rating, we can focus on the quality rather than the number of goals and give it a positive spin. If the rating is high, then the goalie takes responsibility, “we” identify the errors and take the steps necessary to correct them.    

This rating system celebrates good goals, helps cut down bad goals and identifies areas to work on with the goalie.    




Goal Scored



big equipment and glove on goalies


Has anybody noticed how big and bulky the upper body goalie equipment has gotten? As the equipment has evolved and served as a better protector of goalies, I have a feeling that it’s gone overboard again and goalies are taking advantage in the interest of protection. There are more layers on the chest pads and shoulder pads than on my wife’s lasagna. The layers provide protection but also give extra height to the shoulders and make the goalie taller and take up more space. 

Some of them literally look like the GOODYEAR BLIMP! 

EQUIPMENT has been a major influence in the evolution, improvement and style of goaltending today. They can get down on the puck; use the paddle down without fear of injuries. The mask is bigger to protect the face and very few body parts are exposed for the puck to cause an injury.   

More kids today are attracted to the position because they don’t have to deal with the physical fear of injuries and the pain thanks to better protective equipment. I remember several of my friends who tried to play goal, but after getting hit by the puck a few times, they quickly returned to their forward position.   

I’ve been coaching goalies for many years. In the last 10 years, I can count on one hand the times that a goalie was injured by the puck during a practice or game. In my era, we had to deal with injuries almost every time we stepped on the ice. The face, knees, elbows, collarbone, shoulders, neck and even toes were not protected well enough to prevent injuries. The catching glove didn’t give much protection to the hand. The equipment was so heavy that few of us wanted to add additional parts for fear of limiting our movement. So we dealt with it.     

One could always tell who the goalie was in the dressing room by the colorful bruises on his body

The leg pads width and length have been reduced to fit the height of the goalie but I don’t see the leg pads as a problem. I don’t understand how the league is allowing the oversize catching glove. The glove with the “cheater” (yes, it’s called a cheater) between the thumb and the wrist which has absolutely nothing to do with protection and serves as a blocker. There is no question that protection should be the priority when designing goalie equipment. But I think that goalies are getting away with a lot more than mere protection when it comes to upper body, catching glove and pants. 

 Technology today has designed a bullet proof vest for police officers to wear under their shirt to save their lives. There has to be a way to protect the goalies without giving them the BLIMP LOOK.  .  . The goal is to protect the goalie not to reduce their goals against average.  

I hope I can renew my Goalie’s Union Card …. 

Have a good HOCKEY DAY! 

Phil Myre

Focus and Positioning key to goalies success

Goaltending Tips:

NHL goalies are part of a special group.There are only 60 people in the world (2 goalies per team) who can call themselves NHL goalies.   They have reached a plateau that very few people in the world could attain…or even want to.  Most people would never dream of standing in front of hockey pucks shot at them at 100 mph.

All NHL goalies have worked hard to reach this pinnacle. They must have exceptional skills and athletic ability. Competitiveness is a quality necessary to make your way to the NHL as a goalie.  

So, what makes some NHL goalies better than others? Skills and competitiveness being equal, from my point of view, there are two elements that separate the best from the rest:

Focus and Positioning.

Having FOCUS for a goalie means the ability to concentrate on the task at hand for a full game and to perform under tremendous pressure. The focused goalie has to maintain composure and control through adversity, through failure, every time he allows a goal and through great physical demands and rapidly changing situations. Hall of Famer and former teammate, Ken Dryden, had exceptional concentration and focus. He could describe a play resulting in a goal from it’s conception. He didn’t like to look at the clock so that he could keep the same level of concentration no matter how much time was left in the game. He could keep his focus whether he had 45 shots or 12 shots. Many goalies have difficulty keeping their concentration when not getting many shots. Goalies like Dominic Hasek had great anticipation of the play because of his ability to focus and concentrate on the moment.

POSITIONING is also a key to achieving higher levels of performance for a goalie. I learned a lot from Jacques Plante on positioning when he was my coach in Philadelphia. He taught me how to use markings on the ice, when to stay back and when to be aggressive. The idea that goalies have quicker reflexes than other athletes is really a myth. It’s particularly true of today’s butterfly goalies. Since they are down on their knees for most saves, it’s crucial that their position be perfect at all times. Too deep in the net exposes the top, too far out makes them vulnerable to being deeked .

During the many years that I’ve coached goalies and still today, I spend a lot of time doing what I call “ORIENTATION DRILLS” to help build confidence in positioning. The ideal save is to let the puck hit the goalie with minimal movement and great control of movement.  

Goalies are drafted because of the saves they make and their ability to keep the puck out of the net. Once they reach the NHL, things change. They are expected to make saves and are rated on the GOALS THEY GIVE UP. A goalie can make 40 great saves but if he gives up a soft goal, coaches and fans will remember the bad goal easier than the great saves, especially if it was influential in the outcome of the game. Goalies that don’t beat themselves with many bad goals are those who achieve superior performances. Focus and strong positioning are essential to minimize bad goals and to make key saves that change the game.

My top Pet-Peeves

Phil Myre

Hockey has been very good to me for 42 years as a “pro”. It brought me a lot of pleasure and satisfaction and a good life. But I also developed several pet peeves and I want to share them with you. Maybe, you feel the same way…   

My first two pet peeves have to do with goalies. The one that irks me the most happens is when I see a goalie shrug his shoulders following a goal showing everybody that  a teammate, not him,  was responsible for the miscue. He wants to show the world that he didn’t see the puck or that a deflection occurred.  I think that it’s a copout and a failure to take responsibility.  It shows a lack of team unity.   

My second pet peeve involving goalies happens when they handle the puck behind the net and shoot it with no purpose right by an oncoming teammate, usually a defenseman. Those plays are very seldom successful and often result in a turnover and put the defenseman in a vulnerable position. The ability to handle the puck for a goalie is an excellent skill which helps teams breakout of their zone. Very few have that vision and instinct. Most of the time, the easiest, simplest play is the best one. Let the defenseman handle the puck when he is in the clear.   

Another pet peeve of mine has to do with defensemen leaving their feet in the defensive zone. Yes, there are times when a defenseman will leave his feet to block a shot. As a goalie, I was very thankful to many defencemen who did that in front of me over the years. Former teammate, Bob Plager with the St-Louis Blues, was the master at blocking shots. He was even diving in front of pucks in an alumni game we played a few years back. I see more and more defensemen today leaving their feet on a 2 on 1 attack or outnumbered situation. Smart, skilled offensive players simply let the player slide away and often get a good scoring chance.  Whatever happened to leaving a lane for the goalie to take the shot and taking the pass away with good body and stick position?   

Finally, my last pet peeve of the day: Teams being rewarded with a point in the standings for losing. It’s time that the NHL reconsiders allowing a point to the losing team in overtime and in sh00t-outs. It’s the only league among the four major pro sports in North America that allows points for a loss. There has to be a better way to promote and reward winning. The Montreal Canadiens made the playoffs in 2008-09 while losing their last 4 games but earning one point in an OT loss to Boston. That one point tied them with the  Florida Panthers and earned them a playoff spot winning the tie breaker.  It’s ridiculous and needs to be changed. Some suggestions have been made, some good, some not so good. I have my own ideas but I will save them for a full blog at a later date. I would also like to hear what you have to say about it…   


Phil Myre   

Phil’s 5 Commandments of Goaltending


1. EYE ON THE PUCK:   Just like catching a ball, you must focus on the puck from start to finish: from the time the stick makes contact to when it finally hits you.

2. BODY ON THE PUCK: That simply means that you need to be in good position with the puck lined up in the middle of your body and knowing where your net is.

3. LET THE PUCK HIT YOU: Simplify your game and have patience. The puck will come to you; you don’t have to chase it. Overactive goalies often get out of position and have to rely on reflexes too much.

4. CONTROL THE REBOUND: If you have to give a rebound, try to control where it goes. It needs to be in the least dangerous area where the opponents are least likely to get the puck and make an easy play.

5. RECOVERY: This is very important. You must be ready for the next shot quickly and effectively.