October 3, 2014

Revisiting The Road to Fly

There's a terrific summary of the progression of the goaltending position and the evolution of the butterfly technique written by Dean Boustead at Beer League Blog.

This was the main style for quite some time, in fact some of the last goalies to use stand up weren’t too long ago, for example Bill Ranford whom retired in 2000-2001 season. That being said, stand-up goalies were far and few at this point in time, due to the newer style of goal tending known as the butterfly style. The first few goalies to do the butterfly style, such as Tony Esposito, played around the 70s. However is wasn’t very popular nor effective at the time. Once hockey took a change in the early 90s, with young talents and much more developed equipment, so too did goal tending. The butterfly was fully implemented with Patrick Roy reintroducing and making it popular along with other goalies such as Ed Belfour and Curtis Joseph.

Dean expands on a common misconception that the modern butterfly is the current state of affairs for high level goaltenders of today.

Traditional butterfly is more of a “blocking” style of play, where the goalie is to stay perfectly square to the puck, take up as much of the net as possible and make positional saves. This relies heavily on a goalies ability to perform rebound control, as typically after the first 1 to 2 shots, the goalie will be out of position. This causes a multitude of issues for modern play; shots are harder, passes are faster, even the players are faster. Goalies have to be able to keep up with the play, they needed to be more mobile. Butterfly was further developed into the “Profly” and “Hybrid” styles. Both are very similar, yet different in their own regards.

As my readers know, When I stepped back into the net in late 2012 after a 25 year hiatus, I had to relearn everything. Equipment, technique and fitness. My journey continues but I now consider myself much closer to a butterfly goalie than I did in the winter of my return.

Perhaps I'm a hybrid goalie now too. A mix of "butterfly" and "a$$holes and elbows".

Read more from Dean and the rest of the gang at Beer League Blog here.