Sometimes when you notice a trend happening in the NHL, it’s indicitive of the way the game is changing.

For example, I think we see less players dumping the puck in these days, and less d-man going glass-and-out before even looking for a pass. There’s more possession time.

Other times, a trend is just a fluke series of events. Right now, I think that’s what we’re seeing. I guess there’s a very small chance that the current style of goaltending causes this and it is a real trend, but….either way, I have to ask:

What the hell is going on with goaltenders right now? Are 6 an 7 hole suddenly fantastic places to shoot? Why can’t anyone seems to hang on to the damn puck?

Here’s an example of what I’m thinking of (thanks to theScore video department for clipping this for me). It doesn’t always lead to a goal (as attested by the play below), but in the three videos beneath this one, you see how dangerous this can be.

Jonas Hiller – squeeze that damn puck.

*****

 Antti Niemi – Ryan Callahan

Amazing effort and a great goal by Callahan, but that pucks never lying there if Niemi just hangs on to that.

“Really, you can’t give that a squeeze, man?”

***

Pekka Rinne – Patrick Kane

I know some of you are gonna say “but that’s the perfect shot placement!” Fine. But that’s an absolute muffin of a shot. Rinne could have reached over and caught it with his glove hand, sans glove.

****

Dan Ellis – Ryan Johanssen

Not exactly backhand shelf – after Johanssen runs himself out of real estate, makes no fakes, and throws a panic backhander on net, Ellis lets it through the same armpit hole featured in the videos above. These are not low blocker snipes. These are armpit hole errors.

****

The above four videos are from the last four or five days, and I’ve seen it plenty more.

What are your thoughts? Is the butterfly to blame? Or did I just happen to be watching a bunch of games where this happened?

I get coincidence. But this seems to be happening an awful lot lately.

Comments (8)

  1. Ah, love using the term “muffin” for a soft goal allowed on a weak shot. One of my favorites.

  2. maybe it’s an unconscious adjustment the goalies are making as shooters are getting better and better at picking the spots where those goals should be going. facing more shots that are absolute snipes in games and practice? would not put it past goalies. those guys are weird.

  3. Did the chest pads get smaller too? Maybe they didn’t use to have to squeeze quite so tight to get that underarm closed (since the chest flared out over it). You’re not wrong though, I’d made the same comment the other night about that shot going in so much this year.

  4. Jersey cut? They seem to fit up in the armpit a bit tighter than what I remember from years past.

  5. Lundqvist let one of these by against Toronto last week as well.

    My only guess is lazy form going into a routine blocking butterfly. If you drop to stop 10 or so shots like that a night, not every blocking butterfly is going to be as tight.
    In the cases of Rinne, Hiller, and Lundqvist, these are European goalies who typically keep their elbows tight even upright. Just lazy form and fluky goals.

  6. I think it’s a combo of theories here – guys are better at hitting top corners, so goalies are “guessing” as much as reacting. Gear is smaller. Jersey cut is tighter.

    I dunno. Just seems like we’re seeing a lot of it.

  7. Hiller’s was likely a blip, a one-off – his glove and arm are tight to his body, and then open slightly as the shot is coming. He can’t squeeze back together quickly enough and the puck squirms through. The other guys have a bigger problem – they’re not square to the shot as it comes in.

    Even with your hands are in the correct position, there’s space between them and your body, so you can move easily and absorb the puck, rather than stabbing at it. Square to the shooter, that’s fine. On an angle, those gaps suddenly become “visible” from the puck’s POV. To varying degrees, that’s what it looks like on the clips above. (It’s hard to tell for certain without being able to run them slowly.)

  8. Why would goalies all be getting lazy? Could it be scouting reports and video showed to players before facing some teams? I think the trend lies within the shooters here as well as the goalies.

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