Death of the Stand-Up

The battle between butterfly vs. stand-up (newly dubbed “hybrid” and not the old Grant Fuhr stand-up) has been an important one in the last decade or more.  I’d say that the war is being won by the butterfly enthusiasts. It’s been said that because of the strength of the shots coming towards the net are now so hard that anticipatory goaltending has been adopted to compensate; a valid argument. Does that allow one to excel to the top tier of goaltending though?

I’ll name some of the all time greats of hybrids: Martin Brodeur, Tim Thomas, Dominik Hasek, Chris Osgoode (he’s won cups and has tons of wins), Dwayne Roloson, Cujo, Pekka Rinne, etc. This class of gentlemen can arguably make a respectable run for the hall of fame.  All of the above adopted the stand-up or a reactive style of goaltending.

Let’s not leave out the butterfly honourable mentions though. Of course we have Pat Roy, J.S. Giguere, Felix Potvin (have include him in a butterfly conversation) and Carey Price who all deserve mention, but how many are actually locks for the Hall (except Roy).

(I may have left some out of both lists, but don’t shoot me for it)

I do believe that anticipatory goaltending has taken over the NHL (to the liking of Francois Allaire). But is it producing all time great goaltending? I argue no. The longevity of the butterfly goalie is not apparent in the league. Look at the revolving door or “all star” goalies go through to the back up tendy or a prospect coming up in the rankings on many teams in the last decade.

I will argue that the butterfly goalie will have a more difficult time becoming great. But with some of the all time stand ups either retired or getting old, what’s next? I guess those all time stand-up greats better get spreading their seed or make players go back to the wooden twig.

I would be interested to see the effects of a shift in teaching would have on producing great goaltenders. Granted, teaching “The Hasek Flop” is a bit extreme, but I think implanting the thought of reaction rather than anticipation would bring some added integrity to the position. I think the lost art of reaction is become extinct and I for that I anguish.

Agree, disagree, discuss!

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