The puck stops here! A good goalie in hockey can make all the difference between a team winning or losing. Check out this puck-stopping look at NHL goaltenders.
Hockey Goalies - Just Stop The Puck
The job of the goalie in ice hockey is pretty simple: stop the puck from going in the net. This is much easier said than done when a hockey puck is being fired at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. Goalies that are big and tall generally have an advantage in that they can naturally cover most of the net. But it's more than just size that makes a good goalie. A good goaltender in the NHL also needs to have quick reflexes, good concentration skills and be physically strong enough to take the punishment of both flying pucks and colliding with players. Besides being able to stop the puck, it's also important for a goalie to have strong puck-handling skills so they move the puck quickly to their teammates.
Hockey Goalies - Changing Gears
While NHL goalies today sometimes look like giant Transformers with the amount of gear they wear, goaltenders haven't always enjoyed the protection of a helmet, mask and thick padding. When hockey was first played in the 1870s, goalies didn't wear much more than shin pads for protection. Goalies didn't even start wearing masks regularly until 1959, when Jacques Plante of the Montreal Canadiens became tired of getting his face cut open with flying pucks, and became the first goalie to wear a mask every game. Over time the gear goaltenders wear has become bigger and thicker, both to provide more protection and to make it easier for a goalie to stop the puck. The NHL has now placed new restrictions on goalie gear by limiting the size of the pads, gloves and blockers that a goalie can wear.
Hockey Goalies - NHL's Best
- Dominik Hasek, Ottawa Senators - Known for his acrobatic playing style and quick reflexes, Hasek has earned the nickname the Dominator for being the NHL's most dominating goalie over the past decade. Hasek has won the Vezina Trophy, as the NHL's top goalie, six times.
- Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers - Over the past three seasons, Roberto Luongo has faced more shots and made more saves than any other goalie. Playing on a crappy team hasn't helped his stats, but his big size and quickness make him one of the NHL's best keepers.
- Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils - He's not the most spectacular goalie in the NHL, as he relies more on his positioning than reflexes to stop the pucks. Brodeur has been named the NHL's top goaltender twice and has won three Stanley Cups and an Olympic gold medal for Canada.
Ice Hockey Goalies - Facts & Records
- Goalie Great - Patrick Roy holds the record for most career wins by a goalie in the NHL. He won 551 games during 21 seasons playing for the Montreal Canadiens and the Colorado Avalanche.
- Shooting Range - During the 2003-2004 season, goalie Roberto Luongo of the Florida Panthers faced 2474 shots and made 2303 shots - both NHL records.
- Goalie Goals - The first NHL goalie to score a goal by shooting the puck into opposing net was Ron Hextall. He scored into an empty net against the Boston Bruins, after the team pulled their goalie in the final minute of the game.