Jonathan Quick is a savvy goalie and, apparently, a very good writer.
He was written two segments on the The Players Tribune where he dissects the elite snipers of the NHL.
His resume? Pretty darn good. He has spent 8 years playing for the Los Angeles Kings after being drafted in the 3rd round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. In that time, he has won two Stanley Cups (2012, 2014) and was named the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2012.
Jonathan starts with a little perspective on great saves:
It always bothers me when people use this to discredit an amazing glove save, because I feel like it means that people don’t understand the beauty of my position. In the NHL, 90 percent of the save happens before the player shoots the puck. As a goalie, if you’re relying on your reaction time to make saves, you’re going to get yanked in a hurry. Keeping pucks out of the net is mostly about intuition and geometry. You’re watching the puck carrier and processing all of the guy’s options on the ice, plus you’re looking at his feet, hands and body positioning. Is he shooting? High or low? Where’s his passing lane? What’s the play here?
All the variables add up and tell you everything you need to make a decision. Instantly, your brain tells you to push out to the top of the crease and make yourself “big” to close down the angle on the shooter, or to cheat your weight a little bit to push off and cover the pass. Before the shot even comes, most of your work is done. You’ve committed and you just hope you’ve made the right decision.
He then goes on to talk about these scorers in Part 1:
Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry
I’m going to cheat a little bit and include these two as a package deal. Two words come to mind when I think about the Anaheim Ducks: Heavy minutes. A minute of them playing in your zone is equivalent to a minute and a half of another team, just because they play behind your net so much. So you have to be deep in your stance and on full alert a lot more and your legs start to really feel it by the third period.
Getzlaf and Perry have tremendous vision when possessing the puck on the perimeter. Even with their back to the play, they have an elite ability to make quick decisions and pick the seams in the defense. They use their big bodies to play keep-away behind the net, which forces me to scramble from post to post, and also wears down my defensemen. Then they’ll spin to the front of the net and try to create multiple rebounds and general mayhem. They may not even score, but those heavy minutes kind of soften you up a bit for the next line.
Datsyuk is probably the most deceptive player in the NHL. He’s a magician in the way that he’s able to hide the puck on his stick. Part of that is his hardware. He uses a type of blade that is pretty unusual in the league. It’s a lot thicker from top to bottom, and somehow when you combine this with his quick release and the fact that he’s hardly ever looking at the net when he shoots, it’s extremely difficult to track the puck coming off his blade.
The best backhand shot in the league. I think it might’ve been my first or second year as a pro, and he scored on me from like the hash mark on the wall. Not with a forehand. With a backhand … that beat me far corner. That’s pretty much unheard of. You should stop that 100 out of 100, but he got it off so quick and the puck came in so hot that I didn’t even know it was in the net until his hands were in the air. It was ridiculous.
Obviously, he’s got a heavy, heavy shot. But I’ll go back to the theme of unpredictability again with Ovi.
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane
I’m cheating again with his duo. It’s not a coincidence these guys are in the Conference Finals or Stanley Cup Finals seemingly every year. Unlike Getzlaf and Perry, these guys do very different things, but they complement one another perfectly. I don’t think I’ve ever seen two guys play with more confidence in themselves. They just seem to have an unwavering belief that they’ll find a way to win.
Great article and these are just snippets. Head over to check out the full information on each player.