An open letter from Stop Da Puck to Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer ...
You play in Toronto. One game, you're the next Johnny Bower, a masked hero. The next game, you're a zero. Part of the deal is that you're under a microscope, and everyone (including Stop Da Puck) seems to have an opinion on why your game has befuddled us as much as Brian Engblom's hairdo (see below for visual).
We're sure goalie coach Francois Allaire is filling your head with all sorts of advice, and we're sure some of it has been really helpful. Definitely listen to your coach, but, as we have written about before, do not necessarily do everything that he tells you. Especially if he tries to convince you that goaltending is all about blocking and not actually moving your body parts in reaction to the puck. Be your own man. Be your own goalie. Play your game ... while working on improving it.
Which brings us to our next point.
Hopefully, in your limited spare time you're not reading goalie blogs, but if by some chance this letter finds its way onto your computer screen we want to convey one message. It's a simple one. It's fundamental. It's probably the one thing we instruct Mite and Squirt goalies to do more than anything else. That one thing is this: Come Out Farther.
We know you are more comfortable in the blue paint. We know you're afraid of getting beat on back-door plays. But, Jimmy, you need to step out of your comfort zone and step out at least one more foot out from the net on most close- to mid-range shots, because this is not the AHL. The shooters are picking the corners, especially the glove side. Come out just a smidge even and more pucks will hit you. The shooters will see less net. The shooters will score less. Trust us. Give it a try.
On so many goals recently, if you would have setup at least at the top of the crease, or even - the horror of it! - an entire foot atop the crease, there is a good chance the pucks would have hit you and not the back of the net. Yes, you are a blocking goalie.
We like to see all goalies perform at their best. Watching you impotently sit back in the net makes us feel like we are watching Hugh Hefner do it without Viagra. Please, just give yourself a chance to block more by challenging the shooters.
If you don't believe us, just watch the videos below.
Stop Da Puck