One of the most fundamental, technical positions a goaltender uses is the post hug. Proper sealing at the post prevents greasy goals and allows the goaltender to explosively jump off the post to handle any in front attacks.
Traditionally, the post hug was handled exclusively with the goaltender standing on both skates. The post leg was integrated with the post at the protruding bone on the ankle. The goal pad completed the seal on the post.
The stick was held in a position perpendicular to the puck to deflect or catch a tight centering pass. One crucial aspect was the location of the stick. If it was held too far in front, many bad goals would be deflected into the goaltender’s own net. By keeping the stick flush to the ice in line with the post leg, this error can be easily prevented.
Good goaltenders will also keep their body fairly square to center ice. Since the final play typically comes from the slot, getting square early will be the best way to go. Again, many bad goals have been scored when the goaltender faces either into the corner or exposes their back leg to the shooter. They will notice this and attempt to bank a puck in off you.
One evolutionary element in goaltending I have noticed recently is a variation on the traditional post hug. This variation shouldn’t be used as a replacement but rather used as an additional tool to repel these in tight side net attacks.
In this new approach, the goaltender maintains their post leg position sealed tightly. The back leg is brought down flush to the ice and the knee is pulled in to create a sealed wall completely covering the low net. On the blocker side hug, the trapper is brought down to fill space and seal holes. Typically the paddle down position is used when hugging the glove post in this manner.
I think this new technique has merit if used in the correct situation and with proper mechanics. This approach works well on tight low walkouts. Because of limited depth from the goaltender, the aerial angle is small and even a crafty player will have difficulty popping these pucks over even a moderately sized goaltender.
Any type of slot pressure will also make this approach successful if the man is in tight. Do not attempt this technique when the player is out 10 – 15 feet and has time and space.
The real benefit to this type of post hug is two – fold. If the play drives across the goaltender he can explosively push in a down position with the lead pad already flush to the ice. No holes open and most plays can be easily snuffed out. The secondary benefit is that loose pucks can be aggressively smothered easily when the gloves are down closer to the ice.
Copyright © 2004 Stephen McKichan