The Butterfly Effect

Adrian Dater has a nice long post deconstructing Avs goalie Peter Budaj.

Dater says Budaj needs the eye of the tiger, attributing the goalie’s playing troubles to a lack of intensity.

A friend of Dater’s says Budaj is a slave to his technique, and I think that’s the heart of the issue. Goaltending systems are designed to stop goalies from needing to think. You have a fixed set of moves and you respond to each situation with one of those moves. The idea is always that the goalie is watching the puck and his body is responding. But the thing is, the moves in the butterfly repertoire aren’t always the right answer to what’s going on in a game. And that’s where guys like Budaj get into trouble. Because they’re not versed in the move that needs to be made in that moment.

And that’s what makes Martin Brodeur such a great goalie. His hybrid style is so effective because ultimately it’s like a larger vocabulary. Brodeur has more automatic answers for a wider array of scenarios.

I understand why coaches want their goalies to commit to a system. It does a lot toward taking human error and judgment out of the equation. But they have to give their goalies more options to work with. The lack of options is killing Budaj. Goaltending is an art, so you need to give these guys some different colors to play with.

Of course, I should probably temper this love letter to Brodeur with the acknowledgment the Devils have lost two in a row and are in the lovely situation of having both their powerplay and penalty kill misfiring.