There was a method to the madness behind classic spastic Hasek
Goaltending has become a zen-like art form focused on efficiency, positioning, and a host of other words that translate to "boring." But while goaltenders are becoming considerably less entertaining, the craft has made massive strides from where it was when masked men would lean on crossbars, kick at pucks and charge at shooters near the top of the circles.
Part of what makes the career of the great Dominik Hasek so impressive was that he put up the staggering numbers he did while performing like a whirling dervish after burying a mickey of moonshine and spinning with his head on a baseball bat.
He was always entertaining, and never at the cost of quality.
Hasek is most famous for his barrel-roll save, which, to the untrained eye, was simply a badly-beaten goaltender desperately throwing every available limb in the direction of the open cage in hopes of getting lucky.
But the fun part, and something we all learned over the course of his career, was that there was actually a method to his madness. Seemingly spastic classic Hasek knew exactly what he was doing.
As they raise the Dominator's jersey to the roof and show career highlights in Buffalo tonight - fittingly against the Red Wings - remember the planning that went into his thrilling "bait-and-trap" save.
...[M]ost often the barrel roll was reserved for a forward cutting in alone in tight from Hasek's left to right. Hasek would extend his blocker and stick to force the shooter to hold the puck out and away from him, knowing they couldn't raise a shot with their hands extended.
From there, Hasek continued this extension to the post by rolling over on his back and throwing his glove-side arm along the ice. Hasek then kicked his legs straight up to try to take away the top of the net in case the shooter had the patience to try to wait him out. In the end, it looked like a bizarro-world butterfly, with Hasek's arms extended along the ice to take away the bottom of the net and his legs up in the air acting like a torso would in a normal butterfly.
And from that same piece, goalie coach Jim Corsi elaborates on the "bait-and-trap":
He would allow the player to think there was room on the other side, but because he forced them to extend their hands, they couldn't lift the puck, so they had to sweep it in. Invariably he would roll his other hand down to the goal post and they'd be like, 'Lucky guy, I put it right in his glove.' No, no, no, he was waiting for you.
Hasek may have been unorthodox, but you can see what these guys are talking about below.
You push out the blocker to force the shooter to pull the puck back ...
He can't lift it from there (not the closed blade), so get the glove flat across the ice ...
And if he has enough time and the patience to elevate the puck, over and across come the legs.
Though, they weren't necessary in that case.
Tonight will be another special night for one of the greatest goalies ever to play the game. The guy may have made a career out of looking like a road hockey goalie, but don't mistake the man for some lucky flailer. Hasek knew what he was doing, even when it looked like he didn't.
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