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Cornered Coach: Quiet in the Crease

 

Goalies should be seen and not heard.

And that goes for goalie parents, too.

Recently, Toronto Maple Leafs netminder Frederik Andersen questioned his team's passion and work ethic. True, after a lightning quick start to the NHL season, the Leafs have come crashing back to earth. However, Andersen wasn't exactly performing up to snuff himself and as the old saying goes, (sort of) goalies who live in nets full of holes shouldn't throw stones.

Goalies are kind of like football kickers.

Their jobs are much different than the rest of their teammates. With that in mind, most regular football players aren't interested in motivational speeches from the little guy on the sideline who spends most of his time booting a ball into a practice net while the real gladiators are out on the field busting a variety of bones. Similarly, most hockey players aren't all that pumped up about receiving words of wisdom from the solitary figure at the end of the the rink who just stands there while the actual skaters get bashed into the boards.

In the past, NHL teams have attempted to bestow leadership positions on the masked marvels. The Vancouver Canucks, for example, even awarded the captaincy to Roberto Luongo a few years back. But the experiment was a short one, as Luongo quickly realized that it was tough to lead the troops when your sole responsibility should be focusing on keeping that pesky little black object out of your own net.

The truth is, goalies are often among the most intelligent athletes on the roster.

Ken Dryden is a celebrated author.

Kelly Hrudey is a successful broadcaster.

And Luongo himself is widely known for his witty remarks on Twitter.

However, in most cases, goalies should just shut up and play. And as we stated off the top, the same code of silence applies to goalie parents. It's easy to spot them at your local minor hockey rink. The mas and pas of puck stoppers usually huddle by themselves – a little removed from the rest of the puck parents.

There's a method to this separation.

Goalie parents aren't interested in hearing frustrated mutterings such as, "The sieve should have had that one!"

By the same token, parents of Johnny Hockey don't want to hear a goalie dad griping about the squad's leaky blue line brigade.

In the end, a goaltender has only one job on a hockey team.

Stop the puck.

You're much better off leaving the Tony Robbins’ speeches and strategy sessions to the coaches and the players wearing the letters on their sweaters.

Fortunately for Frederik Andersen, he was absolutely brilliant in his first start of the week in San Jose. The Leafs ended up losing again, 3-2 against the Sharks, but the Great Dane more than pulled his weight.

Yes, Andersen was seen and not heard.

And as it turns out, that's always the most effective way for a goalie to get his message across.

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