Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Retired NHL goalies often in no rush to play position
Lack of competitiveness, physical, mental reasons are why most prefer forward, defenseman in special games
by Kevin Woodley / Correspondent
12:00 AM
VANCOUVER -- Martin Brodeur and Marty Turco will each be in goal at the Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Classic game Sunday, but that isn't the preferred position for most former NHL goaltenders.
Outside of big events like the Legends Classic or alumni games, retired goalies aren't usually keen to strap the pads back on.
Even Brodeur, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Monday as the all-time leader among goalies in games played (1,266), wins (691) and shutouts (125), SAID this could be the last time he's in the crease.
"I am going to put the pads on one more time," Brodeur told NHL Network. "I think that's going to be it, because getting prepared for that one, the body is not feeling as well as I thought."
Brodeur, 46, isn't alone among former NHL goalies who rarely play the position anymore. Many, like 2011 Hall of Fame inductee Ed Belfour, who is a captain at the Legends Classic, only play forward or defenseman. 
The reasons vary. For some it's physical, for others it's mental, for many it's a combination. But most goaltenders are pretty much done with the position once they retire.

"As a young goalie coming up, I thought how could any ex-goalie not play? How is that even possible? There's no way," said NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes, who played 348 games in 11 NHL seasons before retiring in 2009. "Sure enough, I'd see guys I played with saying 'I don't play anymore' and I'd be like 'what's wrong with that guy,' but after living the reality of being a goalie in the League, I understood. As much as I loved it, it's a very isolating role and the expectations, the pressure, the commitment all ended up being all-consuming emotionally, psychologically, physically and mentally."
The idea of jumping back into that mode doesn't appeal to many ex-goalies, especially since alumni games and beer league hockey doesn't have the same intensity or structure NHL goalies channeled and relied on their entire careers.

San Jose Sharks goaltending coach Johan Hedberg, who retired in 2013 after playing 373 NHL games in 12 seasons, had no problem putting his pads on to give Sharks No.1 Martin Jones a break in practice last season. But the 45-year-old would rather face NHL shooters half his age than play goal in charity games or alumni events.

"I think that's what everybody feels," said San Jose Sharks goaltending coach Johan Hedberg, who retired in 2013 after 373 NHL games over 12 seasons.
Like a lot of NHL goalies, the style of game that awaits after retirement is a big factor for Hedberg, 45. Alumni games don't have the same intensity or structure NHL goalies channeled and relied on their entire career. Hedberg had no problem putting on pads to give Sharks No.1 goalie Martin Jones a break in practice last season, but he has no interest beyond facing current NHL shooters.

"It is fun to play against really good players, but to play shinny games against other 45- or 50-year-olds, it doesn't really attract me," Hedberg said. "I've done it and I don't enjoy it at all. I can see why goalies play out: You want to do what players do, float around and get a breakaway and score instead of stand there for 45 seconds, get a breakaway, get scored on, wait another minute and a half and get another 2-on-1 or breakaway. That's not fun to me."

Martin Biron, who played 508 NHL games as a goalie over 16 seasons before retiring in 2013, can relate. The 41-year-old works as a television analyst for the Buffalo Sabres and is on the ice regularly as director of goaltending at the HarborCenter Academy of Hockey but doesn't play much goal beyond three Legends Classic appearances.

"For years and years, the competitive juices keep you going in practice and in games and giving up a goal is the end of the world. And when you just play with your buddies, the competitiveness is not there," Biron said. "You can still go out and make a bunch of saves and flash the leather, but from the time you were 12 until the time you were 38, you have been told you are trying to win 1-0 or 2-1, and then you play in these games and the score is 14-12 and you are supposed to be OK with that and have fun with it, and I'm like, 'That's not fun, I just gave up 14 goals.'
"You laugh about it and joke, but the truth is that's not hockey for a goalie," Biron said. "For a player it's, 'I scored three goals, skated down the wing, and made some good passes,' so their game doesn't really change all that much, or the fun part of the game doesn't change. For a goalie, the fun part of the game is completely different."

Alex Auld has played goal twice in five years since retiring in 2013 after 237 NHL games over 10 seasons, and once was in place of Canucks goaltender Kirk McLean, who takes part in alumni games but not as a goalie. Auld, 37, takes a similar approach.

"I worry if I play in net instincts would take over and I might do something my body could not handle anymore, but when I am playing [defenseman] or forward, I already know my limits," Auld said. "If I play out for charity, expectations are low, but if I play in net I have to post a shutout or I am a failure. Part of the reason you leave the game is you don't want the pressure anymore, and as much as that seems silly, I don't want to deal with that."
It doesn't sound silly to Hedberg, especially in a wide-open game that doesn't resemble his NHL experiences.
"If I play against beer leaguers I am supposed to stop the puck and I just get [angry] if I can't do it anymore," he said. "So, it's a bit of shame, too, that I can't do what I once could and I don't want to put myself in that position."
A lot of retired NHL goalies feel the same way.
If you need a sign to stay alive tonight, this is it!
Thanks given by: Gerry Pigeon
Bunch of whiners.
Thanks given by:
Take 2 18 year old kids from the local league and put them in net.

oh wait, you want them to let goals in while people don't try. sounds like the allstar game.

not interested, don't care.
Thanks given by:
Did anyone see Auld play? Didn't look like he was in the big of a rush to play the position then.
Thanks given by:
You don't have to be retired to not want to play the position. Don't believe me? Exhibit A - Cam Talbot.
A leader without followers is just a person taking a walk...
Thanks given by:
Wow, not too much empathy for goalies on here.

I thought the article was insightful, kind of explains why goalies are considered flakey, different. Tough position. Others get to score and play hero, but goalies just try to avoid being the goat every game. Add the physical toll and it's no wonder not many are anxious to get between the pipes after retirement.
Thanks given by: Sam S.
Goalies are the hero often enough. If they are having a dominant game the crowd can be on their feet or at least cheering very loudly 5, 10, or even more times in a game. That simply does not happen for goal scorers.

The real unsung heroes of the game are the defensive minded D-men. They can be HUGE contributors to a victory but get little to no adulation from the fans at the rink.
"I drink to make other people interesting"
~ E. Hemmingway
Thanks given by: Gerry Pigeon
I tried full goalie gesr once in highschool and it was insane . read up more on why they drink water literally every chance they get (at least players in my league). Reading up made me realize how physically draining it is to put on all the gear. Add the mental toughness needed, insane position to play
If you need a sign to stay alive tonight, this is it!
Thanks given by:

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)