Origins of the Butterfly Style

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Teamplaya, Oct 1, 2018.

  1. Teamplaya

    Teamplaya Registered User

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    Here's a question for you guys: who invented butterfly style goaltending, and who contributed most to it in your opinion?

    It seems like Glenn Hall is firmly the one to have invented it, or at least started putting the idea in peoples heads that goal could be played that way, even if the league was still dominated by standup players.

    Vladislav Tretiak is another one, and his style was interesting because it combined elements of standup with butterfly as we know it today: a lot of people have said he resembles a modern butterfly goaltender even in his old 70's footage. His emphasis on placement and conservation of movement almost reminds me of Antti Niemi at his best, made all the more interesting given that Tretiak was only 6'1, so not robust by modern butterfly standards.

    Even still, it seems like Patrick Roy gets the most credit, probably because of the sheer amount of success he had, his consistency, and the fact that he really cemented the trend and had others start replicating it.

    Forgive the weird format, but I'm curious what other names are out there and what people think.
     
  2. Iron Mike Sharpe

    Iron Mike Sharpe Registered User

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    Tony Esposito is the one I remember from the 70s. He didn't play stapled to the net like they do now, he would come out to cut off the angle as in standup style, but he had this unique thing he would do where he would come out to cut off the angle & then back up a bit to get into butterfly position for the save. He was super quick in making the transition, he had lightning quick reflexes. I'd say he was the best goalie of the 70s, but unfortunately the team in front of him wasn't anywhere near as good as he was.
     
  3. quoipourquoi

    quoipourquoi Goaltender

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    In terms of who contributed the most, I would say Francois Allaire. He observed what others were doing in Europe in the late-1970s and added training methods from both Canada and Japan to shape 1983’s “Hockey Goaltending for Young Players”.

    The butterfly as a save selection already existed, but Allaire evolved it into a skating technique - with the major identifier being sharp skates over dull ones.

    Roy in Granby was arriving at similar conclusions independent of Allaire, including once telling Jacques Plante to his face “You’re one of the greatest goalies of all-time, but I don’t believe that what you’re asking me to do is right.”

    They landed in Sherbrooke at the same time, and Roy’s height and leg strength (and that he was already using the butterfly as a save selection quite frequently) made him the best test subject for Allaire. Together they won the Calder Cup immediately.

    From a previous thread:



    One pad face down, one pad elevated, sharp skates to push off. We talk about the padding, but the key to the butterfly's transition from save selection to a complete style was the changeover from goaltenders using dull skates for lateral movement to instead sliding on padding with a sharper skate to create motion from the butterfly position.

    The rotation of the pads and Roy playing Dr. Frankenstein with his equipment was subsequent to the original goal: generating additional movement from a position that offered better percentages than standing upright.
     
  4. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    3-time Stanley Cup champion HHOFer "Praying Bennie" was the first NHL goalie to go down on his knees (hence the nickname) and the NHL changed the rulebook to officially allow him to keep doing it.
     
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  5. quoipourquoi

    quoipourquoi Goaltender

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    Should throw out Michel Lefebvre as an additional name. His implementation of Patrick Roy’s design ideas from 1989-onward helped optimize goaltending equipment for the style. While it could be performed with essentially any equipment (even the heavy stuff), Lefebvre’s work greatly assisted with the cookie-cutter mass-production of butterfly goaltenders who didn’t necessarily meet the same athletic standards.

    Not sure who designed the first model that sealed the five-hole with right angles, but I don’t care for that sorcery.
     
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  6. Sanf

    Sanf Registered User

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    Yes... But PCHA changed the rule first I believe in 1916. The reason was that it happened so ofhen and created unnecessary stoppages. Clint Benedict may have used it the most and "popularized" it, but I doubt strongly that he was the first or the only.

    Seen many game recaps where goalies are mentioned to do it.. Even Vezina did it. First mention of it that I have found goes back to 1888... (Harry Patton)

    The Montreal Gazette - Mar 12, 1888

    The feature of the game was T.Arntons fine clean goal keeping in marked contrast to Patton´s who was falling on his knees continually, thus preventing the Vics scoring on several occasions.
     
  7. Teamplaya

    Teamplaya Registered User

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    It's interesting to note that it seems like elements of butterfly style have been in the game for ages, but it's only been recently that goalies have been building their entire game (see Roy) around falling to their knees. Tretiak was interesting in that he seemed to change between being butterfly and standup so effortlessly, also noting that he was brilliant playing standup just by itself. He seemed to take the very best assets of standup and added his soviet butterfly magic. I love the mystery surrounding Tretiak: retired at 32, so few North Americans knew about him, but he still had such an impact on the North American game even after he hung up the skates.
     
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  8. quoipourquoi

    quoipourquoi Goaltender

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    For sure. Changing the way goaltenders skate actually made it viable in more situations.

    Consider the 2-on-1. Butterfly goalie can dig a sharp skate into the ice, push off, face the shot, and still be upright for the second chance. If you’re still on dull blades, you won’t have that same lateral speed on a push, so you can lose timing if you even try sliding across - which is why you’ll see more hip turns, pushes, and double pad stacks back into the crease or hip turns, pushes, and quick square-ups.

    It’s like sliding a Pong paddle. You have a better chance of hitting the ball if you’re always facing it than if you’re rotating into it.
     
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