Man in the Thermoset Composite Mask: What Your Tendy Wishes You Understood
It’s pretty easy to blame a tendy. You hear fans grumbling after a loss, “Merf merf Quick, if only…” I know there have been times this season when I’ve said, “if only Bernier had been in net!” There have also been times when Quick has been that spectacularly brilliant guy, recalling the name of every pope and constellation, standing at the chalkboard in AP Calculus doing mental math, just to sit down to a corndog lunch, ketchup and mustard dribbling down his Dragon Ball Z t-shirt. And by corndog lunch, I obviously mean stick handling.
There was a man beside me at a game that had plans to install an electric dog collar to lightly shock Quick every time he went outside a King’s fan’s comfortable net radius. In our last game versus Anaheim, Quick fell yards away from the crease during an uber-aggressive poke check and the Ducks scored on an empty net. My mother noted this was an interesting combination of the Smells like Teen Spirit angst of Mike Smith and the blubbery Porpoise Sedin dive.
In all the Playoff breakdowns, team versus team, Jonathan Quick is commonly noted as our greatest strength, even before our star scorers Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar. Yeah, this season we’ve seen a little Amanda Bynes action out of him. But no one can disagree that he is what science refers to as, “the best goddamn fucking goaltender in the league.” Your part time male model Henrik Lundqvist and his Centre for Kids who Can’t Read Good be damned.
Lots of us grew up playing hockey, but very few of us grew up playing goalie. We would sprint from the bus stop to the ODR (outdoor rink) knowing that someone would have to be the tendy… and FUCK THAT NOT IT NO CALL BACKS (finger to nose). Because by the tender age of 7, I was already 5’8 and faster than most kids, I never really had to play the net, except when expressly forced by a coach. And even then, it was clear I was better used in any position that would involve taking someone out.
At the beginning of every season, I set an intention to learn something new about the game of hockey. My personal goal for this season was to better understand Quick’s choices: to continue to improve my knowledge of the game beyond memorizing stats. I knew I would need a mentor to answer all the questions I had for the man behind the mask, so I interviewed a professional goaltender (who asked to remain anonymous) to shed some light on Jonathan Quick.
On the playoff Game One Quick behind the net faux pas:
“If we are on the PP I will want to be getting the dump ins quickly out to control the puck, either helping set up for a quick breakout or make a pass to my Dmen or a stretch pass to the forwards further up the ice to catch the other team on a change… I want to trap a forechecker behind the play creating another man advantage…Unfortunately Quick didn’t expect that forechecker to continue behind the net… they usually just peel away after a little fake. Quick tried to rim it off the glass, but I think the puck was too close to his feet… he misplayed it. He could have gotten the pass away much faster. It was the right choice to leave the net though.”
On Quick’s coming out… of the net or why he shouldn’t just sit there like a lame duck:
“The advantages of being aggressive with your depth are big. We fill a lot more net when we come out to challenge. If the shooter crosses the blue line and I am still in my crease, the chances of a goal are pretty big… there’s a lot of net to shoot at. But if I am 4 or 5 feet outside the paint then the scoring chances drop. And Quick is a big, athletic goaltender….
If the tendy butterflies on the shot [that far out], his shoulders will be above the crossbar in relation to the puck… Also, I think it’s more intimidating to see a tendy prepared to challenge aggressively, it puts doubts in the shooter’s mind… the players will attempt to deke and the chances of the puck being mishandled skyrocket” [except you Kaner, you slippery bastard].
“The key to being aggressive with depth and successful is matching the attacker’s speed… it makes it easier to slide to either post on the deke. Most of the time when people are yelling, ‘QUICK GET IN THE NET’, the mistake could be reading the speed of the attacker or the appropriate depth.”
I also wanted to ask him what it was like being a tendy.
On what player habits bother a tendy most:
“Don’t deke and light the lamp during warm up. Don’t say, “How are you tired, you just stand there” after a game or practice. “
(Typical Girl Question): What are you thinking about?
“How fast are the players coming? Are we outnumbered? Who is following up the play? Do we need a change? Is the blade open or closed on a shot? Is he looking to pass? What leg is his weight positioned over? Where is he looking?”
What is the biggest problem shot?
“A problem shot is over the shoulder and past the head. We have to roll to the side, and bring the catcher or blocker up to that area to fill the space. Usually if you have enough depth, as I think I said before, it will hit the shoulder.”
On screens and deflection shots…
“If the opposing team is smart, they will put a big guy [Pennercakes?... haha, yeah exactly] in front of the me to screen a shot. I will try to look around him and position myself square to where the puck is… The blocking butterfly save is made when I see, feel, or hear, [or divinely foresees] that puck has been released. And get ready to control that rebound! [like a pretty teenage daughter]
How does it feel when the crowd wants to pull you, example Quick for Bernier:
“It is important not to let any external thoughts start to enter your mind during a practice or game… the less things bother you, the more focused you can be… You have to be someone that enjoys that pressure… Thrives on it… and uses it to fuel a great performance. I usually find the higher the stakes, the better I play. It’s how I’m wired, but I believe most of us [goaltenders] are like that. It can be a very lonely position at times… But I like the fact that a big save can swing the momentum of a game… give my team a boost.”
So I raise a glass to you awkward tendy in the corner of the locker room who doesn’t speak. I will no longer judge you while I get pumped up dancing around to Britney and you sit there counting floor tiles. And I’m sorry about that one time I shot a puck at your mask before a game, because I was showing off for a dude. You know how it goes.
So cheers to you, tendy! May you finally be heard.