As per usual, Pittsburgh Penguins goaltenders Matt Murray and Casey DeSmith were on the ice before most of their teammates Monday at PPG Paints Arena, along with team goalie coach Mike Buckley. The goalies stretch, warm up and work on various things under Buckley’s supervision before drills involving the full team commence. Some of the first skaters on the ice will often help out by taking some shots on the goalies.
Monday, though, part of the goalie pre-practice time looked different. An extra net was obtained from arena staff, and the two goalies manned nets that faced each other just several feet apart on either side of the crease (see the photo that accompanies this story).
They recruited a few players to provide some passes through, and shots from, the space between them.
“Just working on lateral movement and active hands,” DeSmith explained to Pittsburgh Hockey Now. “That’s something we’ve been working on a lot this fall – projection angle, taking the angle away when the shooter’s in tight like that (such as) a pass across.
“You want to have active hands because he’s in that tight and it’s kind of tough to react, so take the projection angle away.”
It’s not a normal drill for the Penguins goalies, at least not during the season.
“That’s something that you’ll see more often in summer in goalie practices, goalie-specific training,” DeSmith said.
Monday, they worked it into their regular-season ritual of doing goalie drills before the main part of practice. DeSmith laughed when he pointed out why they like having that time to work with Buckley.
“We do all of our goalie drills before everybody else gets out there and starts screwing it up,” he said.