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Pay Attention To Your Surroundings

Hockey Referee Penalty Signal. Image Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesWe are always told to stay focused on the puck. Always know where it is. Never lose sight of it. Just like things in life work best when in balance and do not go too far in either extreme direction, the same can be said about your focus on the puck. If you become so focused on the puck you’ll probably end up with tunnel vision and not be aware of your surroundings.

One of the things a goaltender might miss is when there is a penalty pending for the opposing team. As soon as the referee’s hand goes up and you notice your team is in possession of the puck, it is time to skate as hard as you can to your bench in order to let an extra attacker on. The whistle will be blown as soon as an opposing player touches the puck or goes out of play, so you have no fear of giving up an empty net goal.

By missing out on the opportunity to get an extra attacker on the rink, you rob your team of a potential scoring opportunity advantage. Granted you are getting a power play, but having that extra 5 to 120 seconds prior to the power play could be a game changer. I do not want to get into the “What if” game, but what if your team does not score on the power play, you just lost out on two scoring chances.

I will save talking about when it is safe to look away from the puck for another post, but when the puck is in the opposing defensive zone, you have enough time to scan the entire zone. Follow the puck, but also check for where your defensemen are lined up. Are they pinching too much? Is there a Center or Wing trying to intercept a pass for a breakaway? Finally, does the referee have their hand up indicating a potential penalty?

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