Home > Goalie Terminology, NHL > Weak Side vs. Strong Side

Weak Side vs. Strong Side

If you skate out occasionally the terms Weak Side and Strong Side refer to what side of the ice the puck is on. If you split the rink down the middle at the red line, whichever side of the red line the puck is on, that is the Strong Side and the other side of the red line is the Weak Side. When it comes to goaltending there is also a weak side and a strong side. It is not to confusing until you throw into the mix those southpaw or full-right goalies (such as myself).

The weak side of a goaltender is the blocker/stick side. This by default makes the goalie’s catcher/glove side their strong side. You have more weight on your blocker side arm, so your movements are not as fast as your glove side arm. Because of the extra weight, a goalie cannot react as fast to a shot towards the blocker side. A great shooter can snipe the puck anywhere they want, but a good shooter knows to try to place their shots towards the weak side.

On the other hand (no pun intended) is the strong side or catcher/glove hand. With less weight and overall bulkiness (no stick) a goaltender has much more flexibility and reaction. There is also the direction your hand is facing that allows for quicker speed. On your blocker side your palm is facing behind you whereas on your glove hand your palm is facing forward. You can more easily and quickly bend your arm than you can extend it, this is why a goaltender can make those flashy glove saves.

Us southpaw’s in general like to throw a wrench into life. Left handed pitchers dominate in baseball, manufactures have to make special scissors, golf courses are easier for lefties, and even goaltenders need custom equipment made. When talking in respect to weak side and strong side, the sides are flipped. So the blocker side of a full-right goalie is still their weak side, but most shooters do not recognize that the blocker is on the left hand and end up shooting strong, glove side and wonder why they keep getting robbed. We are in the minority, but there are still plenty of successful full-right goalies who have made it to the NHL.

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  1. December 21, 2011 at 1:10 pm

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