The Will to Compete, Battle, Adjust, and Win

With 90+ seconds left in Game Six of the Cup Finals with the score tied 3-3, Chicago goaltender Antti Niemi makes a save many are saying allowed the Hawks to win the Cup.

Watching it, is there any real technique he used? Not even close.

Does he appear to get a good read on the developing play to know what is about to happen? Nope. There is no evidence he even knew Jeff Carter from the Flyers (#17) had come around the net and Niemi seems a bit surprised, based on his head movement and decision on how to move with the pass, when Carter receives the puck .

So how did Niemi come up with a save leading to the Hawks winning the Cup?

It was solely his will to beat Carter be making himself as big as he could after he made a wrong decision in reaction to the pass across the top of the crease. He knew he was beat being on his stomach so he lifted his blocker from the ice to as high as he probably could get it  as he slid across the ice in the fraction of a second.

The result, make the save off his elevated shoulder and giving the Hawks the opportunity to win the game in OT.

Net Lesson: Never give up on a play regardless of what you think the outcome will be. Too many goalies quit when they knew they’re beat. Successful goalies constantly have to adjust to the circumstance, but, unless they have the will to win every battle, they will fall short. The game of hockey is all about competing – make sure every time you’re on the ice, you are there to win your battles.

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