|The following is an excerpt (page) from the web site "OVERDRIVEBLADE.COM" as presented by John McLeod, goalie 'extrordinaire' and inventor of the overdrive blade system for goalie skates. It's often said that goalies have to be the best skaters on the ice. I don't know if goalies are really better skaters but their movement requirements are far more complex. On any one play, a goalie skate may have to plant the foot solidly to power an explosive move and then stop on a dime, subtly shuffle sideways to keep an angle covered, drop to the ice and then secure one of a wide variety of recoveries. Mobility requirements like these put goaltending on a completely different level than players. The situation also creates a number of difficulties when it comes to getting a proper sharpening. Players skates (left drawing) really only move in 2 directions, forward and backward. The blades are too thin and too sharp to allow for much sideways sliding other than stops. Goalie blades (right drawing) must be able to move not only in all four directions but everything in between as well. So there's the goalies' dilemma, the same skate must be both sharp and dull. Somewhere in between the two is a happy medium that every goalie must find for himself. You can see why goalies are so finicky about their edges. The perfect balance of sharpness and dullness is a difficult thing to find and once you finally have it, getting consistency out of your skate sharpener or trainer can be frustrating. Skates that are too sharp will give you rock solid push but your feet will stick. You'll lose the ability to fine tune your angles with small shuffles and shooters will find the holes that don't get covered. Skates that are too dull will give you all of the sideways slide you need but none of the push. You'll be insecure about your moves because your footing is uncertain.
You'll play deeper in the net and go down early and often. It's critical that you find a cut you are comfortable with. A proper sharpening can cure numerous goaltending problems that remain unsolved. A poor cut can make life in nets a hell. Overdrive can simplify the sharpening situation by reducing the tradeoff required. You can play with slightly duller skates to get your sideways slide because Overdrive will back up your footing for a rock solid push.
|One Goalie's Preference|
|The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of convenience is forgotten|
|Precision Skate Sharpening|
|Goalie Skate Sharpening - . . . the crosscut is DEAD.|
|This is about goalie skates and how sharpening relates to them. Their skates need to offer more than just
protection to the goalie. The nature of the position is that goalies need stability and lateral movement, tons of both.
This they get from their skates. How they are sharpened determines just how stable they are on their feet and how
effectively they move side to side. It used to be that the only sharpening available was either regular or crosscut.
The regular sharpening had a fixed-length radius and was used for players, and the crosscut that was used by goalies. There are many more sharpening options available today, though the old school thinking is alive and well in the world of hockey. Crosscut sharpening creates little "track" lines perpendicular to the blade along its length thus allowing this side-to-side (lateral) movement of the feet without having to lift the skates off the ice. This worked well, especially when the alternative was considered, and at one time, it was the only option available. Goalies opting for the 'player' sharpening found themselves "catching edges" on the ice far too often. Having to lift their skates off the ice to avoid catching an edge was the price to pay for this choice. Also after repeated crosscut sharpening, much more steel is ground away from the center of the blade than the toe and heel areas leaving two "points of contact" with the ice. This was largely due to over grinding of the middle of the blade by sharpening attendants with limited experience. Still today, goalies will walk into a shop and ask for a 'regular' or 'just like a player' sharpening, only because they are unaware of some of the options available; options that will compliment their style, skill, experience and weight. So, what options are out there ?
|Goalie Blade Profile|
|Even goalie skates arrive 'brand new' with a profile, although there is much more blade (working radius) contacting the ice. Blade-Tek can maintain that 'new' profile or provide a customized one. If you want or need more blade on the ice or want less. Virtually any blade profile is possible. The average profile on a new goalie skate (size 8 - 9) is approx 120 to 130 mm (approx 4 inches) of working radius contacting the ice in a straight-up stance. This can be reduced or lengthened up to an amount that suits your particular needs or style of play, with either a straight-up, forward or backward lie.|
|Flat Cut - This is a sharpening that was popular with goaltenders many years ago. It is a horizontal cut (as opposed to the vertical crosscut). The sharpening stone is dressed with no radius, resulting in 90° inside and outside edges. This cut provides a lot of stability, lends itself to lateral movement and provides some braking. It can be classified as a utility cut ideal for new goaltenders or seasoned ones looking for just a little more from their skates. The edges are there, but not as pronounced and require a little getting used to.
Hollow Grind - If you remember the text on 'Radius', it applies here. Some shops have the ability, experience and equipment to sharpen skates with radius settings over and above what is generally available for 'regular' skates. Radius settings less than 1" will result in more "bite" than flat cuts, but limits the sliding and lateral movement. This is an ideal cut for goaltenders who are good skaters or tend to roam a little (they need the extra grab to get back to their crease quickly and then stop once they get there). Just like a player's skates, the edges must be maintained to be effective. There is risk of catching an edge until the goalie gets used to them.
Combination - This cut as the name implies is a combination of 'almost flat' and 'deeper hollow' sharpening. It offers the best of both alternatives, but on one pair of skates. The majority of the blade is flat cut or near flat and the toes (about the front 20%) hollowed out. This is a choice for those just wanting that little extra push when going post to post or move out to apply a poke check. Not many shops do this sharpen as it is too labour intensive for a busy shop.
So, there you have it, options for profiles and sharpening of goalie skates.
Offset - See "One Goalie's Preference below.
If you are considering changing how your goalie skates are sharpened, let me suggest NOT doing so in the middle of the season or just prior to an important run at a playoff spot. Any significant change, especially to the skates, requires some getting used to. Many goalie instructors advise their students to opt for deep hollows to accomodate a more aggressive skating/roaming style (into corners or behind the net) and to assist with many butterfly styles. Many are now opting for 1/2" and deeper hollows - which provides a lot of bite.
|Goalie Blade Sharpening|
|I use to have nothing but problems with my edges but happily, with the sharpening I use now, those days are gone. When you shuffle sideways, you push off using the inside edge. The outside has to stay out of the way so it doesn't catch and slow you down or even cause a sprained ankle. The cut I use is called an offset cut, which means that the inside edge is higher (or lower, depending on how you look at it) than the outside edge. The little drawing exaggerates things because it's very hard to see the offset. This cut works well because on a push, the inside edge is there like a sharp point and on shuffles the outside edge is up and not in the way as much. They still think I'm a little crazy though because I get a very deep players groove. It's way too sharp to use so I then dull it down (mostly the outside edge) until it's comfortable and then it not only works great but also lasts forever. I play a lot, all year long and I'm no slouch when it comes to movement and I've had one sharpening last up to 6 months (that includes summer ice). Also, it seems to survive at least a few hits to the goalpost. It's a real treat to go on the ice and not worry if the edges are going to be all right; in fact I don't even think of them at all any more. Skate sharpening is a very personal thing so I don't want to dictate here. If you're happy with what you've got then I wouldn't change it but if you're stuck in a sharpening hell, you might want to ask around about this cut or at least try a deeper groove and then dull down the outside edge.|
|One Goalie's Preference - What I Do|