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Goalie coach corner



What was your career path as a player and coach?


I played as a goalkeeper until the age of 38. I started my career in the EHL and the American League. Then there was an initial expansion of the National League and I played for the Los Angeles Kings, the Blues of St. Louis and for the Canucks Vancouver, totaling 4 years in the NHL. I finally finished my career in the World League in Cincinnati. In total, I played for 18 years as a goalkeeper.

Then I decided to open a school of Hockey in Rouyn-Noranda. I had as main objective to help goalkeepers and share my experience. A little later, I finally was assistant coach for the Hartford Whalers before becoming coach of goalkeeper for the New Jersey Devils in 1993. It has been 16 years that I have been goalie coach for the Devils.


At the first Devils training camp, what was your impression of Martin's game?

I saw Martin play the previous year in the American League and I saw he had a huge talent. There were certainly elements to change in his style, but I was sure he would be able to improve.


Also at this first camp, did you suggest many corrections in Martin's game?

I made corrections, but not necessarily many. As a coach goalie, I think we should not change the strength of a player, but rather help it to improve their capabilities. With Martin, I did. His greatest weakness early in his career was mobility. We worked on his style to enable him to correct this weakness and it has worked to strengthen his strong points.


Was Martin was very observant and did he follow your instructions?

Martin has always been independent and intelligent, so he quickly understood what I showed him. It raised questions, was in control of himself and offered ideas for improvement. He always loved to practice and especially play. In this case, there was room for improvement.


Do you watch much video together for upcoming games?

Certainly, the videos are very important for Martin to address his deficiencies. We have a "meeting" before each practice and watch videos from the last game. As they say a picture is worth a thousand words.


During a game, do you speak to Martin between periods?

Yes, I will see him between periods to reiterate what he is doing right, as well as giving him constructive criticism. The important thing is that he remains confident and feels supported.


How is it that Martin can play so many games each season?

I think it's because Martin loves to play, simply. He is very strong mentally. He is a true leader. He does not perceive any negative pressure and remains positive. In fact, he has the attitude and mentality of a winner, so he is always ready to try again.


During all these years with Martin, is there any goalkeeper who had a style similar to his?

Currently, in the NHL, there are very few goalies who play like Martin. After all, Martin is considered one of the best goalkeepers of all time. The only one who had a style similar to Martin with his level of mobility was Chris Terreri, former goalkeeper of the Devils.


Three Stanley Cups were won by the New Jersey Devils, in 1995, 2000 and 2003. During which playoff series did Martin have the most success?

This is a really difficult choice to make, but I would say that it was in 1995, because there was the magic of the first Stanley Cup in the air. There is also the fact that the team had won all series on the road on itÕs way to the finals against Detroit, which was great.


Will you be Martin's coach until the end of his career?

It is 16 years that I have coached for the Devils and I will 70 soon, but I always promised Martin to stay with him until he beats the NHL goalie records. Let's say it's coming soon!


Benoit Philie -