VHS: I Think There’s A Cream For That

March 7th, 2012: Gustavsson’s most recent mistake using VHS.

Though not technically a disease, the use of the Vertical-Horizontal Stance (VHS) has become a debilitating condition for several goaltenders across the league, and for some time, it has been my own casual observation that Gustavsson has been too easily victimized in this position throughout the year. In truth, it was really only a rash (forgive the pun) in the middle of the season. 

So what’s the treatment, doc?

Well, for starters, a cease and desist should be placed on our friend Jonas. Justin Goldman has written repeatedly on the dangers of over-using the VHS, and had this to say:

Overall, the VHS has many pitfalls that cause a goalie to appear rigid, constricted and vulnerable to many different kinds of shots. Unless you have the flexibility of an NHL goalie, you will probably exert too much energy popping into and out of the VHS. It will “freeze” a goalie and lock them into an awkward stance that doesn’t allow them to have a free range of movement and it can be very difficult to effectively cover back-door passes. It’s also not easy to stay balanced and in control when going into and out of the stance.

I went through every single goal scored against Gustavsson this season, and noted every single one that was a direct result of misuse of the VHS.

Now, perhaps it’s nothing, but for some odd reason, between October 20th and November 25th, Gustavsson only gave up one such goal. Between November 27th and December 27th, however, Gustavsson had given up 6. Sure, it’s probably a sample size thing, and there could also be any number of other possible explanations, but it’s intruiging, nonetheless.

In which Corey Perry picks the spot over Gustavsson’s shoulder.


Check below the list for more.


Oct. 20: Boston vs. Toronto 0/6
Oct: 22: Montréal vs. Toronto 0/3 (Partial game)
Oct 24: Toronto vs. Philadelphia 1/4
Oct 27: Toronto vs. NY Rangers 0/2
Oct 29: Pittsburgh vs. Toronto 0/3
Oct 30: Toronto vs. Ottawa 0/3

Nov 2: Toronto vs. New Jersey 0/3
Nov 5: Boston vs. Toronto 0/2 (Partial game)
Nov 7: Florida vs. Toronto 0/3 (Partial game)
Nov 19: Washington vs. Toronto 0/1
Nov 22: Toronto vs. Tampa Bay 0/1
Nov 25: Toronto vs. Dallas 0/3
Nov 27: Toronto vs. Anaheim 1/2
Nov 30: Boston vs. Toronto 2/6

Dec 5: Toronto vs. NY Rangers 1/2
Dec 17: Vancouver vs. Toronto 1/5
Dec 27: Toronto vs. Florida 1/2

Jan 3: Tampa Bay vs. Toronto 0/3
Jan 5: Winnipeg vs. Toronto 0/0
Jan 7: Detroit vs. Toronto 1/3
Jan 10: Buffalo vs. Toronto 0/0
Jan 13: Toronto vs. Buffalo 2/3
Jan 14: NY Rangers vs. Toronto 0/3
Jan 19: Minnesota vs. Toronto 1/1
Jan 21: Montréal vs. Toronto 0/3
Jan 23: NY Islanders vs. Toronto 0/0
Jan 24: Toronto vs. NY Islanders 0/3
Jan 31: Toronto vs. Pittsburgh 1/4

Feb 7: Toronto vs. Winnipeg 0/2
Feb 11: Montréal vs. Toronto 0/5
Feb 14: Toronto vs. Calgary 0/5
Feb 18: Toronto vs. Vancouver 0/2
Feb 21: New Jersey vs. Toronto 0/4
Feb 29: Toronto vs. Chicago 0/5

Mar 3: Toronto vs. Montréal 0/1
Mar 6: Boston vs. Toronto 0/5
Mar 7: Toronto vs. Pittsburgh 1/3


Gustavsson deflects the puck through his own gaping five-hole.

Up to this point in the season, misuse of VHS has cost the Leafs upwards of 13 goals on the season. Using Chemmy’s pythagorean goal differential chart, we can see that this alone could have been a significant difference. Right now, the Leafs are on pace to finish with 236 goals for, and 247 goals against, which should land them squarely outside of the playoffs. Subtract 13 goals from that goals-against total (I know, I know, it’s a pretty rough calculation), and the Leafs would be on pace to only allow 231 goals, which would have them right on the edge of a playoff birth.

Oh, and did I mention that this is only accounting for goals stemming from Jonas Gustavsson’s misused VHS? I don’t think I have the stomach to discover that James Reimer has been equally bad with this particular stance, so to be honest, although I haven’t noticed it as often with him, I can’t bring myself to look it up.

Now, I should add a somewhat conciliatory note here, because as a player, you are taught that winning and losing as a team are axiomatic. The second you begin to blame individuals for goals is the moment you fall apart as a team. Right or wrong, it’s because of this that I can’t bring myself to completely blame Jonas Gustavsson for this mess, but I think we can agree by now that it’s time that he goes.

January 19th, 2012: This one cost Gustavsson a shutout.

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  • That goalie stance looks awkward so I can see how it might lead to goals.

    What I would be curious about is how many goals have been scored on Leaf goalies when they drop to both knees early only to allow the shooter to score a goal high over their shoulders.

  • I thought this was going to be a fun little progression piece; Toskala was 8mm, Reimer was Betamax, Gustavsson VHS, and what we really need is blu-ray goaltending to get the clearest picture of what the Leafs could do in a season.

    But now I’m just depressed haha

  • Because I played goal at a pretty high level and had a couple goalie coahes that were drafted, I’ve ALWAYS hated how was handled with the Leafs. What I’ve learned from my past coaches is to play to your strengths and I think Allaire is taking that option away from Gustavsson. When we see him reacting and playing his game he plays much better. I think that hearing over and over about how amazing Allaire is has maybe gotten into our goalies heads and sometimes causes them to think too much instead of just reacting. For example, earlier this season we saw Gus trying to block shots to his high glove instead of just simply catching the puck and freezing it. I think that the “blocking” style that really takes Gus’ strengths, his athleticism and flexibility, might be being over taught to him. Sometimes there is such a thing as over coaching a player.