Rick St. Croix hired as Leafs Goaltending Coach
St. Croix spent parts of seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
He served as an assistant for the Winnipeg Jets in the late 1980â€²s and was the Dallas Starsâ€™ goalie coach when they won their Stanley Cup in 1999 with Ed Belfour, and later the goaltending coach for Marty Turco.
Most recently, St. Croix was goaltending coach for the Manitoba Moose and worked with Cory Schneider, Eddie Lack and Eddie Pasquale with great success. He worked with Randy Carlyle in Manitoba.
St. Croix has been running his own popular goaltending school for roughly 20 years.
Justin Goldman of the Goalie Guild answered some questions from Alec about the goaltending coach switch.
I’m interested in your thoughts on which goalies in the Leaf system you think will benefit from a change in the change of philosophy under the new coach?
It’s impossible to know for sure which goalie(s) will benefit from a change in the goalie coaching philosophy, as only time will tell depending on Allaire’s replacement. If I had to speculate, however, I think Jussi Rynnas is likely to benefit the most. I think this is due to the fact he was very successful in the SM-liiga playing for Assat behind his exemplary combination of size and raw athleticism. Under Allaire’s guidance, I was beginning to worry that his raw athleticism would be over-refined to the point it no longer allowed him to move and make saves in a manner that was natural for him. I am by no means discrediting Allaire’s work with Rynnas, as Allaire develops goalies into more consistent and economical goalies, and that is a necessary part of every goalie’s evolution. I am just saying that bringing a raw-skilled Finnish goaltender over to North America and having him transform his game so suddenly is a very fragile and somewhat dangerous process. Change things too much, and it can become a negative. That being said, I’m really excited to see how Rynnas will play for the Marlies this season. I want him to retain a fair amount of athleticism, because that is how he feels comfortable playing, and sometimes you just have to let a goalie do their thing. Every goalie is different, and especially for Finnish goalies, their unique athleticism and aggressiveness is par for the course. Pekka Rinne is a perfect example of this; his game was refined slowly over many years by Mitch Korn, but that aggressive athleticism was not “coached out” or removed from his game, and that allowed Rinne to become one of the best Finnish goalies in the world.
I’m sure the loss of Allaire is frustrating news for Scrivens. So much of his success over the past two seasons stems from Allaire’s long-term guidance. I know that Scrivens will continue to work with Allaire whenever he can, But at the end of the day, I’m sure Scrivens realizes he has to move on, and he has to be receptive to what the new Leafs goalie coach brings to the table. Every goalie goes through this at some point in their career — they establish a foundation and a friendship with one goalie coach, but are forced to work with other coaches depending on where they play and practice (especially in the summer). Every pro goalie has the awareness to implement the things that work, and for the things that don’t work, you at least take some time to try it out in practice. A goalie must be open to new ideas, new philosophies, new tweaks and adjustments. It is the only way to truly grow and evolve as a goalie. To be close-minded and stubborn is to really stick a wrench in your own development. Every goalie at the pro level understands this, so while losing Allaire as a full-time coach stings, it’s not the end of the world. A goalie must also be able to manage their own game after a while; a goalie can’t become dependent on their goalie coach. So I personally and honestly think that Scrivens has spent enough time with Allaire to where he now has a solid foundation permanently cemented into his game, and now any new ideas and new coaches actually bodes well for his future. Change is good. It keeps things fresh. A goalie must be able to manage their game and improve certain elements on their own, and now is the time for Scrivens to take it upon himself to do some of those things. He is a very smart kid, a very promising prospect, and I’m not worried about him in the least bit.