Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Q-Trap Has Fuhr Working Less, but Casey's Not Working More

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Q-Trap Has Fuhr Working Less, but Casey's Not Working More

Article excerpt

Goalies by tradition are a special breed among hockey players.

So maybe it's only natural that to Blues goalie Grant Fuhr, less is not more.

"This is the least busiest I've ever been," said Fuhr, who has been with five teams in his 16th National Hockey League season. "Like everybody else, you've got to adjust to it." He has gone the distance in all eight games of the Joel Quenneville regime, and is expected to face Toronto tonight at Maple Leaf Gardens. Coach Q, as the players call him, has installed a modified trap defense. Fuhr has faced an average of just 24.3 shots per game. That's more than a four-shot drop from the average for 33 games under Mike Keenan. "Grant's used to a heavy workload and higher quality shots," Quenneville said. "He's been playing solid. I have no complaints about Grant. "I haven't talked to him about it, but he probably likes fewer shots, lower quality shots. Why don't you ask him?" The answer was not an unqualified thumbs up. "It's a little more fun to be a little busier than that," Fuhr said, smiling. "But you don't mind seeing fewer quality chances." Quenneville, in earshot of that comment, had a hearty laugh. Since Coach Q came aboard, Fuhr's two most important statistics have improved. His winning percentage has jumped from .559 to .625. And his goals-against average has dipped from 2.99 to 2.88. Fuhr's save percentage, paradoxically, tumbled from .897 to .881. Backup goalie Jon Casey tried to explain: "When you face more shots, you 're reacting, you're warmer, you're more active to make the save. "When you see fewer shots, your body's stiff." Fuhr laughed and said, "It's not the body that seizes up. It's the mind." Specifically, it's the flow of the game more than just the ebb of shots. Keenan's puck-chasing style created the back-and-forth, basketball tempo that keeps goalies in a warm rhythm. …

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