The Washington Capitals coaching staff shakeup continues, as the Capitals, per @CSNCapitals, are expected to hire Nashville Predators goaltender coach Mitch Korn to the same position on Barry Trotz‘s staff. Korn has coached in the NHL since 1991 and had been with the Predators since 1998.
Mitch Korn’s claim to fame is probably coaching four time Vezina Trophy winner and future Hall of Famer Dominik Hasek while in Buffalo. Hasek has reportedly cited Korn as one of the biggest reasons for his success. Korn has also coached such goaltenders as Pekka Rinne and Grant Fuhr.
How will Korn help the Washington Capitals? Probably by helping Braden Holtby return to his old form and helping Philipp Grubauer develop whenever he comes into the NHL for good. Hopefully Korn can do with Holtby and Grubauer what he did with Hasek, Rinne, and Fuhr. If he does, that would be a huge help for the Washington Capitals, as they had rather inconsistent goalies the past two seasons.
Korn is known to have rather unusual methods for coaching and developing goaltenders, but his success defends his methods because they clearly work. His methods include using a “screen board” to simulate the goalie being screened, a “deflection board” to simulate deflections and back-door passes, a “high shot screen board” which helps goalies to pick up the puck in any situation, a “deflection ramp” which helps goaltenders deal with deflections with elevation, and “mini pucks” which are smaller pucks that help with vision and picking up the puck.
I’ve never heard of Korn’s methods and quite frankly, I think they’re quite weird, but I can’t argue with his success. I’d have to see how his props work on ice, but it sounds like they would definitely help to simulate specific scenarios and help goalies prepare for those scenarios. My goaltender coach back in travel league used smaller pucks to help our goalies pick up the puck better because, as he said, “If you guys can see these pucks, the pucks in games are going to seem that much bigger and be that much easier to pick up.” I talked to my friend who was the starting goalie, and he said it definitely worked.
It should be interesting to see how Korn does in Washington. He has two talented goaltenders to work with right now.