It's a position that requires a deep and intuitive understanding of geometry, mostly because millimetres matter.
That's why all NHL goaltenders spend considerable time practising their positioning, angles and movement, and this week Montreal's Carey Price and his coach Pierre Groulx have deployed a little technology to aid the effort.
Price has routinely taken to the ice before practice to do some solo work and has spent large swaths of the typical training camp sessions this week working one-on-one with Groulx (most of the zone drills take place at backup Peter Budaj's end). If you look closely you'll see a tripod and camera in the far corner of the rink, set close to the ice just north of the goal line, that is recording his every move.
"That's new this year, (Groulx) has got the iPad on the tripod going. I can't see myself out there, so just having another visual, then you come back and watch practice tape. Tomorrow we'll go over what we did today, and I think it really simplifies the explanation of what you're doing out there," the 25-year-old Price said.
Nuances are key in goaltending - too much effort draws you out of position just as surely as not trying hard enough - and Price has been working hard to nail down his timing, working on protecting his posts and honing his quickness and lateral movements.
Price has also made it plain he's determined to improve his performances in extra time - the Habs were a pathetic 4-13 in shootouts last year - something he said boils down to confidence in his fundamentals.
The camera eye, he said, allows him and Groulx to evaluate his depth in the net and whether he's covering his angles adequately (his teammates have been giving the stick side a workout in the shootout drills that close every practice).
It's a lot of work to cram into a week-long training camp, and Price said Groulx's ability to quickly scroll through footage - he can instantly call up Price's game highlights and practice tape from previous seasons - enables the two to discuss technical fixes on the spot.
It also allows Groulx, the lone holdover from last year's coaching staff because of his rapport with Price, to provide video explanations of what it is he's after "It's the way goaltending coaching has evolved . . . it makes a lot of sense, it's hard for a goaltending coach to explain it to you, it's easy to just point it out to you on video," Price said.
Showing, after all, is easier than telling.