(Note: Thanks to my faithful commenter Jack for mentioning butterflies in commenting on my first post about hockey jargon. I didn't remember it in time for that one, but it was waiting in my notes for this part two.)
If you're listening to Blackhawks hockey games more than watching them, it may be difficult to imagine what's going on when the announcer says that a goalie "makes a butterfly save" or "goes into the butterfly."
Watching the games makes it easier, but the speed of the action may still make the butterfly hard to see. Never fear! Here's the explanation:
Think of a butterfly's shape -- widest at the top, with high wings sticking way out, and lower wings also sticking out and down.
Thus, the "butterfly position" for goaltenders echoes that shape -- arms out, legs reaching for the lower edges of the net (or, ideally, blocking the whole goal line, or bottom of the net).
Some announcers refer often to the butterfly, but others rarely mention it -- even when both goalies in a game use the position often, they can, er, flit away from it very quickly. Corey Crawford of the Blackhawks seems to rely on the position, perhaps because it protects against low shots while leaving the arms and stick free to stop middle and high ones.
Now, if only butterflies were free!