The Key to the Bruins' Goalkeeping Success Has Been Uncovered

Dorin Canaday
April 13, 2023  (2:19 PM)

At this stage, it should be clear which team boasts the best goaltending tandem in the NHL, but what makes the Bruins duo stand out?

In a recent article by the The Athletic, Fluto Shinzawa conducted an in-depth analysis of the exceptional performance of Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark this season.
Illustrating the excellence of Boston's goalkeepers:
‘'The Bruins have allowed a league-low 170 goals in 2022-23. Unless things really go sideways against the Canadiens — to the tune of allowing 36-plus goals — Ullmark and Swayman will share the Jennings Trophy, awarded annually to the goalies for the NHL's stingiest team.''

The Tale of Goalie Bob

Ultimately, the primary contributor to the duo's success can be attributed to goalie coach Bob Essensa. Known as ‘'Goalie Bob,'' he has been with the Bruins since 2003 and, as Shinzawa pointed out, has mentored some outstanding goaltenders.
''That Essensa has expressed peak performance out of puck-stopping variants like Thomas, Rask, Ullmark and Swayman — other pupils include Manny Fernandez, Felix Potvin and Chad Johnson — captures the foundation of his work. When it comes to technique, there is little that a whirling dervish like Thomas, a specimen like Rask, a 6-foot-5 hulk like Ullmark and a technical hotshot like Swayman have in common. But Essensa's mandate is to stitch together his philosophy with the toolboxes goalies bring upon arrival.‘'


One of his most recent notable accomplishments is Ullmark's transformation, who is highly likely to secure the Vezina Trophy in a few months. Despite initial friction between the two as mentioned by Shinzawa, Ullmark shared a heartfelt comment about Essensa:
''I never had a grandpa. But he certainly has that vibe to it,'' said Ullmark. ‘'Just a lovable character that does his thing and has done it well for a lot of years in this community and for this team and organization.''

Now 58, Essensa had a 12-year NHL career as a goaltender, mainly with the Winnipeg/Phoenix franchise.
Goalie Bob played in 446 games for the Jets/Coyotes, Oilers, Red Wings, Canucks, and Sabres. The Ontario native concluded his career with a 173-176-47 record, a .895 SV%, a 3.15 GAA, and 18 shutouts (respectable numbers for goalies during the 80s and 90s hockey era).
In the 1991-92 season with Winnipeg, he also placed third in Vezina voting, recording a 21-17-6 score with a .898 SV% and a 3.15 GAA.

This raises the question: should the Hockey Hall of Fame include goalie coaches in its ‘'Builders'' category?
Access the complete article through the link below:
As read on Bruins Insider - The Secret to the Bruins Goaltending Success Has Been Revealed.
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The Key to the Bruins' Goalkeeping Success Has Been Uncovered

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