LA Kings Backup Goaltender Ben Scrivens: A Tale of Two Philosophies

ALSO: Video interview with Los Angeles Kings winger Dustin Brown, and an audio interview with goaltender coach Bill Ranford.

Los Angeles Kings backup goaltender Ben Scrivens, shown
here during a recent practice session.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/
EL SEGUNDO, CA — Prior to the start of the Los Angeles Kings 2013 Training Camp, backup goaltender Ben Scrivens talked about his transition from the Toronto Maple Leafs, and he hinted that although his work over the summer with Kings goaltending coach Bill Ranford was positive, the changes the Kings wanted him to make in how he plays did not necessarily mesh with how he was taught by former Maple Leafs goaltending Francois Allaire (now the goaltender coach for the Colorado Avalanche), and current Maple Leafs goaltending coach Rick St. Croix.

“Philosophically, we both want something that makes sense, and so far, it’s been a great dialogue,” Scrivens said about his work with Ranford and Kim Dillabaugh, who handles goaltender development for the Kings. “What he wants, he’s been able to express, explicitly, and in a way that makes sense, and resonates with me.”

“It’s going to be a long process,” Scirvens added. “So far, I think we’ve set a good foundation that we can build off of. But it’s going to be a lot of hard work on my part, and there’s going to be give and take throughout the year. But in the end, we both want the same result. We both don’t want to give up any goals, and we want to make a lot of saves. We both have that same vision in mind.”

Despite the differences that Scrivens hinted at, he was quite positive about the situation.

“It’s been good,” Scrivens said about his work with Ranford. “Really productive. There’s definitely some stuff that he wants me to work on that he thinks is going to help my game. I’d like to think that I’m an open book, a sponge. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and a lot of hard work, to implement some of the stuff that we want to incorporate in my game. But so far, it’s been good. The feedback I’ve gotten from him has been good. Nothing’s going to change overnight.”

“It’s going to be a good working environment to come into, I think,” Scrivens added. “It’s going to be about work habits. Going forward, that’s what we’ve got to focus on.”

Fast forward to late October…Ranford says that Scrivens is making progress.

“It’s been a real good work-in-progress,” he said. “There’s some philosophies that Kim and I have with our goalies that were different than what he was doing in Toronto. It’s one of those things. You have to gain that trust, and we worked on that through the summer, after we found out he was coming to us, through training camp, and as the season’s moved along here. He’s worked hard on little things in his game, and the tempo we have as an expectation for our goalies.”

Ranford and Dillabaugh also wanted Scrivens to play with more tempo and urgency, and work on his hand position.

“Just the aspect of the tempo of his game—we focused on a little more urgency, we eliminated delay in his game to give him more time to take in information when he’s moving from spot to spot,” said Ranford. “That’s probably the first thing that we worked on right off the bat, and [then], putting a little bit more urgency in his post-save, any time that situation comes about.”

“Then, the other aspect is he’s just kind of worked on his hand position a little bit, and just being a little bit more reactive with his hands,” added Ranford.

When asked if there might be a little resistance to his teachings from Scrivens, Ranford explained the different style that Allaire teaches.

“He was working with Allaire, and I think his is a little bit more of a blocking philosophy than we have, and I’m more [about] being in more of a reactive state,” said Ranford. “I think, in finding that happy medium—there’s no doubt there, just trying to find out, because it’s a learning thing for me.”

“Francois Allaire’s been around for a long time, and you want to learn, and analyze his philosophies, and I think that’s probably where Scrivs is coming from, from the point of trying to find that happy medium,” added Ranford. “We want him to be reactive, and he was taught, in certain situations, to be more in a blocking state. It’s finding that comfort level for him.”

Ranford said that he is not trying to force Scrivens, or any goalie, for that matter, to adopt a particular style.

“I’ve always said I’m not a guy that’s going to mold a robotic-type goalie, and ‘this is the L.A. King goalie,’” he emphasized. “We take the tools from within, and I’ve always said, when what you do starts causing goals against, then I step in and make the changes.”

“That’s kind of always been my philosophy with everybody,” he added. “I’m not trying to mold a cookie cutter-type goalie. Each guy, if you look at the guys that we’ve had here in the past, they’ve all been a little bit different. But the biggest thing, the staple for us as L.A. King goalies, is attention to detail and work ethic.”

Raw Audio Interviews

(Extraneous material and dead air have been removed; click on the arrow to listen):

Bill Ranford (6:15)

Video Interviews via FrozenRoyaltyNHL on YouTube

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2 thoughts on “LA Kings Backup Goaltender Ben Scrivens: A Tale of Two Philosophies

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  1. Good insight. The book on Scrivens was that he gives up big rebounds that result in goals. If he can stop just blocking and try to figure out how to control rebounds and be ready for second shots, that will be a huge improvement in his game. Quick’s rebound control is exceptional – now you have to wonder if he learned that under Ranford.

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