Francois Allaire may be gone, but his style will stay

Mark Owuya first started attending Francois Allaire’s summer camps when he was 15-years-old- Image Courtesy of Mike Ivall

TORONTO- The Toronto Maple Leafs may have a new goaltender consultant, but that doesn’t mean you won’t see Francois Allaire’s style still being used by Toronto’s keepers.

Allaire taught the “butterfly” technique that all four of Toronto’s current goalies play and, for them, it is a staple in their approach to how they protect their net.

“You can’t play without the butterfly,” said Mark Owuya. “Every goalie does it at some point.”

Allaire and the Leafs had a falling out, which caused them to part ways last week, so Toronto hired Rick St. Croix to replace the guy who was known as the best goalie teacher in the world just three months ago.

St. Croix has a resume that includes working with the 1999 Dallas Stars’ club that went on to win the Stanley Cup with Ed Belfour in goal, however it’s far too early to tell what he plans to do with the likes of James Reimer, Ben Scrivens or depth goalies Jussi Rynnas and Owuya.

All Four of them have put their trust into Allaire while with the Leafs’ organization and Scrivens and Owuya worked with him long before they even signed on with Toronto.

Scrivens started going to Allaire’s summer camps, which are held in Switzerland, when he was still suiting up with Cornell University.

“I’ve gone to it for four years now and it’s a permanent thing for me working with Franky,” said Scrivens. “I trust him and his coaching.”

Swedish-born Owuya first went to one of Allaire’s goalie camps when he was 15 years old and he has gone back every year since for the last seven seasons.

Both were in attendance this past summer and Owuya says it was the best one he’s participated in.

“It was great,” Owuya said about the camp.” It’s the best thing possible. You can’t compare it to anything.”

Despite Owuya’s relationship with Allaire, he’s open to change as long as St. Croix has the same goal in mind.

“Whether (Allaire’s) here or not I want to keep improving. The goal’s still the NHL,” said Owuya.

Scrivens supports Allaire because he considers his style of goaltending logical, which suits his personality. But, he too, is only looking for positive results in his game.

“I’ve been a huge supporter of Franky. I worked with him before Toronto and I plan to work with him in the summer,” said Scrivens. “But, that’s not to say he’s the only guy I listen to. Being a goaltender, it’s not a cookie-cutter position. Everybody has a different body shape and gone through different experiences.”

“You have to try to pick a little from here and a little bit from there and find out what gives you the best opportunity for success. I’m gonna have an open mind. Everyone has something to offer.”

There seems to be more to the story than just Allaire and the Leafs parting ways because of Toronto’s inability to keep pucks out of its net. Allaire was not pleased with the organization and voiced his displeasure to the Nation Post’s Michael Traikos. Leafs’ GM Brian Burke responded to Allaire’s comments through Toronto’s team website and he too didn’t seem pleased.

Regardless, as much blame that can be put on Allaire for the inconsistencies between Reimer and Jonas Gustavsson last season with the Leafs, he has to be given credit for what he’s done at other levels with Scrivens and Owuya. Both put up outstanding numbers last season. Scrivens won the Happs Holmes Award with the Toronto Marlies while Owuya put up a league best .930 save-percentage in the ECHL.

Toronto may have had problems at the NHL level with their goaltending, but their developing goalies seem to be on the right path under Allaire and his style of play.

“I always had good dialogue with him and he was always there for support,” said Owuya.

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