Coach Korn Has History of Developing Elite Goaltenders

Tuesday, 05.1.2012 / 3:01 PM CT / Nashville Predators Playoffs Coverage
Nashville Predators
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Coach Korn Has History of Developing Elite Goaltenders

By Mark McGee,

The best coaches are also outstanding teachers and Nashville Predators goaltenders coach Mitch Korn truly fits both descriptions.

After the media finishes questioning either Pekka Rinne or Anders Lindback about a game, Korn seats himself beside whichever one of the two goaltenders was between the pipes. With an expression filled with purpose, Korn goes over charts of shots and may even go to video reviews of goals.

He prefers to review a game while it is still fresh in the minds of his two shot blockers. It is especially important to talk with Rinne as soon as possible after a game is complete.

“The premise is to put closure a game, especially with Pekka in season because he plays so much,” Korn said. “We put closure on it and we move forward.

“I would rather put closure on it the night of the game because Peks has the uncanny ability of going to sleep and waking up the next day with a very short memory of the previous game. It is a new day.”

With the Predators returning to home ice at Bridgestone Arena Wednesday night for game three of the Western Conference semi-finals series with the Phoenix Coyotes Rinne’s short memory will come in handy.

“I don’t like to look back,” Korn said. “I want to look forward. Everything that happened in Phoenix is old news.

“Pekka has set a statistical standard. It is perceived as failure of he doesn’t reach that standard and that is not true.”

For the second year in a row Rinne is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy presented to the top goaltender in the NHL. When Korn serves as goaltender coach for the Buffalo Sabres he oversaw Dominik Hasek who earned four Vezina and two Hart trophies.

Korn isn’t adverse to raising his voice when providing direction, but he has never seen a reason to direct a loud verbal outburst at his goaltenders. And it doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that Rinne stands 6-foot-5 and Lindback is 6-6.

“I don’t think I have ever raised my voice to those guys,” Korn said. “I don’t yell at pro athletes. At the end of the day brow-beating isn’t going to solve anything. Whether they play well or don’t play well it is not for a lack of effort or a lack of focus so what are you going to yell at?

“At the end of the day, honestly, they are in charge. Pekka is responsible for managing his own game. Lindy is responsible for managing his own game. My job is to help them do that and to lead them on a path using my experience to help them as they gain their experience.”

Both goaltenders appreciate Korn’s coaching demeanor. They don’t have to be yelled at to know when he is upset.

“He wants us to use every practice to our advantage,” Rinne said. “He sees the game so well. He yells at players when they screw up our drills, but he never screams at us. There is a lot of respect going both ways between us goalies and him.

“He is open about things and very honest. He expects us to work hard and nothing less. When there is something to improve or something that needs to be corrected he doesn’t waste time in telling us.”

Rinne is from Finland and Lindback is from Sweden. Both have made adjustments to playing in North America.

“Mitch has been a huge part of my grooming I think,” Lindback said. “He makes Peks and me work hard every day.

“He has really helped me out with a lot of parts of the game. He doesn’t force me to play any certain way but he gets me to try new things. He wants me to develop my game. I feel like I am a better goaltender now than I was a few years ago.”

One of the areas that Lindback has worked on has been his stick handling ability. Korn puts Lindback and Rinne through drills at practice to improve that area of their games.

“It is about small details with him,” Lindback said. “We watch video after very game. He wants us to be mentally tough.

“He has worked with some great goalies. He is good at knowing what we need to do.”

Korn has worked with Rinne to refine his game in goal in a number of ways.

“I was really all over the place when I first came over here,” Rinne said. “I think Mitch has helped me to be patient, but to still be athletic and to use my size. That’s the biggest thing.

“Mentally he has helped me understand what it takes to play a lot of games. As a goalie you have to understand there are always ways to get better. The big thing is to stay humble, keep your mind open and always work hard.”





1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70


F. Forsberg 82 33 31 1 64
R. Josi 81 14 47 -3 61
J. Neal 82 31 27 27 58
S. Weber 78 20 31 -7 51
M. Ribeiro 81 7 43 11 50
C. Smith 82 21 16 4 37
M. Ekholm 82 8 27 14 35
R. Johansen 42 8 26 10 34
R. Ellis 79 10 22 13 32
C. Jarnkrok 81 16 14 1 30
P. Rinne 34 21 10 .908 2.48
C. Hutton 7 5 4 .918 2.33