There are skeptics who predict that Belfour will be exhausted by April and that it's a matter of time before the shooters figure out his "butterfly" style. By coincidence, two former Blackhawk stars, Glenn Hall and Tony Esposito, are among the few butterfly goalies—so named because they drop to their knees and fan out their lower legs on the majority of shots—who have had long-term success in the NHL. The style has its draw-backs. A classic stand-up goalie has trouble getting his legs closed quickly if a shooter catches him moving across the crease, but a butterfly goalie is even more exposed, because by dropping down early, he leaves the top of the net open.
Belfour, however, sets up far enough out from the goal to cut down on the upstairs shooting angles. Furthermore, the Blackhawks are good at limiting the time a shooter has to aim. Besides, there aren't many players who can accurately pick spots anyway. It is the quickness of a shooter's release, not the accuracy of his shot, that separates the good from the superior scorer.
The difference between an average NHL goalie and an excellent one is his mental makeup. That's where Belfour excels. He is quick, focused and, as evidenced by his 20 penalty minutes this season, confrontational. "He has to win, even at home in Scrabble," says Rita. Belfour spends his spare time playing with Dayn and doesn't torture himself over his last bad game, which is a key to goaltending success. He is also in top condition. A triathlete in the off-season, Belfour says the only thing that fatigues him is people asking him if he's tired. "If anything," he says, "I've probably had a few bad games lately because we had a stretch of the schedule where I wasn't playing enough."
"If I see him getting tired, I'll just tell him to stay away from the rink on off days," says Keenan. "But Eddie is a tremendously fit athlete. Goalies draw energy from the confidence a coach shows in them. For a guy like Eddie, goaltending isn't work anyway. It's fun."
He makes it fun for the Blackhawks, too.