Eddie Cahill: The first time I put the pads on was actually at the final audition for the movie, which was a game that we played. I myself didnt have an appreciation for the physicality having never done it. The economy of motion is so small but so concentrated. [Its] so compact and you have to do so many things at once. You have to be incredibly focused, so relaxed, so fast, and I dont know how to describe it other than its more than Ive ever sweat in my entire life. Its more than my legs have ever done in my entire life, no matter how far I ran, getting across that crease for the first time was quite an endeavor. I absolutely developed an appreciation physically.
Jim Craig: You know whats really funny? When I try to explain playing goal [its as] if you go to work all day and you come home and youre a different type of tired than if you go out and do manual labor. Well, goal is both. You have manual labor and youve got all that stress. Its almost like the movie Terminator. When a person comes up the ice, there are 10 things a person can do, then there are 7 things a person can do youre eliminating things as a person comes at you. You are eliminating options. You are like a coach because you need to know everybodys position and where it could go and where it should go and why it should go. I think why I was better at European or International hockey was because they were much more intelligent when they play. The NHL is more like they shoot from everywhere. It doesnt make sense. And so it was really a lot of fun for me to play internationally. But the challenge of goal is so much of a mind game.
Eddie Cahill: One more thing dawned on me about the challenge of goaltending, which doesnt look like much one of the hardest things that I had to learn was the commitment to stillness and how exhausting that can be. Waiting for something to happen because you dont do as a goalie and Jimmy and I have talked about this you wait for something to happen and then you react. That sort of stillness and focus infiltrates the whole because its an aggressive stillness, an acquired stillness. Theres a lot going on there.
Jim Craig: Another thing about goaltending is you have to understand the weaknesses and strengths of every player and you have to be able to utilize those strengths and weaknesses. Its almost like a guy without a lot of hair. You push it over here and you have to be able to take peoples talents and utilize them.
Given your recent TV experiences on Friends, was it hard for you to persuade the filmmakers that you could do something like this?
Eddie Cahill: I dont know. All I know is that I had him to inspire me initially, and then I just ran after it. The second I knew it was a movie, the second I knew they were doing this, I ran I ran I ran and did whatever I had to do.
Why was the movie so important to you?
Eddie Cahill: It was an opportunity to play one of my heroes. Obviously it was Jimmys talents that inspired me at first, then it became the small things. It was the little things like seeing two Shamrocks on the mask. Being an Irish-American, watching him look for his father in the crowd and knowing my relationship with my father, it moved me. And that sort of took over. I wasnt thinking necessarily anything, just do what youve got to do to try and make this happen. Run as far as you can and if youve got to, put the goal pads on. The first time I did was in an audition. Id never done it.
The movie makes a big deal of the test Herb Brooks gave to his players. Did you ever end up taking the test?
Jim Craig: Whats really funny is that I have a really good memory but I was with Danny Brooks and he was saying, You know, you really pissed my dad off when you didnt take that test. I dont remember because at that time in my life, dealing with losing my mother and my father being at home, I was taking it day by day. I didnt know how long it was going to last there. Every time Id call home [it would be], How are you doing? Heres a man who has a wife of 40 years and hes got two teenage boys, and she did everything. All of a sudden now hes there by himself. Im calling home, Hows he doing? He started knitting, he sat at home, he didnt get rid of her clothes it was a very traumatic time. And so taking a test wasnt a big deal to me, but it was a big deal to him. It was so trivial to me at that time. Here I was, Im here to play hockey. It wasnt defiance that I wasnt doing it, it was like I was overloaded. Oh, I didnt take it? I didnt know.