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The New War On Goalies

The New War On Goalies


The Cold War between goaltenders and, apparently, everyone else who plays or watches hockey, is entering a critical period. Hostilities began in 2008, when Damien Cox announced that general managers were declaring war on goaltenders. A fragile détente has obtained since, with the Goalies Union (a shadowy organization with no official existence) making repeated concessions to maintain the peace. The league’s last attack, a reduction in the length of leg pads and stick paddle, came just two seasons ago. The outcome was the same as always: the goalies won.

They always win.

The league is now proposing further reductions to goaltending equipment, focusing especially on the chest-arm unit, and pants. Catherine Silverman provides a thorough and detailed overview of the current battle, required reading for those who haven’t been following the verbal volleys and political machinations closely.

Anyone who has been tracking developments in goaltending knows that equipment, which grew in tandem with rising save percentages from the 90s to the early 21st century, has been shrinking since. Gear is now smaller than it has been in almost 20 years. The result? The league average save percentage sits at an all-time high of 91.5 percent.

In a less serious mood, I might suggest that the correlation between shrinking gear and increasing save percentage over the last decade is causal: smaller gear leads to better goaltending results. There is something to this, of course: every equipment reduction is a tradeoff between decreased blocking area and increased agility through decreased bulk. Trimming equipment might have, ironically, saved goalies from their own flawed surface area/mobility calculations.

Reto Berra

Reto Berra doesn’t resemble the net-filling Michelin Man of modern myth

Since I’m being serious, however, I will limit my point. Decreasing equipment size has not lead to a scoring increase. It hasn’t even slowed down the decrease. The relationship between goals and equipment size is not empirically supported.

All of this should go without saying: anyone who has followed the game and paid attention to goaltending over the last decade should know this. My suspicion, however, is that many who follow and even write about hockey haven’t actually been paying attention.

Sportsnet’s Mark Spector recently wallowed in a sty of popular unsupported arguments for decreasing the size of goaltending equipment. The content is beneath contempt, of course, but the article is valuable as a case study in the ongoing vilification of goaltenders.

The first assumption Spector makes is that goaltenders have been united in an effort to keep equipment big to preserve their jobs. The support this view receives is astounding, considering how nonsensical it is. The idea that goaltenders are a unified body opposed, in principle, to a higher-scoring league, is pure fiction. If the league-average save percentage suddenly plummeted to 85 percent, and the average goals-against average ballooned to 4.50, goaltenders would continue to be individually evaluated based on their distance from the average. How, precisely, would anyone’s job be in jeopardy here? If the playing field is level, no change is likely to lead the cohort of current NHL goaltenders into unemployment.

Despite Spector’s claim to the contrary, goaltenders are legitimately very concerned about safety when they question or challenge equipment reductions; if they don’t insist on minimum standards of protection, no one is going to do it for them. Even former goaltenders, whom one might expect to be sympathetic, are too quick to wave aside serious safety issues. In an important article outlining specific, detailed, and mostly reasonable suggestions for reducing equipment, retired goaltender Corey Hirsch explains that, if pad length were significantly reduced “knees would be exposed to pucks, yes, but the knee pads today are more protective than ever, and it’s definitely not an issue.” No current goaltender could believe this.

G-NETik Pro 2 kneepads and kneestack BEST (1 of 1)

Even the most advanced, protective knee pads cannot stand up to direct hits at the professional level.

I play with NHL-regulation pads strapped tighter than many (younger) goalies prefer, and the most protective, bulky knee pads available. I have had welts and swollen knees from adult-league shots deflected onto my knee pads. While indeed better than ever, these pads are not designed to protect from direct impact at any senior level. A direct hit from an NHL-caliber slap shot would injure. Even on wrist shots and deflections, you can expect goaltenders with exposed knees to be momentarily incapacitated after hard impacts.

Goaltenders who fear injury aren’t as effective. If you now find yourself thinking “Good! More fear = more goals!” you’ve lost touch with your essential human decency.

The second set of popularly supported assumptions Spector makes is that reducing equipment is easy and should lead to an overall area reduction of 20 percent. Take a current goaltender in full gear, and chop off a full fifth of him. That’s about equal to his full right arm (including blocker) and his glove. Most of the bulk of goaltending equipment, contrary to popular belief, actually sits atop human flesh, which, to the dismay of many, should probably not be removed to create scoring space.

How much reduction is possible? That’s a question of actual measurement and mathematics. It’s far too simple to wave at a 6’7” goaltender in full gear and cry “See! He’s clearly enormous and bloated with equipment!” Before you can make any claim about the potential for area reduction, you have to sit down with the equipment and actually consider how it works and protects. Plucking a target reduction percentage from the air and trying to squeeze the goaltender into it comes at the problem from the wrong end. Corey Hirsch’s article, linked above, starts from the right perspective. He knows how the equipment works, and considers where specific reductions are possible. This is the minimum threshold of understanding needed for a productive conversation to take place.

Spector’s final, and perhaps most seriously flawed popular assumption is that reducing equipment will lead to a more exciting brand of goaltending, a return to the style of the 80s and 90s. Imagine Carey Price challenging two metres outside the crease on a rush. Imagine Tuukaa Rask standing tall, kicking out, toe up, to stop rising shots to the corners. Imagine Henrik Lundqvist coming post-to-post with a double-pad slide. Glorious.

The problem, of course, is that this will never happen. Even if you somehow manage to reduce equipment by 20 percent and make the nets seven feet wide, goaltenders would not change their fundamental approach to the game. Goaltending in previous eras was worse not because the goaltenders were smaller in form-fitting equipment, but because they approached the game in an entirely different way.

Tim THomas Diving Save

Don’t expect equipment reductions to spark a Tim Thomas style revival  (Photo by Scott Slingsby)

Goaltending was historically an upright affair: goalies went down only when required for specific saves. This made sense in many eras: the only sufficient padding against hard shots was on the legs and hands, so these were employed whenever possible. Since a goaltender’s pads, dull skates, and overall weight didn’t permit lateral motion while down, leaving your feet was a last resort. If you could remain on at least one foot, you had a chance of recovering for the next shot.

That logic no longer applies. Goaltenders can move into the high-coverage butterfly without fear that they’ll be wounded with a gut shot. Once down, goalies remain mobile thanks to pads designed to slide, skates sharp enough to push, and a continually evolving set of techniques. Keeping the centre of the body on the angle line (between the middle of the net and the puck) while minimizing holes (under the arms, between the pads) is a far more effective strategy than relying on reflex. We’ve also learned that returns for extreme depth diminish rapidly once you leave the blue paint; you cover marginally more space, but give up enormous potential net on rebounds and passes.

None of these advances will be undone by shrinking gear or expanding the goal. The promise of old-time scoring and acrobatic reflex goaltending is empty.

Even the promise of more scoring is a dubious one. Supporters of smaller gear and larger nets imagine that scoring will rise in some proportion to the newly exposed area. If there is 20 percent more net to shoot at, surely scoring will increase by at least two percent. If the net is expanded by the width of the posts, surely all the shots that hit the post last season would result in about that many more goals the following season.

This theory is simplistic trash. There is no one-to-one relationship between scoring and the equipment/furniture of the game. Goaltending is a niche within the dynamic ecosystem of hockey. Changes in the goaltender’s environment will prompt him to make compensatory changes to mitigate the new threats. The changes the goaltender makes will be complemented and supported by changes in defensive structures, striving to limit exposure to new weaknesses. Less talented teams will sacrifice even more offence than they do now to ensure better coverage. The system will arrange itself to once again achieve homeostasis.

Although it seems I’ve been making an argument against reducing goaltending equipment, I’d like to propose the opposite. When the league mandates its new reductions, I hope it trims equipment to the bone. Take away all the excess, and ensure equipment is as streamlined as possible without sacrificing safety. Test it, tweak it, and get it right so we never have to have this conversation again. I’d personally love to play in less cumbersome, lighter, more responsive equipment, and I cannot imagine a professional goaltender who wouldn’t.

Then, when scoring is down again next season and save percentage climbs to another record high, we can focus on actual solutions that might have some impact on the game.

About The Author

Paul Campbell

Paul Campbell is a writer at InGoal, and a former CIS goaltender and women's goaltending coach for Mount Allison University. He occassionally moonlights as a university literature instructor.

40 Comments

  1. Paul Ipolito

    Thank you. How many goals were scored last night? Most arenas are packed every night (Sorry, Florida Panthers) . NHL continues barking up the wrong tree.

    Reply
  2. Mark

    Everything you write is very true. The game needs to be opened up between the goal lines. The amount of holding in the game is at a high, and its not just the players with the puck that are held, players attempting to join the rush are consistently interfered with behind the play. Defense man should be required to keep 2 hands on the stick when making contact, and interference needs to be called more often. That said, the cuff on the catcher can be reduced. It is much larger than the wrist it is intended to protect.

    Reply
  3. Mike Bianchi

    This article couldn’t be more right. I am nearing 50 so I grew up with the old equipment and playing stand up. I have struggled to teach my self the new style and even though I am not great with it I make more saves than stand up. It is just more efficient. I marvel at guys like Price, Rask, Quick and others for how athletic the are. I don’t know a hockey fan who is dissatisfied with low scoring games. The NHL is chasing after people who are not fans and probably never will be.

    Reply
  4. Todd Bengert

    I’ve been on a personal tirade myself over this issue. On my twitter handle, @goaliebanger, I listed 31 equipment rule changes for goaltenders over the last 17 years, in the face of ever declining scoring. Compound this with the ridiculous fines and suspensions that a goalie face if he is caught with illegal gear, the war on goaltending is not over and has been on-going.

    I detest the underlying tone of the gear changes which you allude to here, Paul, which is to make the goalies fear the game again. The media and coaching have really missed the boat on finding out why goaltending or puckstopping has really improved. I think gear has played a factor, but not for the reason they suppose, that goalies are cheating. Goalie gear has improved in the protection delivered, not in the goalie prevention as the ignorant media have supposed. As Ken Dryden wrote in his book, The Game, the goalie mask made it possible for goaltenders to employ the “butterfly” as a save selection and other low ice coverage technique. This hypothesis is carried over to the rest of the goalie gear that goaltenders now wear.

    This continued improvement of the level of protection of modern goaltending gear had another major impact. It has allowed goalies to actually “train” in practice. Thirty-five years ago when I first played goal, goaltending in practice or hockey school was mainly about survival, and getting better or more skilled was a distant second. My son, who now trains with NHL caliber shooters in the summer, can handle three weekly two-hour practices with hundreds of shots, in addition to twice weekly, goalie-specific training with his biggest injury being a bruised ring-finger.

    This has allowed goaltenders to practice, train, and improve. If the powers-that-be have their way, want to put goaltenders in gear that scuppers the training effect that has made an impact on the goaltending position.

    Reply
    • David Beaver

      I agree, its a result of better training and knowledge about the position. I would also say that a change that has been relatively over looked but not completely ignored is the average size of goalies. We’re seeing many goalies at or over 6’5″ and a reluctance to draft goalies under 6’1″ or 6’2″. Being 5′ to 6′ taller with wider arm span covers more area than the goalies of the 90’s. These guys used to be big but not necessarily athletic. Now they are both. It’s obviously something that is here to stay as I don’t see any height restrictions coming.

      Reply
  5. Randy

    Thank you. This article has been the best I have read so far on this topic. I hate that all of this is being debated once again. I totally agree with the fact that if one thing is weakened teams do whatever they can to strengthen it. The truth is that the nhl is crying for more goals but the reality is that teams will just focus more on defence and offence will suffer again. I personally think that the game is perfect the way it is. Some games there are tones of goals and others there are none. I personally have no interest in watching a so called hockey game where the score is similar to a football game.

    Reply
  6. Alan

    Mark, I think you must be watching reruns of games in the 80’s and 90’s. One good thing the NHL did was not allow the obstruction that went on back then, and the players have gotten that. I just wish the little stick taps waist high on the hands would be let go because they do not impede play at all and maybe that would open up scoring. The call leads to a PP, but the offensive team who gets the call has momentum that is thwarted by the awarding of the PP.

    As far as the goaltending equipment, Steve Valliquette on MSG working for the Rangers did a great job this past Saturday night on Hockey Night Live showing what could be eliminated on goalie equipment with very little detrimental effect on the goalie. From the rounding of the top of the chestie, to the contouring of the square block on the forearm, to a few inches off the rise on the pads, you accomplish open up some space that might (a big might) increase scoring while not endangering the lives of the most important players on the ice.

    Reply
  7. Bob Woodhouse

    It was not uncommon in the ’50s and ’60s to see 0-0 ties with smaller goalies wearing smaller equipment being shot at by the likes of Richard, Hull, and Howe. Just maybe shooters are not as good anymore and the blame is now being transferred to the goalies “cheating” because of their gear. Could shooters practice more on their shot placement instead of the fancy shootout moves that “fans” like. Sure. For what it’s worth I’ll give an example from what I’ve seen happen this season on my son’s Bantam team which he is the lone goalie They are 12-1-0, he has 7 SO with a 0.54 GAA but they are winning by scores of 7-0, 9-0, 6-1 and so on. They can score in league games at that rate because they spend their time shooting at only him in practice. If they want a goal on him on that ice they need to pick corners and concentrate where their shots are going. What this has transferred to in games is that they shoot at other goalies the same way with a greater success rate. One thing feeds on the other. He’s better because of the way they shoot and they’re better because of the way he saves.
    btw…..this Bantam team is playing at a full level above the one they belong in.
    Equipment? No. Effort. Yes. From all on the ice.
    Keep calm and save on!

    Reply
  8. JD

    All the NHL needs to do is call more penalties, clamp down a bit more! Refs need stop letting things go just because a team is down a man already make it a 5-3, very simple solution to get more goals…

    Reply
  9. Dan

    listen to scotty bowman, shrink the o zone force d to actually guard the point

    Reply
  10. Shane

    If the NHL wants more scoring I’d be happy to step in the crease for a few games, as would a lot of beer leaguers. Plus I would do it for a fraction of what NHL goalies make. But lets get real people, fans and teams aren’t paying to see “Shane” in the net even it does equal more goals. Face it NHL, goalies are better athletes, better coached and work harder than any position player in any sport. Its the athlete wearing the gear that makes the saves not the gear!

    So about that crease time coach???

    Reply
    • Paul Ipolito

      Sorry Shane. Kane Van Gate gets the nod.

      Reply
      • Shane

        I guess if anyone deserves it he does, oh well back to the old watering hole.

        Reply
  11. joe Feeney

    WHile there is some attack before thought, it is not only from those who are attacking the goalie equipment and the size. It comes from the goalies themselves and the arguments for allowing equipment far larger than any DESIGN FOR SAFETY would dictate! Is it safety for a catcher glove to be large enough to fit 17 pucks in the plane and web? Certainly it is not just safety, it is net coverage! Having extra layers of foam on the side of the pants and triple five hole stacks is not just “safety”. The width of the leg pads at 12 inches, or 11 inches is not all for “Leg Protection” when the width of a thigh is 6-7 inches, and the old standard of 10 inches was plenty of protection.

    THat being said, the scoring is down for multiple reasons, much not todo with the size of goalie equipment. WHen do you see a forward come down and actually shoot ON NET from the top of the circles? How often do you hear “winds up/ shot blocked” during a broadcast? how often do players loose the puck while trying to get to the top of the crease?

    Goalie equipment is much more protective, so actually practicing is more realistic, with far better coaching at all levels. Coaches who are unfamiliar with goaltending are far more likely to get opt ask for help, and even bringing a goalie to help at the younger levels. THis will continue to affect the game and scoring. Try shooting then scoring will go up!

    Reply
    • Sam

      Have you taken a shot though the five hole that touches each part of you inside thighs without the padding. I have and can think of nothing more painful, with the bruising and burning feeling. It’s enough to to make you pee your pants ;). I am 51 and still remember every practice, which were on outdoor rinks, focusing on making every save with either my leg pads or blocker and catcher. A save anywhere else was a guaranteed mark on my body. Find the medium, but protect the goalies, a they are like quarterbacks in football when it comes to importance to teem success

      Reply
  12. Chad

    I grew up playing rep hockey. I finally got a goalie coach in midget, and never attended a goalie school in the summer as there were only a handful in the country at that time. In the last ten years, I have seen the goaltender position evolve more than in the the thirty years before. Not only has the approach to stopping the puck changed, so has the preparation. Kids as young as seven and eight have goalie coaches. More are attending goalie only schools in the summer than ever before. I wish I had the specialized coaching and resources available to me back then, that young goalies have today. I go to the rink with my nine year old player and watch him do the same drills my teammates did thirty years ago in atom, and most questions about the decrease in scoring are answered. Coaching and training for forwards and defencemen for the most part, has not changed in a very long time whereas goaltending has become a specialized position, with more attention given to training and preparation. In short goalies are no longer just there for a target during practice. If they want to increase scoring they need to fix the real problem, find new creative ways to train players and spend more time on skills development, less on systems. That’s what goalies have been doing and the results are showing!

    Reply
  13. Nick Caumanns

    Good article. Brian Burke once said that fans don’t like goals, they like scoring chances. We love seeing the shot, or play , and either the goal or save. The biggest threat to the game being enjoyable is universal tight defensive style that forces a lot of low percentage shots that as goalies we can easily block. Anyone who has watched a few 3 on 3 overtimes will realize that a more open game with more scoring chances is exciting. Make changes to off-side rules for example to open up the game and while scoring may not go up, excitement will. Goalies get punished for being great athletes by limiting where they can play the puck, by allowing players to crash them when they are vulnerable, by requiring smaller equipment, and on and on while players get better skates, better sticks, and a whole host of things that make them better able to score. Let’s open up the game not punish goalies for being hardworking skilled athletes just like players.

    Reply
  14. Bruce

    I am taking another approach to this. Mostly everyone who has responded is most likely a beer league goalie who idolizes NHL goalies. I think if the NHL scouts are going to consistently scout taller and taller goalies, then yes, reduce the size of the goalie equipment. How much skill does it really take to stop a puck if you are 6’6″ with huge goalie equipment? It’s like how much skill does it take a 7′ basketball player to dunk a basketball? None. If the goalies are going to get ridiculously bigger, then either the nets need to be larger or the equipment needs to be reduced in size. Just my 2 cents.

    Reply
    • Catherine

      It actually takes quite a bit of skill, and Paul described why in the article. Goaltenders don’t play a stand-up game anymore, so they’ve got a farther (and therefore longer) drop to make. That’s an extra couple seconds that only a certain number of very tall goalies are agile enough to compensate for; size certainly helps when used correctly, but they aren’t scouting just because players are tall.

      Reply
      • Derek

        Yep. Totally agree. Remember Manute Bol. One of the tallest basket ball players ever who resorted to shooting threes because basketball is an athletic game not just a game of size. Big athletic goalies will be stars… But shorter ones can also compete unless we make the nets do big that you must be 6’5′ to play the position properly.

        Again. Reduce obstruction (like totally) and goals will go way up.

        Reply
    • Grant

      If that is the case – why is he NBA not dominated by 7′ players? Skill is skill and todays players (goalies included) are finding ways to increase their skill level in environments that equal the professional level. Some 10-11yr olds have the exact same spring/summer coaches as NHL players have access too. Personal development is the reason for goalie success. Take some time to analyze shot placement and location and you will see that goals are scored no different now than ever…simply put..shoot it where they aren’t. But, goalies have been working tirelessly on figuring out how to get to those spots and use percentage based methods to reduce pucks getting by. By necessity and desire, they have become students of their own game. And why is it that goalies are not allowed to succeed?

      Reply
  15. DC Toronto

    Sorry, as a goalie I have to call BS. Your last paragraph sums it up best. If, as you say, smaller equipment doesn’t have an impact on the number of goals, and as you say, yourself and most NHL goalies would love to play in smaller equipment ….. then why don’t they??? Their GAA would remain the same, and they’d be much happier …. where’s the downside?
    .
    could it be that smaller equipment actually WOULD lead to more goals?
    .
    And as much as teams would adjust their game to compensate for smaller equipment, that would only mitigate some of the goals. NHL shooters are more accurate than ever. With skills training and equipment upgrades, the accuracy of the average shooter is higher than ever before. Look at the number of short side top corner goals from ridiculous angles. They can get the puck up like never before. Give them an extra inch and they’ll exploit it.
    .
    smaller equipment is one thing, but the best thing they could do is more ice (NOT Olympic size, just a bit more). having played on the mini-pad at Forest Hill arena, I quickly learned that I could remove a shooters options by coming further out of my net. The correlation between my abilities and my brothers in the NHL is about the same as the correlation between that small ice surface and the regulation NHL surface. More ice meant more goals against for me, it would do the same for the NHL.
    .
    Combine smaller (but safe) equipment and larger ice with a reduction in the number of goalies getting run over. Then we’ll see some great hockey.

    Reply
    • David Hutchison

      Why don’t they? Well I’d say it’s like the last reduction – there’s a chance it makes them more mobile and helps them – but it’s hardly a guarantee so I’m sure they wouldn’t rush to try something new that ‘might’ work. You can’t just give it a whirl for a few sessions as there is sure to be an adjustment period. If only one guy tries it and takes time to adjust – well, what coach has the patience to wait it out?

      But I agree completely with your last few points – you basically say that if given a hole barely larger than a puck and a bit of time to shoot, lots of guys will score – despite the gear. And 3 on 3 certainly isn’t suffering from large goalies. The solution that makes the game exciting is to give the players time and space.

      Reply
  16. Isey

    A lot of it has to do with out players stick length. I have a stick from an NHL player (given after a recent game) and the player is 5’9″. His stick is (on its toe) about 6’4″ long. That’s a lot of sticks in lanes and pokechecks and defensive posturing. If you took 6″ off that stick that’s a lot more passes getting through th zone, a lot less hooking (have to be closer to defend) and a lot more goals. It seems most players are now playing with ridiculously long sticks for defence purposes.

    Reply
  17. Steve

    Every time they make goalie gear smaller, it just drives coaches to look for bigger goalies to compensate for the loss of size. Pretty soon anyone under 6’3″ or 6’4″ will be considered too small to be a goalie. That attitude will trickle down to youth hockey where coaches will just sign the “big kid” and ignore all the smaller goalies, even if they are more athletic.

    Reply
  18. Derek

    If the league really wants more scoring. Clamp down on all obstruction. Zero tolerance for stick in hands, stick on top of stick and positional holding. Only plays on puck allowed. Checks have to be released after contact and no fighting for position with arms. Like basketball it’s body position. No clutch. No grab. Zero. There will be less injuries. And the truly skilled players will light it up.

    But the league would rather protect weaker players and give coaches defensive systems that limit chances. This whole thing is a red herring.

    Reply
  19. sylvain

    Shave everything you want on actual goalie gear and you will not see many more goals scored, maybe just a few more through the body.But removing the knee blocks and slide calves and opening up the sides of the pads would force goalies to play stand up. I remember my first set designed for butterfly and how much it helped my game back then, Just a thought….

    Reply
    • bernard

      Perhaps force goalies to play blindfolded!

      Reply
  20. Ady Cohen

    This was a great read, and everything here is true. Reducing the size of goalie equipment will not increase scoring. People who think that are either not hockey fans or they do not know what they’re talking about…or both. The fact of the matter is this: goalies are too good. We improve every season and discover new training methods to fit our personal style. We have been able to adapt to certain kinds of shots and have even been able to figure out shooters and where they like to rip the puck most often. Low scoring has nothing to do with equipment size. Instead, low scoring comes from the fact that goalies are constantly getting better and finding new techniques for how to stop pucks. In all honesty, I think it can make the game more exciting. I find that nail biting, 2-1, 1-0 games make everyone nervous. Fans worry about their team giving up the tying goal, scoring the tying goal, or losing an extremely tight and intense, fun to watch game. Goalies are nervous about letting the next goal in, and players are worried about scoring the tying goal. All in all tight games can make a better watch in most cases.

    When you think about it, it’s kind of like evolution and survival of the fittest. Better goalies make better shooters. Once the shooters get better, more goals go in. And then the goalies get better to match those shots, and goal scoring goes down. And then the cycle repeats.

    Reply
  21. randy

    so is the reason the owners want more goals in the game to get more people in the stands?? So we immediately attack the goalie, which I guarantee not one owner ever has played the position, let alone tried on any of the gear.. Anyway, the only way to make the arenas sell out is lower ticket prices!!! novel idea. but due the owners really need to make 95% profit per yr. on there investment??? Would it really hurt Mike Illiach if he only made 50% profits for the 2016 2017 season, really.. iam sure he wont be starving if he dropped ticket prices 15%. Now I know for a fact that these billionairs that own these teams will cry fowel, that they loose money every yr, blah blah blah, Fudge the books anyway you want but not one owner of an nhl team marketing it properly will or can loose money in this day and age, tsn, sportsnet, espn, ect, pay billions to broadcast, advertising dollars alone is also in the billions, concessions parking and royalties, again, in the millions, The gate is the least important factor in paying for a team.. Leave the goalies alone, and take a look at what will really be the best move for the game…. Its the fans.. not the player, not the owners, not even.. dare I say Bob Mackenzie..lol… ps Merry Christmas..

    Reply
  22. steve

    They already reduced the size of goalie gear (especially the gloves) to sizes smaller than the old Coopers that we wore in the 1970s without any increase in scoring….Also, why does USE HOCKEY have to adopt the same stupid goalie equipment reductions as the NHL?

    Reply
  23. Rick

    Just get rid of the goalie altogether. I’m sure that will increase scoring, fill every seat, and bring untold revenues to the NHL. Stupid is what stupid does….

    Reply
  24. Niel

    Anyone that thinks it’s the size of goalie equipment that’s the issue just needs to do one thing: watch the All-Star Game.

    Reply
    • bernard

      excellent point. My thoughts exactly. Also, anyone who thinks more scoring makes for a more exciting game must love the all-star game. I think scoring is down because the players are so big and fast that there is no room left on the ice. Also, the stifling defensive schemes just get more and more efficient. Not sure what can be done to increase scoring. In fact, I don’t even understand why more scoring is better. The play of the goalies is as exciting as anything in today’s game. The only glimmer of hope is that the last time the NHL changed goalie equipment they did a good job so I assume the changes will be reasonable this time as well. Oddly enough though, changes have traditionally aimed to match equipment size to body size. As a result, Ben Bishop’s pads are actually taller than the prior limit of 38 inches. Similar changes were made to the paddle of the goalie stick. In the past at least, equipment changes have actually increased the advantage of taller goalies

      Reply
  25. James

    That’s not Tim Thomas.

    Reply
  26. RichmondAtty

    I think that the change to smaller equipment is a GOOD suggestion, too.

    I played goal in the full face mask days, and I remember my old felt and leather chest pads. The modern equipment is so much more protective than the old equipment. A modern catching glove is much deeper than the old gloves. A modern blocker protects from the inside better than the old blocker. The shin pads are taller than the old shin pads. The blocker is much wider than the old pads. I think that a lot of equipment can be reduced in size without affecting safety, such as more form fitting chest/arm protectors, catch gloves that are not as deep, all without affecting safety.

    For comparison, modern baseball catcher equipment is much safer than older equipment, with progressive foam padding, but the modern catcher equipment is not significantly larger.

    Reply
    • bernard

      Too many people commenting on goalie equipment don’t know what they are talking about. I heard Bob McCowan the other day say goalie’s sweaters are like tents, That hasn’t been the case for over a decade. Loose fitting jerseys are illegal. They have to be just big enough to fit over the equipment. Also heard someone mention that Kevlar is less bulky and stops bullets. Which is fine as long as you don’t mind wearing 40lb chest protectors worth 10,000$. Gloves are deeper but that doesn’t affect net coverage. Blockers are smaller than ever but I suppose they could be reduced a tiny bit further. The equipment is much better now but the shots are also much harder. The shooters are so talented and the sticks are so efficient that these days that everyone shoots hard enough to leave a mark. Perhaps we can reduce the size of goalie equipment but also, force the shooters to use wooden sticks. Some tweaks could be made but NHL regulations will apply everywhere. I am so looking forward to shelling out a few thousand dollars to replace my son’s now obsolete equipment.

      Reply
  27. AD

    Players are getting bigger, faster, and more skilled. So, the ice rink is too small for these guys. Just watch Olympic hockey with the space and you see the guys getting more chances at shots. Just watch a fast game last night, and a lot of shots where not quality as the players were stuck from shooting outside. When it goes to 3-3, look at how fast in most cases there is a goal. Not sure about this, but I think back in time it used to be 7-on-7, and then reduced to 6-on-6. Lets go 5-on-5 (means 4-on-4 skaters) for regulation time. Then if there is OT, go down to 3-on-3 which is already in place and quite exciting to watch. Because they won’t make the rink bigger because of lost revenue. Making nets bigger would mean also extra dollars at lower levels and we all know that hockey is already looking for dollars at the lower levels so more difficult to accommodate. In fact, I really wouldn’t care if a 5′ goalie wanted to wear 50″ pads, as they wouldn’t be mobile enough. When they went from 12″ to 11″ most of my friends loved the extra mobility. Price reducing his 3.5″ extra thigh rise improved his game by gaining mobility. One goalie this year and the name eludes me but is on this site in an article, reduced his pad size to gain mobility. So leave the goalies alone, just give the players more ice and it will also increase the strategy as we are seeing in 3-on-3! Good article BTW, and a lot of great comments. Good for us to stand up to the nonsense that is being brought forward with respect to gear reduction. Stick some of those talking reduction in net and they may have a clue what it is all about – SKILL!!! NOT GEAR! Us goalies are smarter anyways than the others, that’s why we make the best commentators..in most cases:)

    Reply
  28. Greg

    I’m astounded by the fact that the solution sits in plain site and nobody has picked up on it. I teach goaltending and can’t believe the size of today’s young net minders.

    Nick Kyprios on Hockey Night in Canada recently stated unequivocally that unless you are 6’3, there isn’t an NHL team that has the slightest interest in you. Oddly enough I had the exact same conversation with Rick Wamsley (Ottawa Senators) this past summer during an OMHA seminar on goaltending. He said the very same thing. The bigger man of today is much more versitle and flexible than he was say 30 years ago when the average goalie was just about 6′ tall. ( Read David Hutchison November 17 2010 In Goal Magazine ) The stats compiled in that article are an eye opener.

    So before nets are altered and forever creating a furor over stats of the greats who played this game since November 26 1917, why not put a cap on goaltender height. Seems simple enough to me. A 6’3″ goalie in a butterfly covers much more net than a goalie 5’11”.

    Something to think about as the NHL approaches its 100 year history in 2017

    Reply
    • bernard

      Right on! thinkin outside the box! sometimes the best solutions are the simplest!

      Reply

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