New regulations to keep goal pads proportional to the goaltenders’ size are complex and it is unclear if they will make any difference.
The most recent edition of the Hockey News has published an article Size Does Matter on upcoming changes to the rules to ensure goaltenders’ leg pads will be proportional to the size of the goalie.
In what sounds like a bureaucratic exercise that only a government official could like, Kay Whitmore, former NHL goalie and current guru of equipment size has come up with a complex formula to calculate permitted size of goalies’ leg pads next season. The NHL hopes that by keeping gear proportional to the size of the individual, they will make the game fairer and increase scoring chances.
disclaimer: I’m 5’8” and maybe, just maybe, that’s part of the reason I’m writing about goaltending and not earning a living being one. I wear 34” pads that do not come up to my waist, but they are wider than the NHL would approve of because I can’t afford new ones for beer league hockey.
I hate this new plan. Some short guy should take the NHL to human rights court as being given smaller tools to earn his living purely because of his stature. Darren Pang, if he was still playing, would have to buy kids’ road hockey pads to conform to these regulations. Is Martin St. Louis told he can only use a stick of a certain length?
Clearly goalie gear is a tool for stopping the puck. It is not just for protection or it would all be form fitting and the catcher would be replaced with a blocker. Every goalie deserves the same size gear for stopping the puck.
Aside from being discriminatory, this sounds like a significant waste of time and resources – and it is a shot in the dark at best. Even Whitmore himself admits as much when he says:
“This might blow up in our faces because goalies might end up being faster and quicker and maybe they’ll ultimately be better. Maybe I’ll end up getting fired because of this.”
So where exactly is the problem? Currently the NHL does not permit pads longer than 38” in length. Under the new rules apparently, 6’5” Pekka Rinne would be permitted pads that exceed this maximum. OK, so the tall guys see no change or, it’s not clear, they maybe get longer ones. I guess that also means that the guys a bit shorter than Rinne can keep their 38s. Wait, that’s most goalies, isn’t it?
There aren’t many goalies under 6-feet and they aren’t exactly the guys you need to open up for more goals: Theodore, Toskala, Turco, Osgood. OK, Tim Thomas as well. Or put another way –the guys stopping most of the pucks now are the same guys who won’t see a change in pad length.
Nice –the league expects a significant increase in scoring because a couple of short guys are apparently stopping every shot between their legs when in the butterfly unfairly. Right. We have a whole system created that makes life tougher on a few goalies who already have it tough. Sounds more like employment insurance for someone from the NHL home office with a tape measure and a pocket calculator.
Here’s how difficult the system is to try and understand. I haven’t seen it officially, I’m just doing my best to interpret what the Hockey News has written. They are a quality publication and in a well-written story I found it tough to sort out (did I mention I’ve taught calculus and physics).
A. Measure from the floor to the middle of the kneecap. Presumably with a straight leg. Subtract the length of instep.
B. Measure from mid knee-cap to the pelvis. (hmmm, exactly where I don’t know.) The top of the pad can cover 55% of that distance.
C. Add in the distance from the top of the boot to the bottom of the blade to get total length permitted on the pad. I’m guessing they measure along the top of the foot so guys with big feet get bigger pads. Great, I’m a size 8. This last bit can only be on the bottom of the pad – you can’t be a guy with long feet and use that to make the top of your pads taller.
A+B+C gives you the new permitted pad length.
We have then a complicated system that requires significant resources to manage. It will have a minimal effect on a few individuals. Whether you like it or not, it should serve to reinforce the advantage that tall goalies already have in today’s game.
Hey Kay, if you wnted to increase scoring why not just go back to the way it was in 1920? Goalie gets fined for going down, can’t leave the crease and wears no mask. That oughtta make the game more exciting.
Tell me, please, that minor hockey leagues won’t be adopting this.