Ingoal Insider: A closer look at Dwayne Roloson’s pads
Looking for Rolson’s Mask? We’ve got lots of great shots of that too.
Warrior has a great pad customizer so that you can design your own look. Check it out and see what you’d like to wear!
With the Tampa Bay Lightning preparing to face off against the Boston Bruins in round three, a number of interesting by-lines come into focus, not the least of which is the matchup between the NHL’s two almost-graybeards, Dwayne Roloson and Tim Thomas. At 37 Thomas might suddenly feel like a spring chicken compared to the 41 year old Rolson, but that doesn’t mean that the two most senior members of the NHL goalie brotherhood are in any way behind the times.
Consider that Tim Thomas this year had his Sportmask Mage redesigned to his own specs, with a unique cage that offers better protection without compromising vision. Roloson, meanwhile, showed his avant-gardism by being one of the first to switch to Warrior pads in 2009. He is one of only two goalies (the other being Ty Conklin of the St. Louis Blues) currently wearing Warrior gear in the NHL. Ray Emery tried them in practice last season and a small number of other NHL’ers had equipment made but never wore it in any games.
For those of us in the normal world who are stuck making do with our old stuff, Ingoal had a chance to take an inside look at Rollie’s custom pads made in Montreal, by Warrior. Comments and photos (of Roloson’s gear) were generously provided by Chris Paul, Warrior’s Pro Goalie Rep.
While many of us think that NHL goalies are always trying to push the envelope by making their gear bigger, taller and wider, in Rollie’s case the opposite almost seems to be true. Examine the back of the stock Messiah pad with its knee channel, full cradle and multiple calf wings. Now compare it to Roloson’s pad. At first glance one might think that the manufacturer had forgotten to finish building the pad: there are no knee cradle and no stabilizing wings whatsoever, just a flat, open surface where the knee falls.
He (Rollie) is a guy that knows what he wants. He’s been in the game for so long that he doesn’t necessarily need to have all the bells and whistles that all the brands are coming out with.
When we brought him the first set of Messiah’s it was his style – he liked the pad – but basically took an exacto knife and cut a lot of stuff out. He barely has anything in the pad…he’s got no calf stabilizer, he’s got no knee lock…its pretty much a pad with two landing gears. He has his knee landing and he’s got the leg landing and that’s pretty much it.
Moreover, the landing gear is simply sewn onto the edge of the pad and seems rather thinner than the regulation 2.5″ allowed. One would presume that the idea is to allow faster pad rotation, although Roloson not reputed to be a goalie who relies too heavily on just the butterfly.
They (Roloson’s knee stacks) are not as thick”; 3/8 inch HD foam…no soft foam like what we use on a stock pad. Basically on the spec sheet it’s “trim this, trim that, trim the top of the calf stabilizer, thinner HD foams, no exterior calf wrap…”. It’s pretty much, you know, you look at a 1985 pad – you look at options in the pads back then – it’s pretty much what you had back then.” He (Roloson) floats in the pad, he doesn’t need anything holding on to his leg…he’s free as a bird. You look at him move around; skating wise he’s very quick. I’m sure having less in the pad is helping him out.
A third noteworthy element of Roloson’s one-off Messiahs is that the entire foot section is offset, not just the boot channel. Sher-Wood was one of the first companies to scoop out the boot section of the pad closer to the inside edge of the pad so the skate and skate blade would fall closer and faster into contact with the ice for pushing in the butterfly (they called it the “ice bite” principle). Roloson’s pad takes this one step further by actually angling the boot section of the pad away from the center axis, presumably so the skate effectively is positioned closer to the ice when in a crouch or butterfly position.
His style, his positioning, he’s so crouched down that we tapered out quite a bit on his inside boot …maybe two inches. And being the wise man that he is and playing within the rules, since we took two inches off the inside he thought, it’d be a great idea to add it on the outside. The boot on his pad is kind of on an angle, sort of like the blockers in the 80’s…if you measure it’s clearly 11 in wide across, it’s just that he took off a little form the boot and added it on the other side. When you look at the pad up close it gives it that unique look.
Do all these tricky mods make a difference in the long run? Judging by the result of round two of the Lightning’s playoff run, something has been doing the trick. Much to almost everyone’s surprise, Tampa Bay has eliminated the top team in the East in four games straight. And while Roloson’s play in games three four was not the primary deciding factor, he was oustanding in the game 2 OT win and is currently riding a 7 game winning streak, which pretty much makes GM Steve Yzerman look like a genius for bringing in the 41 year old goalie who seems to have no fixed expiry date. Here is a look at Roloson (unintentionally one would presume) thinking like his former teammate Dominik Hasek, making a save with his head where the force of the shot literally blows the mask off the goalie’s face.