Inside Cory Schneider’s surprise playoff pad switch with Devils
— x-John Smith (@NJviDs) April 14, 2018
Cory Schneider surprised the goaltending world – or at least our gear geek chapter in the goalie union – when he entered the New Jersey Devils first round playoff game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday wearing CCM pads for the first time.
Turns out Schneider was also caught by surprise.
Schneider, who has worn Vaughn pads and CCM gloves throughout his 10-year NHL career, had been experimenting with the new pads in practice but wasn’t planning to wear them during a game, at least not yet. When Keith Kinkaid was pulled after giving up five goals on 15 shots, however, Schneider played in matching gear for the first time in an NHL game.
“Well it was more by accident than anything,” Schneider said in a text message to InGoal after the game. “Been messing around with them this week in practice, didn’t wear them in Game 1, wore them tonight just to have them on, sometimes they feel more comfortable after that. Of course I had to go in! I was confident in them but wasn’t planning on playing with them.”
Schneider’s history of equipment preferences made the decision more surprising. While it’s true he has tried several brands over the years during the offseason — at one point during the 2012-13 lockout there were four or five sets of pads in the locker room he was using in Vancouver — Schneider always stuck with the Vaughn, in part because he counted on the way it the boot section and break softened and settled over top of his skate.
So to see Schneider in anything else was a shock. For him too.
“I feel so bad, honestly feels like I’m cheating on someone,” Schneider said.
It's been a while, but Cory Schneider looked right at home in the playoffs. The tipped point shot was a nice stop – the split glove larceny afterward was incredible. pic.twitter.com/ICTDzpSOcG
— InGoal Magazine (@InGoalMedia) April 14, 2018
Schneider also pointed out he was wearing a pair of one-piece True skate. That too was surprising, if only for the timing of debuting them in a playoff game. Schneider has gone cowling-less before, but never for long. Two seasons ago, he tried a Bauer skate without a traditional cowling but switched out of it after one period. Last year he wore a no-cowling True (then VH Footwear) two-piece skate at the World Cup of Hockey, but struggled with the forward pitch in his long game action, and went away from it.
Whether the most recent gear switch lasts any longer remains to be seen.
Schneider stopped all 10 shots he faced in relief of Kinkaid on Saturday, and seems a safe bet to be the Game 3 starter on Monday, even if Devils coach refused to name a starter on Sunday, and despite not winning since Dec. 27.
Schneider is 0-10-2 since then with an .863 save percentage while missing a couple different stretches because of illness and injury, including six weeks through March 1 that allowed Kinkaid to take over as the starter. Schneider, who started the season 17-6-4 with a .923 save percentage and has a .920 career save percentage that ranks fifth all-time among goalies to play more than 350 NHL games, even joked that the slump may have played a role in his surprise equipment change this week.
“The way things have been going, I’m open to any and all changes,” said Schneider, who had given up four 5-hole goals his previous five games. “We’ll see if it’s permanent.”