As InGoal reported last week, the NHL Players’ Association already approved a change in the maximum sizing chart allotment for each goaltender’s knee to hip measurement from 55 per cent to 45 per cent. With the average NHL goalie measuring around 20 inches, that amounts to a two-inch trim off the top of each pad and, in theory, a four-inch opening of their 5-hole.
That wasn’t enough for the NHL, which in early June also asked that new measurement be enforced separately rather than continuing as one of part of the formula for each goalie’s entire pad height. The NHL also originally asked for tighter restrictions on the width and contouring of kneepads, something the NHLPA planned to pass off to a Competition Committee sub-committee that is scheduled to meet for the first time over the next week to 10 days – likely too late for the upcoming season.
According to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, after meeting last Thursday in New York the NHL Players’ Association is still going to consider the additional goaltending equipment reduction requests for this season.
“We have the Players’ Association commitment to going back to the goaltender group on kneepads and some of the other additions that Kay Whitmore has in mind to do,” Daly said prior to taking part in a Town Hall-style event with Vancouver Canucks season ticket holders this week. “It is an ongoing process. We are going to get some movement this year with respect to goaltending equipment, but it’s going to continue to be a work in progress.”
Some manufacturers and NHL goalies expressed concern last week that it was getting too late in the summer to make some of the changes. But Daly indicated that wasn’t the case when it came to the request for smaller kneepads.
“On Kneepads, what [Whitmore] wants to do, as I understand it, is not a manufacturing issue,” Daly said. “So if we get goaltender buy-in, it is something we can actually implement for next season.”
The NHL wants to be able to specifically measure and limit the top section of kneepads, including a proposed eight-inch maximum above the top of the goalie’s landing gear or knee stack (the area on the inside edge where goalie’s knees hit when they drop down into the butterfly) in order to prevent more goalies from altering how their pads are made and worn to push more of it up their leg and into the 5-hole when they drop to the ice.Some goalies expressed concerns in last week’s article that the combination of shorter pads to open up the 5-hole and smaller kneepads at the same time could lead to injury. New York Rangers’ backup Martin Biron even suggested implementing the changes on New Year so goalies had time to adjust safely. Of course, the NHL could counter by pointing out their proposal on goalie equipment was first made back in early June, and there would have been more time for goalies to experiment and adjust if it hadn’t taken until mid-July to respond.
Either way, NHL goalies are getting smaller next season.
The only question left is how much.
~ For more specific details on the equipment changes, the thoughts behind them, and concerns about some of them, read last week’s story on the player’s approval of a 10 per cent thigh rise reduction, or the original story on the proposed changes, including the thoughts on new competition committee member Cory Schneider, from back in early June.