As if life in the crease isn't hard enough, Canucks goalie Cory Schneider has inserted himself in the middle of this summer debate on shrinking goalie gear. (InGoal photo by Clint Trahan)

As if life in the crease isn’t hard enough, Canucks goalie Cory Schneider has inserted himself in the middle of this summer debate on shrinking goalie gear. (Photo by Clint Trahan)

The first question for Vancouver Canucks’ goalie Cory Schneider upon hearing he was one of five players named to the NHL Players’ Association side of the NHL Competition Committee was easy: Why volunteer for such an contentious assignment?

Why insert yourself as the lone voice for goalies on a 10-person committee that meets for the first time Tuesday in Toronto with an agenda that is expected to include the biggest cuts to goaltending equipment since a top-to-bottom trim coming out of the 2004-05 lockout that included reducing the width of leg pads from 12 to 11 inches?

(Editor’s note: Full details on what changes the NHL is expected to propose below.)

Why pit yourself between more than the 600 skaters that want to see more net behind you, and the 60-plus goalies trusting you to keep them safe, an unenviable position that caused Martin Brodeur to quit and often left predecessor Ryan Miller exasperated?

Schneider’s first response showed this Boston College graduate is no dummy.

The levelheaded redhead left himself an easy out clause.

“First of all, talking to the PA, they said it’s not a permanent commitment, so if I do go to this meeting and enjoy it, I can continue,” Schneider told InGoal Magazine over the phone from his hometown of Boston. “But if I don’t, that’s fine as well.”

The extended response showed why there are people on both sides happy to have him involved.

Schneider, who has a degree in finance, was part of the negotiating committee that helped hammer out the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement, and liked “knowing what is going on as opposed to waiting to hear what is going to happen and having no impact on what is going to happen to your career and the careers of your peers.”

Schneider knows a stingier style of play is a more likely cause for the decrease in scoring, but also understands his puck-stopping peers are the easiest target for a fix. Despite reservations among the goaltending fraternity about any pending reductions in the equipment between them and 100-mile-an-hour slap shots, he plans to go into his first Competition Committee meeting with an eyes open, mouth shut mentality.

Much like on the ice, Schneider plans to bring a patient approach to the board room. (InGoal Photo by Clint Trahan)

Much like on the ice, Schneider plans to bring a patient approach to the board room. (InGoal Photo by Clint Trahan)

“Goalies keep evolving, the position is getting more athletic, more durable and just more competitive so you continue to shrink the gear, I guess, but I don’t think that is going to solve some of the other issues that are preventing goal scoring from happening,” said Schneider. “But you can’t just go in and say ‘I am a goalie, I know what I am talking about and you don’t.’ It doesn’t work that way. You have to articulate a stance and listen and find some common ground. You have to bring a balanced approach. You have to understand where they are coming from, hear them out, and try to figure out ways to do it rather than just try to focus on one area only and think it will solve all your problems.

“So you just sort of sit back and hear what is happening and then make your input known when you need to, but don’t really jump in front of it and be overly militant about it.”

All of which may be a lot easier to say heading into the first meeting.

The Players’ Association, through its voice on the Competition Committee, blocked the implementation of a sizing chart for leg pads for a full season after a frustrating summer of 2009 that included the threat of lawsuits, prompting a frustrated Miller to tell InGoal Magazine at the time, “We chose not to be bullied into a half-assed decision, simple as that. We have a duty to protect players and the league probably feels more strongly about following through on publicly made promises to the fans through the media.”

Schneider hasn’t spoken directly to Miller, who talked at times about being worn down by the role, about his experiences, but they share an agent in former NHL goaltender Mike Liut, and they talked about Miller’s time on the Competition Committee.

“He was on it for a long time so I am sure it can be a little draining,” Schneider said. “You are under a lot of pressure to do what is best for the game and for your fellow goalies and players, but he seemed to handle it with a lot of class and expertise, and I think he was a good spokesperson for goalies.”

Most who know Schneider expect that to continue with him on the committee.

THE PROPOSED CHANGES

The thigh rise is loosely defined as the area above the knee stack, which is the square portion of the inside Braden Holtby's left pad in this photo. (InGoal photo by Scott Slingsby)

The thigh rise is loosely defined as the area above the knee stack, which is the square portion of the inside Braden Holtby’s left pad in this photo. (InGoal photo by Scott Slingsby)

Schneider said he was going into Tuesday’s meeting without a full list of what equipment changes would be presented, and expected it to include both chest-and-arm pads and pants – “those give guys a lot of bulk and I think that’s going to be on the board,” he said – as well as bigger and different shaped nets, and the future of the trapezoid. But the two biggest targets from the NHL side of things will be the height of leg pads, particularly the “thigh rise,” or portion above the knee, and the width and contouring of the kneepads many wear behind that.

InGoal Magazine has learned the NHL plans to present more than one option to reduce the height of the pads, but both are expected to include a significant downsizing:

1. Continued use of the individual sizing chart, but with a reduction in the thigh rise from 55 per cent of each goalie’s measurement from the knee to hip, down to 40 per cent. The NHL targeted a 50 per cent maximum eight years ago, but it was negotiated up to 55 per cent by the NHLPA. Given the average total measurement in the League is around 20 inches, a 15 per cent reduction would equate to three lost inches in pad height. Of course that is three inches per pad, and given most goalies use the top of these pads to close the 5-hole when they are down on the ice, that could mean an additional six-inch opening.

(Tuesday night update: InGoal was informed after the meeting by an NHL source that the proposed percentage change was from 55 to 45 per cent and not 40 per cent as originally planned, meaning an average reduction of roughly two inches per pad, or a four-inch opening of the 5-hole. A complete update, with thoughts from NHL goalies and plans for sub-committee meetings will be posted soon).

2. A fixed maximum for every goalie above the knee, likely between seven and eight inches. This would eliminate the sizing chart for thigh rise, and instead fix a maximum height for every goalie’s pad above the knee. Using the average 20-inch knee-to-hip measurement, an eight-inch maximum would be the same as a 40 per cent maximum.

While abandoning even a portion of a sizing chart the NHL fought so hard to get may surprise some, the reality is establishing pad height based on a standing goaltender has little to do with how it is used on the ice. Goaltenders don’t use extra height above the knee to protect their thighs while standing, they use it to wrap around in front of them when they drop into the butterfly, protecting the knees and closing the 5-hole.

How much extra pad each individual goalie needs to establish that seal depends more on the width, or flare, of their butterfly – in other words, how wide they can spread their legs to the side when on their knees – than their standing height. If a goalie can flare their legs out wide, it won’t take much extra thigh rise to close the 5-hole. Those with a narrower butterfly sometimes need longer pads above the knee to wrap around and close it off.

The question now is whether they believe that 5-hole seal is needed for safety?

Goalies with a narrow butterfly, like Jean-Sebastien Giguere here, expose their knees to shots more than wide butterfly goalies that close the 5-hole with their leg pads. (InGoal Photo by Kevin Woodley)

Goalies with a narrow butterfly, like Jean-Sebastien Giguere here, expose their knees to shots more than wide butterfly goalies that close the 5-hole with their leg pads. (InGoal Photo by Kevin Woodley)

The fact there are some narrow butterfly goalies that don’t even bother to use the thigh rise to close the 5-hole, instead relying on kneepads to close it and protect their knees against direct puck impact, suggests they may be able to stay safe without it.

Of course, most of the goalies that expose their knees that way do so while wearing massive kneepads behind their leg pads. The maximum width for these kneepads was quietly reduced from 9.5 to 9 inches two summers ago, and they are supposed to contour around the goaltender’s leg. But the reality is many, including a large Swiss-made custom carbon-fiber option introduced by Francois Allaire and now used by dozens of NHL goalies, are designed as much to form a 5-hole wall as they are to protect.

Given most of the goaltenders InGoal talked to this season expected more of their peers to adopt that style of kneepad if their knees are exposed by smaller thigh rises, it’s no surprise the NHL is also trying to trim that padding as part of this summer’s changes. Ensuring smaller kneepads are enough to protect from direct impact, something many NHL goalies have never had to worry about because of their taller thigh rise, is important.

“We have to determine whether it compromises safety first and foremost, make sure guys have the protection they need,” Schneider said of reducing thigh rise and kneepads. “And after we do that we have to determine is it some form of competitive advantage. Part of the process is you have to ask them ‘who do you think in the League looks bigger than they should and why?’ And hear their explanation as to why this guy looks like his gear is bigger than another or who they feel are examples of these things they are talking about and go from there. We’re not trying to get anyone in trouble, or single people out, we just want to even the playing field and have everyone playing with the same stuff.”

Of course not every goaltender plays the same style, so there will always be concerns about forcing them all into “the same stuff” will affect some more harshly than others.

“You have to understand you can’t please everyone,” Schneider said. “There are too many styles and variations and equipment companies to really find something that’s going to make everyone happy. But I think it should be able to make the majority of us happy and not hurt the integrity of the position – that’s what the goal is.”

MEASUREMENT AND ENFORCEMENT

Determining new size limits for equipment won’t the only goaltending issue the NHL and NHLPA will discuss this week. There will also be talk about how they wear it.

One of the things Miller and others stressed in the past was setting limits without telling goalies how they could wear their equipment, in large part of out of fears changes in the gear would also force some to change their style. But in the past few years how goalies have worn their leg pads has also started to affect how tall they sit on their legs.

For starters, the knee-to-thigh measurement was only one part of a formula to establish overall pad height for each goaltender. It wasn’t uncommon, however, for some to then ask their equipment companies to take some of that total maximum off the boot of the pad, which covers the skate, and add it to the top of the pad to help cover the 5-hole.

Needless to say, the NHL wants the new thigh-rise maximum, whether it becomes fixed or remains a percentage, to be applied directly to the thigh rise and not overall height.

Another problem that developed over the past three years was goalies wearing their pads without the lower bootstrap fastened to hold them down at the skate, which allowed the pad to push up their leg and into the 5-hole when they dropped to the ice.

Henrik Lundqvist's unique boot strap set up allows the pad to move up his leg as he drops to the ice. (InGoal photo by Scott Slingsby)

Henrik Lundqvist’s unique boot strap set up allows the pad to move up his leg as he drops to the ice. (InGoal photo by Scott Slingsby)

Danny Taylor, who doesn’t use a bootstrap at all, became the poster boy for this problem when he was signed and called up by the Calgary Flames this season. But the reality is New York Rangers’ star Henrik Lundqvist, who was among those hardest hit by the sizing chart, has been doing it for years, looping his strap into the back of the skate, and Anaheim Ducks breakout star Viktor Fasth leaves his hanging loose behind his skate.

While its hard to imagine the NHL can enforce how a goalie wears his pads – even if you mandate the bootstrap running through the bottom of the skate there is nothing to prevent goalies from wearing it so long and loose that it still lets the pad ride up – there may be a solution that solves both problems: linking thigh rise maximum to the goalie’s knee stack.

The knee stack, or landing gear, is the area on the inside of the pad that a goalie lands on when they are in the butterfly, and missing this target with the knees when they drop means their knees travel lower to the ice, adding stress on the knees, hips and ankles.

By using the top of this knee stack as a base for the new thigh rise restriction, rather than making it part of an overall formula for pad height, the NHL would prevent goalies from adding to their thigh rise either at the manufacturer or in how they wear a pad.

There are some concerns at the NHL level that goalies will find some wiggle room on the knee stacks, pushing them as high as they can while still landing on the lower edge, but the reality is no goalie can risk the injury that comes with missing it altogether, so using it as a base for thigh rise measurements is believed to be an option the League will pitch.

“Knee stack location is pivotal,” Schneider said. “The knee has to sit in the right spot.”

As for enforcement within a season, don’t be surprised if the NHLPA asks for more.

Victor Fasth bootstrap allowing pad to rise higher on his thigh

Anaheim’s Viktor Fasth already had his shoulder pads trimmed mid-season, and could see his pad height reduced this summer as well. (InGoal photo by Kasey Spatz)

Fasth confirmed to InGoal Magazine late in the season that the NHL cut the shoulder pads on his chest-and-arm unit this season, but that didn’t happen until after he was already off to an 8-0-0 start to his NHL career. To be clear, Fasth wasn’t cheating. The NHL approved his gear, as it does with every piece of goalie equipment, and neither Fasth nor the Ducks made unapproved alterations. The shoulders simply looked bigger on him than expected.

There are also concerns some goalies are tinkering with undergarments, including some with added padding atop the shoulders to force the chest-and-arm unit up higher, or thicker padding under the knees that makes them taller while in the butterfly.

“That falls under the umbrella of enforcement,” Schneider said. “We want everyone with the same stuff. We understand it’s a tough position and everyone does different things to be successful but at the end of the day we all want to be on the same playing field.”

Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but at least Schneider is eager to try.

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26 Responses to Schneider on Competition Committee, Gear Changes

  1. Jonathan says:

    So what determines a goalie’s butterfly width? Do certain goalie’s just have anatomical limitations or can any athlete train to close widen the flair? When you look at goalies like Nabokov and Brodeur you see guys with very low knee stacks. How are they keeping their knees safe? It seems that it might not be that big of an issue and guys really want it for their stats rather than their safety.

    I agree that the style of the game is more to blame for less goals in many ways. There’s so much shot blocking and so few chances. I think hockey is more exciting when there are more chances. When there is a good chance, you are either treated to a brilliant save or a goal. In some ways goaltending becomes less exciting when defense prevents so many chances, but what can they do to change that? Enforce the rules more strictly like they did in ’05-06′? For what its worth, in that season the league wide percentage was .904. In 2011, the league wide save percentage was .916.

    • Jonathan says:

      I meant Brodeur and Nabokov’s thigh rises in the first paragraph, but thats probably obvious by context.

    • Greg says:

      Its some of both — you can train to increase flexibility and thereby increase your butterfly flare. But at some point your hip joints physically cannot move further, and that point is different for everyone.

      For guys like Nabakov and Brodeur, they’re playing an older style that doesn’t rely as much on taking away the entire bottom of the net with a wide butterfly. Its really the same with Giguere. So even though Giguere has higher thigh rises he’s not really using them to make saves in his knees. If you shorten the thigh rises some guys will have to change their style, and until they do they’re going to take a lot of pucks in the knees and goals in the 5-hole.

  2. Rob says:

    Where can I see the Swiss made carbon fiber kneepad referenced here?

  3. Steve kasper says:

    So what happens to all the records goaltenders have set in the past? I can agree there should be a limit on size but to continuously restrict goaltenders only leads to more injuries. Why is that every year the nhl creates more and more restrictions on goaltenders. Why is there only one voice out of ten? Goaltenders are one of the biggest importance in the game and all the nhl does is retaliate on these gifted individuals for being successful.. This isnt soccer we dont need bigger nets. The shots already come at 90mph! How much more are you going to hurt goaltenders?! Huge mistake by the league schnieder needs more help. Stop shitting on goalies!

    • Cody says:

      I agree with you completely! The league doesnt care about making it a level playing field. They would not care if there were more goals being scored. They league just wants more goals because that’s the “exciting” part of the game. Its all a money grab sadly.

      • Tim says:

        No one is shitting on the goalies. Over the years their pads have gotten bigger and bigger until in 2004 the NHL finally did something about it. Many of the most talented goalies in NHL history played with significantly smaller pads then they do now. Look at a picture of Roy early in his career and then look at his pads in 1997 it isn’t even close. This is an effort by the NHL to return the game to its original form. The position is not what it used to be…and believe me that is a disservice to us as fans who have been watching hockey for longer than 10 to 20 years. We remember.

        • alex says:

          no but you see, they played a different game, butterfly goalies need bigger pads and stand up goalies don’t cuz their standing, they don’t need to protect their thighs cuz the pants cover it, and they rarely go down anyway and when they do, its probably like a pad stack or sumthing

        • Greg says:

          So if we’re moving the game back to its original form I assume you’re also in favor of banning slap shots, using only wooden sticks, etc? Because goalies aren’t the only position that has evolved. It doesn’t make sense to prohibit the one from changing and not the other. The reality is that hockey has always been a relatively low scoring game. Go look at scores in the 1930′s. Teams don’t often score more than 3 goals in a game. Its just part of the game.

          • Ace says:

            Greg, you’re dead on!! the game, and the equipment along with it, has evolved so much in the last few decades (think featherweight skates, synergy sticks, nutritional programs, position-specific training, etc.) and the goalies are just starting to catch up… go ahead and make the goalie equipment smaller… then make all the players use leather skates and wooden sticks sans curve… I personally believe protecting the goalies in this day and age, as well as for the future of the position, is of utmost importance… why don’t we ask Sidney Crosby and Mark Staal what they think?

  4. Paul Ipolito says:

    Question on the Giguere image. The caption refers to him as a “narrow” butterfly goalie. He appears to be in a near-perfect “blocking” butterfly stance which may be the correct choice for the situation. I have seen many images of him in anything but a “narrow” butterfly. Just curious.

    • You are right Paul, so hard to find the perfect image for every instance, especially when we shoot from side boards and not straight on, but in general JS has a narrower butterfly, with less flare than others, and does not hesitate to use it (effectively) and open up those knees. Hiller is another guy who will do both. Ironically some teach narrow in specific save situations because rebound control on shots to those knee pads is better, more predictable and usually sits within the top of the pad . Corey Crawford talked about it in an Ask a Pro with us once: http://ingoalmag.com/interviews/ask-a-pro-with-corey-crawford/

      So unless they reign in kneepads at the same time, there was a fear in NHL that smaller thigh rises could actually lead to more use of the big kneepads, more narrow save selections and more goalies discovering the benefits of both — and with all that improved goaltending once again after a gear cut!

  5. moe says:

    Ive seen it called a Giggyfly when goalies talk about their inabilty to spread their legs out in a 180degree wall, so i imagine he’s known for his narrow flair.

    • Jonathan says:

      I’m pretty sure no goalie can spread their legs in a 180 degree wall. I’d say any goalie who can hold a 100 degree wall without assistance on ice has amazing internal hip rotation. If you see a butterfly position from above, you will see really good goalies holding about 90 degrees (which is why some prefer the term “inverted-V” to “butterfly”). But yeah, if you see Giggy with his pads flush, its likely he’s doing a done leg butterfly, where you can really rotate one leg out while keeping one leg neutral.

  6. Jonathan says:

    So I’ve always just laughed at suggestions to make the net bigger, but once a hockey genius like Mike Babcock weighs in on the topic, I started thinking of it more neutrally. On the one hand, I have a lot of respect for records of the past, and thats part of why I like as little change as possible. I like to see people attempt to chase benchmarks set my Lemieux and Gretzky while playing with the same net size to shoot at. And yet, as Babcock points out, goalies today have WAY less to shoot at than Gretzky or Lemieux ever did. And if you want to talk about rules making past records easy to achieve, how about major changes in the game like the use of the curved blade, or the rule change that allowed forward passes (yes, hockey, like rugby, used to only allow sideways or backwards passes, the puck must always be carried forward). Well, all the records before either of those rule changes would now be pretty meaningless, but each rule change made the game better, or at the least more exciting and creative.

    I think the better approach is just to learn to appreciate records as they stand in their historical context and stop worrying about comparing different eras. That kind of comparison is mostly useless. Look at third and fourth line players today compared to thirty years ago. A team of today’s third line players would probably make most teams pass out in exhaustion from the 70s or 80s just in pure physical fitness. There was more headroom before the super stars and the role-players back then. Goalie theory and technique was pretty bad. How many times do you have to chase Gretzky behind your own net before you realize that doesn’t work? Was there any outside thought put into the position back then? Player fitness, size, skill, and strategy all pull the game in directions that the current rule book might not have been designed for, and at that point you have to consider changing things for the benefit of the game, and keep up with innovations and the metagame. I’m personally proud of hockey and the NHL for its willingness to better the game at every turn rather than be stuck in historical orthodoxy for tradition sake like baseball, or even worse, like football (soccer), where you still see championships turned because of a refusal to review whether a ball crossed the line.

    I think there might be merit to making nets a few inches bigger in all directions, but i don’t want a situation like soccer where there are literal ZERO chance situations. I like how in hockey the goalie is almost always a body sprawl away from making a 1% save, and when it happens, its one of the more exciting plays in the game, whereas if the net is too big, they can only sit and watch. I think a bigger problem now is what’s going on in front of the net though. Good chances are just so rare. Yeah goalies still face many shots, but so many are super standard drop and block saves of shots straight to the chest from a wide angle because that’s all the defense is giving up. Is there a way to just make defenders not so great again, like in the 80s, or like the Pittsburgh vs Philadelphia series (:P).

  7. emil says:

    Cory, promote the roots of our craft: Allow goalies use pads as tall as they want; but prohibit the pad itself from ever departing the leg by more than 6″, no matter one’s crouch or how the leg is bent. This would allow a Turko (curved) break a slightly longer rise (to protect knee in butterfly), while those diving-board-stiff rises (bulky “swiss” knee pads no problem) would be limited to 6-7″. This allows each goalie to practice a personal style without promoting such ridiculous pad lengths as we’ve seen for decades now. Yeah, this means more 5-hole goals….but leg pads were never meant primarily for that purpose ….never mind duplicating the protection of breezers, belly and chest gear!

  8. Jesse says:

    Now, after this talk truly surfaced again during the season I started paying more attention to the types of goals scored in the match highlights. While I didn’t bother making any actual statistics, I thought a surprisingly large amount of goals in the NHL still comes through the 5-hole. I understand the league’s general concern for more goals, but IMO this specific area might only be the easiest area to target, not the best or the most effective.

  9. Jon says:

    The solution to scoring more goals can not be found solely on the goaltenders shoulders. There are several resons why I think the game lacks excitment.
    First, The game of hockey has become very postional and stratigic. Rather than promote creativity, coaches drive home responsibility with the puck and simpicity for the sake of eliminating risk. The game is becoming more dull especially at the AHL level because of this very reason. And who can blame the coaches? With millions of dollars and jobs on the line, what coach wouldn’t suggest a safe air tight strategy? Look at the GA and save % at the AHL level. Please tell me that these goaltenders would be capable of these #s at a level where risk and chance taking is the strategy. lol They would not be.
    Second, the trapazoid if anything confines and also eliminates risk. Let the goaltenders play the puck in the corners. The further they are from the net better. Give 5 min penalties for delay of game if they play the puck out and 2 min if they ice the puck when 5 on 5.
    Third, yes some goaltenders rely on bulky equipment. The thigh-rise should be sized according to the size of the goaltenders thigh as well as the shoulders on the upper body. And last I checked my shin is not 11 inches wide. But for the the sake of Millers tears lets leave that one alone.

  10. dawn says:

    envisioning that in the future goalies will be discovered by hanging around watching the figure skaters at practice. those BODY TYPES are very fast, very flexible, and specialists at balance. these would definitely contribute to greater safety and success in the net than a body type that doesn’t have these skills of adaptation and reaction, especially if protection and padding is being reduced. …just sayin :)

  11. Jamaal says:

    I really don’t think that changing equipment or net sizes will do anything significant. If they wanna increase scoring, then they should try eliminating the offside rule altogether. Think about how many odd man rushes, breakaways, and scoring opportunities are killed by the play being blown offside…in quite a few cases, wrongly so, or by the slimmest of margins. Get rid of that rule, and you will undoubtedly see a significant difference in offensive production. You pretty much eliminate any trap style defense, and open things up significantly for the offensive team in terms of pass options. Look at inline hockey…way more offensive production, scoring opportunities, and higher scores to match. That’s just me though.

  12. Patrick says:

    I think what the NHL needs to also consider is the skill and athleticism of today’s goalies. You look at the progression of the position and goalies now are both athletic and technically sound. So even if pads get smaller and nets get bigger I think ultimately goalies will adapt and still become very good at what they do

  13. Ace says:

    the high-scoring run-and-gun games of the 80s and 90s are gone… that was modern era forwards playing against 60s era goalies… the players have gotten faster and bigger (Ovechkin, Getzlaf, Malkin, et.al.) and the equipment has gotten better (featherweight skates, synergy sticks, etc.)…

    twenty years ago maybe a handful of guys could fire the puck over 90mph, now EVERY player can, thanks to new stick technology… just ask Crosby or Mark Staal (or Gregory Campbell who’s leg was recently broken by a Malkin slap shot) what they think of average puck velocities in this day and age… I doubt many forwards, especially those who have sustained significant injury from blocking shots or errant pucks would willingly don the goalie equipment even for a practice.

    the fact is, the game has been getting faster and more complicated for decades and the goalies have only just begun to catch up within the last ten or so years… if you want more goals allow more offense and less defense… restrict neutral zone traps, eliminate icing, allow hack-and-whack play in the corners… seems impossible to me to outlaw certain systems, and as I’ve always been told (and whole-heartedly believe), defense wins championships… hockey is an inherently defensive game and only a defensive strategy will win… it’s the nature of the game… don’t take it out on the goalies

  14. Fullright says:

    I dont buy this contention that it was only recently everyone could shoot hard. Since Bobby Hull, kids have been blowing up garage doors or trying to break the glass with their shot. Everyone at an advanced level has been able to fire hard for at least 30 years. The difference in shots is the release and whether a player has a snap shot and/or a wrist shot. The nets dont need to change. Although I have been done for 16 years, modern doctrine for goaltenders is to play from your knees (butterfly and fill the net with big gear). Maybe the pads are too long but so what? Where the league might have an argument is the body armor and the catching gloves. Most goaler nowdays look like linebackers and with these huge trappers and this fingers up stuff, pucks bounce out of them a lot. If the league is going to change the rules on gear, get rid of the trapezoid marks. Maybe we can get a lot of goalers who can actually handle the puck again and perhaps that can offset in diminution in the gear size if it happens. Good for Schneider taking this on.

  15. paul szabo says:

    Reading through the comments clearly shows that Ingoal’s readers have some intelligent ideas and opinions that go beyond what happens in the crease. I echo the comments about the questionable merit in putting goalie equipment under the microscope (again), when there are so many other readily identifiable causes for lower scoring i.e. the way that the rule book is enforced and the use of shot blocking and zone techniques to limit scoring chances.

    We are at the climax of the playoffs and much of what I have seen up to now is the puck carrier having the hardest time getting to the net due to holding and hooking which would have been penalized in January. Clear shots on goal are a rarity. These things are as much or more of a factor than goalie equipment, and when I worked at Goalies World Magazine years ago the editor was already making that clear.

    Take a look at this photo of a lacrosse goalie. His chest protector makes hockey equipment look like a joke. It is ridiculously huge. However, lacrosse scores regularly go into double digits. Why? I am not sure, but I think it has much more to do with things that have nothing to do with goalie equipment.

  16. Graham says:

    The continuous COLD WAR, Shooter vs Goalie…..

    I’ve been delightfully entertained by the topic/subject at hand and even been caught smirking at some of the comments and responses. There will always be a continuous effort to get goalie equipment smaller. Looking back at what originally was worn from 1900′s up to present day is like comparing a 2 minute halloween costume to a legit movie knock-off. The evolution of equipment and strategy continues to grow, not matter what you say or do.

    Consider that in the 90′s, goalies were enormous, but also consider the fact the weight that came with that gear was terrible. The Garth Snow shoulder pads much of been terribly restrictive to head movement. Big pads meant big weight, not even considering how much water the materials were soaking up during plays, it was part of the job back then. And now, you have 38″+2 or 3, 4…. that only weigh 5 lbs each leg. That’s tremendous! It means that evolutions can be made, more recoveries and agility can be developed. Synthetic leathers introduced that are better at repelling water. Just the evolution of the inner part of the pad has revolutionized the butterfly tactics. These new tactics didn’t even exist 10 years ago or if they did, it had to be an extremely gifted althete.

    During the original six days, stand up style meant you were better able to recover for secondary shots, then during the 90′s butterfly became super popular, because you were able to take the bottom portion of the net away and recover for rebounds. Brodeur helped popularized playing the puck, and destroy forechecking, which the NHL then silenced with the dredged trapeziod. Something always comes around because there was something there to be invented.

    To think that having less equipment would help scoring? I think they should look at the entire sport than just how fat the goalies’ pants or pads are/were.

    Just to list of few ideas:
    - shallower nets, more room behind net and easier wrap arounds.
    - get rid of trapezoid and allow goalies to play puck and adjust “rules” on smothering pucks or terms of goalie interference (slot/crease ruling vs on the boards away from the net).
    - extremely wide/”fat” blue-lines to promote less off-sides to keep the play going, which could improve offense or even powerplays
    - move the goal-line forward 3 feet and see what adjustments the team and goalie need to make.

    It’s scary to think that just 60 years ago, wearing a face mask was considered being a coward, yet you ask a kid today to do that, they’d think you were insane. Go ahead and change the equipment, because something else will be invented in the mean time.

    Now just something to think about here, if the rules keep changing and equipment gets smaller, what will the rules be on the future’s goalie size? 6’6″ might become what today we think 6’1″ is a decent size. Not to mention the width of the shoulders or arm length. Can we have a ban on the actual genetic build of an individual? What about hand size? Can you see how ridiculous this can get?

    Originally goalies weren’t even allowed to go to their knees to make saves. So it’ll be interesting to see where the NHL will go next. Hopefully something significant of importance will be done than just a tummy tuck and a reduction on the shoulders, which will only help sell a few more million sets of goalie gear for the manufacturers. It hard to remember that business is just as or if not more important than the game and positions itself.

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