Ever notice that a lot of goalies who wear a lexan throat protector, NHL’ers included, tend to tie the side strings through the cage itself rather than through the ear holes? The throat protector was made to pivot up and down, but attaching it this way causes it to balloon out in front of the goalie’s face during play action, effectively blocking one’s view (especially the newer coloured or opaque ones). By the way, ever notice that when you buy one of these things, there are no instructions given as to how to attach it? I coach some kids whose dads have it tied on in so loosely that it is more of a sternum protector than anything else. Really lives up to its French language namesake: “bavette” or bib (i.e. like the Fisher Price plastic bib I used to put on my kids when they were babies, with the big scoop at the bottom for all the guck that missed their mouths or got spit up…)
Tying the side strings through the ear holes draws the protector closer to the chin so that it stays out of the way. Moreover, drilling a hole in the BOTTOM of the protector and passing the middle string INSIDE the mask, between the mask and the chin cup, ensures that the throat protector cannot ever come up in front of one’s field of vision, even when the goalie’s head is facing down (as is the case whenever the puck is close to the goal). Compare photo 1 to photo 2 and decide for yourself.
Personally, it drives me nuts to see so many young goalies (and old ones too) whose vision must be blocked about 50% of the time. When the puck is close to your body, down on the ice it is often impossible to see because of the way the dangler is attached!
Look at the accompanying picture of Marc Andre Fleury (photo by Jonathan Newton, Washington Post). While the red shading is by no means exact science, it is pretty easy to imagine how the area close to his body (where the puck happens to be) is obstructed by the throat protector swinging out.