Carey Rie looking down ice close up
Spencer Martin started this season with one of the most unique equipment quirks we’ve seen in 20-plus years covering the NHL, but the funny thing is he evidently wasn’t the only goalie that was rubbing Vaseline on his pads.

Yes, you read that correctly. It’s not a typo. Until recently (and more on what changed below), the Vancouver Canuck goalie applied a healthy coat of Vaseline to the face of his pads — and for a while his blocker too — before every game.

It’s a habit Martin said he picked up from Pavel Francouz during his time with the Colorado Avalanche, but it has nothing to do with any performance benefit.

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“It creates a layer so when the puck hits it leaves a mark but then after I can wipe it off because the puck mark is on the Vaseline instead of the pad,” Martin said. “I wish there was more to it, but there’s not. I just want to look better.”

Martin certainly isn’t the only goalie that likes to keep his pads clean.

Jaroslav Halak of the New York Rangers has been famous over 17 NHL seasons for how clean his equipment always looks and came up with his own concoction to keep it that way. More on that below too, but first a closer look at Martin’s Vaseline routine, and some of the hard lessons he learned along the way.

“At first, I put it on my glove which is the dumbest thing ever. Pucks went flying out of there,” said Martin, who went through two large tubs of Vaseline this season. “If you put it on the inside edge of the pad, it sticks so I learned that the hard way, and now I’m pretty much done putting it on my blocker because I was told Ryan Miller used to take off the seams of his blocker here because he needed to be that dialed in and I realized I’m getting pucks hitting blocker then the knob [of my stick] because instead gripping and turning it the right way, the puck is sliding. So that’s pretty much done too but the pads, they’ll be clean.”

Martin has since found a new way to keep all his equipment looking clean, with an assist from InGoal, Puck Out and the good folks at The Hockey Shop:


As Cam Matwiv warned in the segment above, be careful not to use Puck Out on raised logos, another lesson that Martin learned the hard way after not heeding the same advice. When Martin first tried it on his blocker, it wiped the blue off the Bauer logo and spread it across the face. The good news is it was an old blocker he no longer used, and was the smeared color easily wiped off.

In a lot of ways, Puck Out is similar to what Halak uses, all part of a habit he said began with the equipment staff in Montreal doing it for him semi-regularly his first four years in the NHL. Halak, who has also used a separate set of practice pads to keep his game pads from breaking down, started doing it himself the next four seasons in St. Louis, first with a type of paint thinner that “wasn’t very good for you and could get you a little high if not careful,” and now using an over-the-counter cleaning solution with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to wipe off puck marks.

“People always ask me if it’s another brand-new set of pads, but I just like that clean look,” Halak explained. “I don’t like the puck marks on my game stuff.”

Thanks to Puck Out, Martin can now keep his gear clean without more “non-stop” chirping from teammates or raised eyebrows from fellow NHL goalies.

“Psychopath,” Jake Allen said with a smirk when he was told about the Vaseline.

Except the Canadiens veteran has some unique equipment quirks of his own, one that started with a home-made solution involving automotive paint, and has since forced True to make it an option for other goalies who wanted the same look.

When Allen got his first set of the popular True one-piece goalie skates in 2017, they only came in all black because of the carbon fiber layers that connected the skate boot to the blade to create the first truly one-piece skate. Gone were the white plastic cowlings and blade holders and while the improved connection between foot and blade led to widespread NHL adoption, it didn’t pass the mirror test for Allen in his mostly white pads. So, he had the bottom painted white.

“We took them to a car garage in St. Louis and they had to do two coats of white,” Allen said. “I got them in 2017 ahead of the Winter Classic and I remember saying, ‘I can’t wear black skates.’ Usually I’m not picky, but it looked terrible. It was at Busch Stadium and I saw pictures of my gear and I was like, ‘that’s got to go.’ When I looked at myself, I looked awful. It looks good with some guy’s colors and gear, but I couldn’t do it. I was like, ‘I just can’t do it.’”

We’d ask who the psychopath is now, but Allen isn’t alone. Halak loved the new Bauer KONEKT skate but seriously considered switching out of them because of the holder color, so he had the equipment managers paint them black.

It’s surprising given skates are largely hidden by the pads, but how they look can be contentious for a lot of goalies. Arizona Coyotes goalie Connor Ingram is one of more than a dozen NHL goalies to switch to Bauer’s KONEKT skate, but like Andrei Vasilevskiy did last season, his model has been blacked out, with the neon green labels and graphics that draw attention to them removed completely.

“I’m not flashy and wouldn’t do the green,” Ingram said.

So, there you go, NHL goalies having quirky equipment preferences is nothing new, even if spreading Vaseline all over your gear seemed particularly odd.


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