Jump to content

NHL to reduce the size of goalie equipment!


Accord

Recommended Posts

I'm glad they came to their senses and will be reducing the size of goalie equipment, not increasing the size of the nets.

 

ROMULUS, Mich. -- Honey, they shrunk the goaltenders.

 

But wait, that's not the best part. The goalies agreed to be shrunk. Whenever the National Hockey League gets back in business, the best puck stoppers in the world will be MiniMe versions of themselves, and the league hopes downsized netminders will translate to an uptick on the scoreboard.

 

"These changes alone, I'm not sure they'll make a difference," said Martin Brodeur, New Jersey's superstar goalie, shortly after emerging from a meeting of six-plus hours with league officials and general managers. "If other changes aren't made, too, and I'm still seeing only 16 shots a game, then, no, I don't think you'll see a big difference in scoring. But it's a start."

 

Finally, a beginning, with owners and players working together on an initiative to improve the product. Its game suffocated by defense and its entertainment value dropping like a stone in recent years, the NHL attempted early last spring, soon after the All-Star Game, to make a significant reduction in goalie equipment. But rather than accept what most everyone viewed as a desperately needed fix, the NHL Players Association immediately filed a grievance, and the issue ultimately disappeared into what eventually became the black hole of a 2004-05 season lost to a lockout.

 

However, in meeting with a dozen goalies Wednesday, and continuing those talks again yesterday with all 30 GMs in attendance -- along with commissioner Gary Bettman and union boss Bob Goodenow -- the league finally made giant strides in opening up the net. With the blessings of Messrs. Brodeur and Marty Turco, and with Goodenow as witness, a working (although unwritten) agreement was forged that will reduce the netminders' blocking area by an estimated 12 percent to 14 percent. In theory, that makes more of that 24 square feet of net open to scoring.

 

"Who knows, these changes may make the goalies quicker and faster," said ex-NHLer Kris King, the consultant in NHL hockey operations who is overseeing Operation Downsize. "Maybe now they'll only be better. But it could force some to be puck stoppers instead of just puck blockers, and that could mean guys forced to make great catches, or being forced out of position. The thought of that alone is exciting."

 

Nothing, though, would validate the change like an improvement of half a goal a game. Or to be outrageous, how about a goal a game?

 

The downsized dimensions must be tweaked, in part because the goalies will be part of the design-and-test process. Provided they (and the NHLPA) are satisfied they can do their jobs and not be hurt, the trimming will result in:

 

The width of leg pads, now each 12 inches in width, cut back to 10 inches

 

The circumference of the catching glove, recently dropped from 52 to 48 inches, to be 45 inches.

 

Netminders' shirts and pants to be smaller and more form-fitting. "No more of that `barrel' look in the pants," said King. "Not so much the Michelin man -- that's what they call us," added Brodeur.

 

The blocker pad, protecting the hand and forearm on the goalie's stick side, will be cut back an inch, both in width and length.

 

The height of the pads will not exceed 35 inches. King later added that goalies were open to considering different maximums, in proportion to a goalie's height. A tall goalie such as Wrentham's Garth Snow, known for his towering pads, might be allowed a taller version than, say, Boston's Andrew Raycroft. But no longer would Snow be allowed to use pads that looked like he bought them from the Godzilla Surplus Outlet.

 

Other significant changes to the game were discussed, such as yanking out the center-ice red line and adopting shootouts, but they remain in the talking phase, according to Colin Campbell, director of hockey operations. Chances are, he said, they won't get any more talk here, because the GMs today will turn their attention back to the lockout, and how they intend to run their business (read: replacement players?) if the league and the union can't come to an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement.

 

It was believed that key negotiators on both sides, Bettman and Goodenow among them, intended to meet for informal CBA talks last night at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

 

According to Campbell, a handful of GMs expressed interest in having the American Hockey League test the concept of playing without a red line. As for the shootout, something American television interests have pushed for recently, Campbell said there was some interest among GMs to consider playing four-on-four in overtime (the current standard), and then moving to three-on-three before implementing a shootout. There remains much to talk about, he said.

 

Bigger nets? The GMs met in a conference room that had four nets -- one original and three enlarged -- for all to see. With all energy focused on downsizing goalie equipment, the nets never came up for formal discussion. Perhaps that was the league's intent from the start.

 

"Maybe yes, maybe no," shrugged Brodeur. "I hope that would be a last resort. There is a lot that can be changed before we change the history of the game."

 

Seven months into the lockout, still no sign of the NHL making the lockout history, getting back on its feet. But when that day comes, this much we know -- the netminders will be lighter on their feet.

 

http://www.boston.com/sports/hockey/articl...size_equipment/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually think this will do the reverse of what most people think. People like Roberto Luongo are so quick, this won't matter. Maybe a 2-5 percent increase, but the goaltenders today are the most athletic and I don't see how making it easier for them to move is going to increase goals other than some goals that would've been blocked by the slightly bigger pads.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually think this will do the reverse of what most people think. People like Roberto Luongo are so quick, this won't matter. Maybe a 2-5 percent increase, but the goaltenders today are the most athletic and I don't see how making it easier for them to move is going to increase goals other than some goals that would've been blocked by the slightly bigger pads.

734804[/snapback]

 

Outside of the elite goalies in the NHL such as Hasek, Belfour, Luongo, Brodeur, etc. and some of the up and coming stars like Lehtonen, most goalies would not be where they are today if they were forced to use smaller pads. You're right, the goalies of the modern NHL are the most athletic players on the ice, and by forcing them to use smaller pads this will allow them to showcase their athleticism resulting in spectacular saves, and great saves can be just as exciting as a great goal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



×
×
  • Create New...