No changes to the goalie equipment this season? Except for pants, maybe

In case you all forgot about this, there was a huge commotion earlier in the year about the NHL allegedly cutting down goaltending equipment size AGAIN. Cory Hirsch almost caused the internet to implode after his segment on Sportsnet about reducing equipment size (see video below). Since then, the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup, the Oilers traded Taylor Hall (GET OVER IT!), Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination, and the World Cup jerseys were released. 

I, personally, forgot all about the goalie equipment mumbo jumbo, and apparently so did the NHL. 

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Kay Whitmore, the NHL’s current goaltending supervisor, has been behind the movement to reduce the size of goalie equipment for years. Back in the summer of 2011, Kay, along with the NHL, came up with some fancy, magical formulas to personalize the fit of goal pads to each individual goalie. The major rule change that came out of that summer was that height of a goalie’s pad can only come 55% up their thigh. 

In March of this year, the NHL decided that the 55% rule wasn’t good enough, and the pads, along with the rest of goalie’s equipment, needs to be smaller. The penalty for goaltenders not obeying the new equipment regulations was supposed to be a two-game suspension. It is now August 16th, and in a recent interview with Jason Gregor, Kevin Woodley states that goaltenders haven’t even been told anything regarding new equipment.

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This may be all a facade. It’s definitely possible that the goalies are keeping the news hush hush. But I would like to believe that the NHL execs had an “oh shit’ moment, and are just remembering now that they promised to do something about the gear. 

However, if it is true, and no goaltenders in the league have been approached by the NHL about an upcoming rule change, then it likely will not happen. With training camp around the corner, pad manufacturers have zero time to create new pads for the goalies. So we can throw that idea out the window. Pants and maybe chest protectors will be easier to change as there is less customization required. If the NHL wanted to limit the size of pants a goalie can wear, I imagine they may still have time to do so. 

My Take

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I have warmed up to the idea of cutting the size of goaltending equipment down. There are no current restrictions on chest protectors and pants, so obviously the NHL could prevent guys from wearing something unnecessarily big like in Cory Hirsch’s video. However I do take umbrage with some things he says, like making the blocker flat and stick shorter. If the NHL is going to reduce the size of goalie equipment, they need to make sure it is done to ONLY reduce unnecessary blockage.

Making the blocker flat has nothing to do with taking up more room in the net. It is there for strategic purposes only. If we’re going to purposely make the goalie’s job harder, we might as well make their pads heavier. Heavier pads = slower goalies = more goals?

At the same time, instead of focussing on the goalies, there are other aspects of the game we can change to increase scoring. There are goaltenders in the NHL right now that can almost stick handle better than some defencemen in the league. Is there really a point on forbidding them from going to the corners anymore? I would love to see Carey Price out there playing more aggressive. If he turns it over from time to time and a goal is scored then the lack of a trapezoid has served its purpose. 

Other rule changes to create more scoring has been talked about time after time. Check out Jason Gregor’s article for some more ideas. 

Nation Night At The Esks Game

Screenshot 2016-08-16 13.14.21

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  • vetinari

    @Chris @jeanshorts

    I swear to the hockey gods, if you two don’t behave, I am turning this comment board around and dropping you both off at uncle Brownlee’s for the day and NO ONE wants that including uncle Brownlee…

  • ubermiguel

    Look at that image of Tiny Thompson. The net’s the same size as today, he was 5’10” which is small for a goalie today but is still roughly Halak’s size.

    Corey Hirsch played the game and has spent a lot of time working on these things, he makes a very credible case. I say implement everything he suggested before trying anything.

    Unfortunately it took too long to bring out these changes, they’ll either have to wait until next year or after the all-star break.

  • Roberto

    I think goalies should be able to leave the net to play the puck anywhere they want. Create an area in front of the net (like the crease but bigger) where they can’t get bodychecked, and everywhere else is fair game. Go out to the blue line to play the puck? Sure, but then WHAMMO! Kassian with an open ice hit on Ryan Miller, and the crowd goes wild. Would make the game more exciting, but will never happen, cause Bettman is a SISSY!

  • a lg dubl dubl

    I’ve never really been bothered by the trapezoid, could even add a bigger arch in front of the blue paint if it means the goalies don’t get run. Step outside the lines goalies then should be fair game as long as they are going for the puck.

    I did always get a good laugh when a goalie screws up handling the puck and leads to a goal.

    I’d wager letting goalies “roam” a bit more would bring the average goals per year around the NHL and wouldn’t seem so boring.

  • CMG30

    If the goalies are allowed to roam and handle the puck more, then the NHL needs to loosen the rules on hitting goalies outside the crease. Can’t have a player out there lugging the puck around with a magic ‘can’t touch me’ bubble around them.

    It’ll never happen because the GM’s know that the goalie is the single most valuable asset on your team and goalies getting hit will lead to injuries. Everybody in Edmonton and Montreal knows what happens when the your top goalie has troubles…

    • FISTO Siltanen

      I would like to see a rule that allows the goalies to play the puck anyway they want. If they are holding onto the puck though and another player touches them – just a a hand tap like tag – the play is blown dead and the goalie’s team is issued a delay of game penalty.

      No goalie injuries. Allows goalie’s with strong stick handling to remain playing the puck. Eliminates some of the silliness that plagued the game the years leading into the ’05 lockout (I’m looking at you Dominic Hasek and Marty Turco).

  • Serious Gord

    It’s a scandal if there aren’t significant, comprehensive changes made to the size of goalie equipment for this season.

    The principle culprit if it doesn’t has to be the nhlpa and the goalie wing of it. But shame on the league for not being more insistent on changes happening solo knee rather than later.

    Simply put – the NHL is entertainment. Bulky goalies are greatly reducing the entertainment level.

  • Oilerchild77

    The NHL doesn’t care about goalie equipment. I think they’re making that abundantly clear. And the reason they don’t care is because it has to do with addressing the actual quality of the product on the ice, which they’ve never cared much about. Hence the addition of a 31st team and watering down the talent level around the league yet again just for the expansion fee revenue.

    Like any corporation, the NHL only cares about profit. The quality of their product only has to meet a minumum legal standard. Improving the actual quality costs money, and that isn’t what they’re about.