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.
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.
“Trained with 5 NHL goalies today and none of them have the new gear, none have ordered it and they think they won’t have to.” Woodley #NHL
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) August 15, 2016
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.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 18, 2016
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
Join us on Friday, August 26th as the Nation takes over Brick Field at Commonwealth. The Eskimos are taking on the Roughriders, and we’re inviting you all out to join us on the Bacardi Party Deck. Get your tickets here, and use the promo code: party. See you there!