Really no reason pads need to extend that high.

Really no reason pads need to extend that high.

The next time the NHL’s competition committee meets, they will once again be talking about scaling back the size of goalie equipment. And as long as they can keep goaltenders safe, I’m fully on-board.

It seems like what they’re talking about is shortening the length at the top of the pad, which would allow for a bigger five-hole, which means more leg-squeeze, which means more room on the sides. What it seems like, is a plan that would create a few more goals that wouldn’t take away from goaltender safety. Tough to complain about that.

Kevin Woodley of InGoal Magazine met with Cory Schneider, the lone goalie representing the players, who will be at the meetings. In that post, he talks about the proposed changes, which include:

1. Continued use of the individual sizing chart, but with a reduction in the thigh rise from 55 per cent of each goalie’s measurement from the knee to hip, down to 40 per cent. The NHL targeted a 50 per cent maximum eight years ago, but it was negotiated up to 55 per cent by the NHLPA.

Given the average total measurement in the League is around 20 inches, a 15 per cent reduction would equate to three lost inches in pad height. Of course that is three inches per pad, and given most goalies use the top of these pads to close the 5-hole when they are down on the ice, that could mean an additional six-inch opening.

2. A fixed maximum for every goalie above the knee, likely between seven and eight inches. This would eliminate the sizing chart for thigh rise, and instead fix a maximum height for every goalie’s pad above the knee. Using the average 20-inch knee-to-hip measurement, an eight-inch maximum would be the same as a 40 per cent maximum.

Six extra inches of five hole sounds pretty darn good.

As noted by Pro Hockey Talk, the League may also evaluate ways goalies personally alter their gear.

You can check that post to get some great quotes from Schneider, and learn about the direction the rule changes are going.

Comments (17)

  1. I still think it’s absolutely ridiculous that the NHL is so anal about goal gear that Whitmore has to manually sign-off on every piece of equipment that affects scoring, but goalie masks are regulation free. Not to mention skaters can wear whatever they want. Doesn’t matter what egg shell they wear on their head or how hard their elbow/shoulder pads are. Goals over safety, right?

    • Take it up with the PA, they’ve stood in the way of safety measures like visors and helmets for decades. And skaters can’t wear whatever they want, there are regulations on player equipment just like goalie equipment.

    • I do want to point out that the masks that these keepers use, are not certified by the CSA, because the process is expensive. I would gladly wear one of these unregulated, full kevlar, carbon fiber, and aerospace grade epoxy reinforced tanks, with custom fitted shock absorbing foam, over one of the flimsy, paper thin, flexible, plastic CSA approved masks any day. We goalies, call those CSA approved masks widowmakers, because although they pass the test for impact from falling, they are not tested by the CSA for taking impact from a puck being shot…which is kinda the whole point of wearing them. Needless to say, they fail, and I guarantee you that if you should ever find yourself the recipient of a hard shot while wearing one, that you would question how they were ever deemed safe to use for that purpose.

      There’s a lot of things that you folks who don’t play the position, don’t understand about it, and I, for one, am glad that the NHL doesn’t limit these guys to some of the off the shelf garbage that is offered. It’s grossly inadequate for the caliber of shots that they are facing. I’d encourage you to do some research into how CSA tests their masks, and then go see how a non-certified pro mask maker like Warwick or Pro’s Choice, tests their masks. The former, has test videos where his mask is subjected to a 160 mph impact from a puck, and shows the effect of the same impact on a cantaloupe and a watermelon. Tony from Sportmask, wears his masks personally, and has people pelt him in the head repeatedly with hard shots, to ensure that every mask that he makes, will protect a goalie like it’s supposed to.

      Watch Warwick’s YouTube video, as well as the CSA mask testing video, and then tell me how certification for fall impact is crucial to protection from hardened rubber being hurled at your face at speeds between 60-110 mph. I think that you’ll find that these professional keepers, know how to protect themselves better than the CSA, where the people conducting the tests, are not experts in the practical application of the masks, and are not subjected to the impacts that goalies are while wearing them.

  2. I like it. Frankly, I think the size of the goalie gear should be scaled back to what it was in the late 80′s. Look at the goaltenders then and the ones today. Not to mention, when you consider that the gear today is significantly more protective and lighter, there is no reason for goalie gear to be as big as it is today. Look at game shots of Patrick Roy in his rookie year vs. his last year (I know his last year was before the gear was scaled down during Lockout I). There was so much more net to shoot at during the rookie year, strictly because the equipment was so much smaller. At one time there was an argument to be made that the bigger equipment was necessary for safety, but today’s gear has improved it’s protective qualities so much that the safety argument is now moot.

    • Oh, and one more thing – goalie gear is intended to protect the goalies (as is player gear intended to protect players). Goalie gear is NOT intended to aid them in stopping the puck. But without the protection argument, the only valid argument to be made for bigger goalie gear is that it aids them in stopping the puck.

      • Well said Matt! Couldn’t agree more!
        Former goalies including Garth Snow, and even Patrick Roy, have admitted that the gear was to block the net, not to protect.

    • Hate to tell you this, but gear was bigger in the 80s than it is now. Pads were wider, and blockers and trappers, were much bigger. The only reason gear seems bigger, is because goalies are physically bigger. 6’5″ Pekka Rinne, is a monster compared to 5’6″ Mike Vernon, or 5’9″ Glen Hanlon, so he needs taller pads than they would.

  3. Changing the size of goalie gear is stupid. The most entertaining hockey games are close & low-scoring. There is enough goal scoring in the NHL already.

    And to those people saying goalie equipment needs to be downsized to how it was 30-40 years ago: get real. Skaters are way faster nowadays and those $2-300 composite sticks flex and create these wicked hard shots that just didn’t happen back then. If the player gear (skates & sticks) were used back in the day, there would be a ridiculous amount of goals scored. Goalie equipment has gotten bigger and adapted to how the game is played today. Nothing needs to be fixed, it’s fine the way it is.

    • I absolutely agree with you. I care more about close games than high or low scoring.

      • It seems like goalie gear is always the easy scape goat. How about not letting so much clutching and grabbing go unpunished? Or, what about creating some sort of rule to help eliminate plays like the “trap”.

        • I like the trap, but then, I’ve been a Devils fan since Brodeur’s rookie year. There is a major problem with uneven enforcement of the existing rules though. They crack down on it for a year or for half a season, and then they get lax again. Be consistent!

        • Some sort of rule to eliminate the trap? What is this, ringette? You’re asking for a rule that precludes players from going to certain areas of the ice, no thanks.

          Downsizing goalie gear is the obvious move to increase scoring. There’s no need for massive gear, it’s not for protection, it’s solely for covering more net. Goalie equipment is not meant to enable more saves, it’s meant to protect. When it crosses that line it should be restricted.

      • Isn’t a 5-4 game a close game?
        So how is a 2-1 game infinitely more exciting than a 5-4 game?
        Both are tight, both are decided by 1 goal, but only one of those games has the fans jumping out of their seat more times.

        I think there are things that can be done to the game, where a team can give up 3+ goals and still play a sound game.
        For decades there were goals that were scored that were considered ‘good goals’. Ones that nobody, not even the goalie, could do anything about.
        But in today, all goals are from mistakes.

        I don’t see anything wrong with an average score of 4-3. Especially if most of those are even-strength goals.

        If they made the nets simply 2″ wider and taller, we’d get a lot more ‘clean goals’.
        Right now, way, way, way too many goals are scored off of screens, deflections, rebounds or scrums.
        I’d like to see more clean 10+ foot goals that cleanly beat a goalie. With today’s equipment, there is no daylight.
        Players today have 50% less net to shoot on. So for purists to say that changing the net is tampering with the purity of the game is hogwash.
        The inflated equipment has already tainted the purity of the game.
        Give the players a bit more room to shoot and score and suddenly the Turtle Defense isn’t so powerful.

        • 5-4 is less exciting than 1-2 or 0-1 for me. The reason I dislike basketball is that you watch a game and somebody scores and it is meaningless until the very end. Sure a flashy basket is something to cheer for, but do you get excited every time your team scores a basket in basketball? I don’t want hockey to be like that. I want it to be that when you are up by 3 goals it is a very large struggle to come back from, not ‘well they’re up 3-0 but there are usually 7-8 goals per game so we are very much still in the game.’ Teams should be able to overcome those deficits with big efforts, but I don’t want the NBA on ice

  4. Look at the picture. The risers on top of the pads are not for protection, they are specifically to close up the 5-hole in the butterfly. While I think the proposal doesn’t go far enough, it is a start. Glove and blocker sizes are standard no matter how big the goalie,

  5. The goalie pad discussion seems to be limited to the height above the knee, why am I not hearing anything about narrowing them by an inch or two?

  6. Here’s my thing with all of this reduction nonsense…it’s not going to change anything.

    Shrink the gear again, and goalies will just adapt. As far as it opening up gaps…do you really think that a guy like Bishop, Rinne, Dubnyk, or Markstrom having to close their 5-hole more, is really going to open up any more room when they’re in their butterfly? Come on now…36 inch tall pads, when flared in the butterfly, will block up the 72″ net adequately. These guys, are tall enough to require 38+ inch pads to properly protect them. The reason that scoring was so high back in the day, is because guys like Hextall and Roy(6′+ tall), were the exception, and not the rule. Vernon, Hanlon, Irbe, Sidorkiewicz, Vanbiesbrouck, Richter, etc., were all under 6 feet tall. Most keepers, were in the 5’6″-5’10″ height range. Keepers, are much bigger now.

    On top of that, goalies back then, used to do everything that they could to cheat. Baggy jerseys to swallow up pucks under the arms, Esposito, was known to sew netting in his 5-hole and under his arms. Those guys were using way bigger blockers and trappers, and much wider(sometimes as wide as 15 inches) pads. The current pad width, is 11 inches. Do you really think that narrower pads, are going to increase scoring, when wider pads, did nothing to decrease it in the past? Let’s be realistic here. The game, and the skill of the keepers, are the biggest factors in the decrease in scoring.

    The way that the defensive game is played, has changed immensely. More often than not, shots don’t even get through to the net, because the players, are blocking them. There are games where a team will shoot on net 70 times, and only 20 or 30 of those, will actually get to the net. Better full-team defense, is leading to fewer quality scoring opportunities. It’s not hard for a keeper to make the save when the shot comes from the outside, or when his defense, has taken the bottom of the net away from the shooter. This, coupled with better goaltending techniques and bigger goaltenders, makes it extremely difficult to score.

    If they really want to increase scoring, then they should enforce the interference rules, get rid of the offside rules, and penalize players for deliberately blocking shots. More shots getting to the net, will increase the odds of scoring, which should, in turn, increase scoring. If I have a save percentage of .900, then that means that I’m stopping 27 of 30 shots in a game and have a GAA of 3.00. Now suppose if I maintain that same save percentage, and my shots double, then this also means that scoring has doubled, right? Now I’m stopping 54 of 60 shots in a game, and my GAA, is now 6.00. Even if my save percentage went up to a Vezina nod worthy .933, and I’m stopping 56 of 60 shots, scoring, has still increased by a goal per game, and my GAA, is 4.00. See where I’m going with this?

    More shots on goal = more scoring, so instead of messing with the goalies themselves, mess with the things that are limiting the number and quality of shots that they’re facing instead. I can pretty much guarantee you that downsizing their gear, will do very little to change things. I’m downsizing my gear again on my own this year(shorter thigh rise), and the last time that I did, I was more mobile, more agile, and made more saves. The smaller thigh rise, will not open up my 5-hole, because my knees are locked together and touching, and my stick, is directly in front of them, shutting the door completely. See what I’m saying here? It’s technique, and that extra inch on either side of my pads, is not going to open things up to any great degree. Oh, and for the record, I don’t wear big bulky knee pads, and do rely on my thigh rise to help protect my knees. It’s a part of that whole mobility thing that I was talking about.

    Changing the game, will do more than changing the gear ever will. Goalies will continue to evolve and adapt to equipment changes, and the game in front of them, will stay the same, making it nearly effortless for them to transition. Open things up and make them busier, and you’ll see scoring increase. That’s the bottom line. When you see no significant increase in scoring after these latest changes, envision a smug little voice saying that it told you so. That’ll be me. Yeah, I’m a jerk. Not sorry. Mark my words.

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