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GMs to discuss size of goalie equipment

Feb 19, 2013, 1:20 PM EDT

rinnegetty Getty Images

With only five NHL teams averaging more than three goals scored per game, general managers are expected to revisit the size of goaltenders’ equipment during their upcoming meetings on March 20, reports ESPN’s Craig Custance.

“It was brought up last year and will be again,” one GM told Custance on Monday.

The equipment debate is hardly new. Goalies will argue their gear is the minimum size required to stay safe. On the other side of the discussion is the desire for more offense.

In 2005-06, the first season after the previous lockout, 16 teams averaged three goals or more. Again, that number is now five. In 2011-12, it was three.

Obviously, goalie equipment isn’t entirely (if at all) to blame for the decrease in scoring over the last few seasons, but reducing the size of the padding does offer a possible avenue towards more goals.

  1. comeonnowguys - Feb 19, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    If they’re going to let guys crash into them more and more frequently, I’m wouldn’t be in a hurry to start removing padding.

    • 950003cups - Feb 19, 2013 at 5:34 PM

      Those GM’s are a BUNCH OF PERVERTS!!!!!

    • valoisvipers - Feb 20, 2013 at 10:00 AM

      It’s not removing padding it’s downsizing.The pads are so long that when the goalie goes down in the butterfly they take away the whole bottom of the net. Take a look at the size of the pads back in the days of the original six and compare them to today’s pads.

  2. scionofflame - Feb 19, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Stupid idea. I don’t need goals to be excited about a hockey game. I need solid action on the ice.

    You want to beat my goaltender, you beat him fair and square. Not because you make his pads smaller.

    • jcmeyer10 - Feb 19, 2013 at 2:04 PM

      You are not who they are trying to get to watch. If you want Rivalry Night on NBS Sports, they already have you hook, line and sinker.

      • jcmeyer10 - Feb 19, 2013 at 2:04 PM


    • tdrusher225 - Feb 19, 2013 at 11:27 PM

      I disagree. Personally, I’ll enjoy the game no matter what, but I definitely believe the goalie pads are way too big. It is so hard to score in the NHL nowadays, and I think the league could do without so many 2-1 grind-fests in the playoffs. Bottom-line: an infusion of offense in the game, one way or another, should be welcomed.

  3. noisetheorem - Feb 19, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    As I see it, you can do this one of two ways: you can reduce the side of the padding which may reduce safety and result in a greater number of injuries, or you can increase the size of the goal mouth providing more area that same amount of padding needs to cover and a bigger target for shooters.

    Of course, anything you do will eventually be adjusted for one way or the other. It’s a goalies job to stop pucks from going in the net. They will adjust and adapt and new talent will come up that is capable of meeting the challenge.

    • badintent - Feb 19, 2013 at 10:15 PM

      It’s cheaper to remove the jock and cup than make the goal bigger.Ask Bettman about saving $$ for the owners.

  4. richter35lundqvist30 - Feb 19, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    Might as well switch from a puck to a ball and use soccer nets while were at it. Ratings suggest the lack of goals is a major issue right now. Is there a sarcasm font yet?

  5. lsxphotog - Feb 19, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    So goaltending has gotten better and they combat this increase in skill with smaller equipment? It’s not like there is a bunch of terrible netminders in the NHL stopping shots because of their large equipment? I don’t agree to any changes in goaltending equipment at all. I think they’re fine within the restrictions in place now, and I’m a player! haha

    Goals grab headlines, yes, but headlines are shaped by the skills presented by the players and goalies who make the fantastic plays. ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ comes to mind. If last year was the “best year in NHL history” and only three teams averaged over 3 goals a game, WHO CARES! Some of the best playoff hockey we’ve seen…

  6. seanaveryrules - Feb 19, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    The new and current style of pads make it MUCH easier to stop everything low. I’ve played a lot of goaltending. I’m 30 so I didn’t play between high school and now but when I bought the new pads there was an instant improvement due to the shape of them an automatically covering the entire bottom of the net when you go into the butterfly. The old style pads didn’t do that. This is why you no longer see goalies doing things like the 2 pad stack anymore (except Brodeur)

    • hockeyflow33 - Feb 19, 2013 at 2:55 PM

      The 2 pad stack is rarely used now because it’s a desperation play and there is no proper recovery for a rebound after using it.

  7. danaking - Feb 19, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    The components from which the equipment is have advanced greatly in the past 50 years, so goalies should be better protected than before with the same amount of coverage they used to have. Leg pads are bigger. Shoulder pads are bigger. They should not have to be as much bigger now as 50-60 years ago, since the materials are so much more advanced.

    comeonnowguys has a good point: goalie pads should be primarily intended to protect from the puck, not hits. Goalieshave to be better protected in the crease. This should not be a big deal if the pads are smaller: keep the skaters out. On the other hand, while goalies should be secure in their creases, why are they protected so much when they wander? The NHL came up with the trapezoid to keep goalies from wandering too far from the goal to play the puck in the corner. (Okay, so martin Brodeur couldn’t wander too far.) Protect them better in the crease, but let them know, if they wander too far from it, they’re skaters, just like everyone else. This would keep them home a little better.

    • krebsy34 - Feb 19, 2013 at 4:57 PM

      You sound as if you have never played goalie. 1.) The game is so much faster than it was 50-60 years ago. 2.) everyone can shoot the puck. Pat Kaleta has a harder shot that a good amount of the players that played 50-60 years ago. 3.) forward twigs have advanced so much. They are lighter, stronger, and offer more control than ever before.

      You want the keeper to have the same sized equipment that they did in the 50-60s. This is just stupid. Why don’t you go tell the players they have to use wood sticks which may or my not be a straight blade. I don’t think then we would have such great shooters and passers. Shots wouldn’t be as hard and then you could maybe think about decreasing the size of the equipment.

      “The looser fit leaves air between the gear and body to cushion the blow, whereas before it was like bulletproof vest – it may save your life, but you’re going to feel it. Mason used to finish practice with bruises all over his ribs, but said there is more, thicker padding along the outer edge of his new chest-arm unit, whereas the older one was “pretty much just like fabric” along the outside and over the side of his rib cage.” (

      goal pads are bigger, yes, but we have come far from when we first saw Lundqvist’s thigh rise. Even now, his this rise has been tamed a bit. Goalies who don’t wear extra knee protection need some sort of knee protection and that is why you see a thigh rise. Brodeur shouldn’t be looked at as a guy who still wears equipment as it should. He now has a pad with a good amount of thigh rise.

      As to goalies being fair game outside of the crease is also stupid. Goal equipment is designed to protect the wearer from the puck, NOT from another human being plowing into them. Forwards chest protectors have hard plastic shoulders that cover the entire shoulder. And for the most part the protection all around the skaters chest is the same all around. Now look at a goalies chesty. All the padding is in the front. There is no protection on the sides of the shoulders or the back. No protection is offered if a goalie were to be hit. Also the fact that all goalies playing the the NHL have played goalie for their entire competitive hockey career means they have never had to learn the proper ways to take a hit. There is always a proper way to do things and taking a hit is no exception. Just like how there is a wrong and right way to falling off of a bike or skateboard, but you don’t know those things coming out of the womb, they have to be taught and learned.

  8. jcmeyer10 - Feb 19, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    Heads up: they are not trying to get us to watch hockey games. By commenting on this site, hell even reading this site we are the ones watching the games. They want outside eyes. They want office buzz to be about last nights hockey game, etc.

  9. hockeydon10 - Feb 19, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    It takes smaller equipment to protect a human from BULLETS.

    I’m quite confident that goalie equipment can be made smaller while providing equal or better protection from injuries than the current equipment does.

    • hockeyflow33 - Feb 19, 2013 at 2:57 PM


  10. drez146 - Feb 19, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    Appropriate picture for the article, Pekka Rinne is good but I’m just sayin….

    • freestyle1022 - Feb 19, 2013 at 2:48 PM

      Not taking away from this guy, but Lundqvist would be fitting for this article too. The guy is 185 lbs and has a chest protector making him look double his size

      • barkar942 - Feb 19, 2013 at 5:02 PM

        My argument exactly. Here are pics of Eddie Giacomin. Note that the pads are close in size, but not as well shaped as today. The catching gloves today are the size of Utah, and note that Eddie doesn’t look like a sumo wrestler to fill out the top of the goal.
        The problem, however is safety. Wood sticks didn’t fire the pucks like the composite ones do today. The velocity and whip effect of the composites make the pucks much more dangerous for the goalies. Get rid of the composites and deflate the goalies padding. Without getting rid of the composite sticks, their size reduction of padding will at best be extremely minimal.

  11. chanceoffleury1 - Feb 19, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    They could start by just getting rid of the trapezoid rule. Letting goalie’s get out of the net to play the puck will result in them making more mistakes, which the other team can cash in on offensively with open nets and such.

  12. Stiller43 - Feb 19, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    I like things the way they are now. I dont want 5-4 games. I like 3-2, 2-1 and what not.

  13. sjsharks66 - Feb 19, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Lets just go back to the Jason mask while we are at it?

  14. petermanpeter - Feb 19, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    How many times will they try this until they realize goalies aren’t a problem? As a former goalie I find this absolutely comical

    • hockeyflow33 - Feb 19, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      It never comes up that many of the goalies now playing have had positional-specific coaching since they were mites. There isn’t a position in sports that has advanced as much as goaltending has within the last twenty years.

      • sumogoalie - Feb 19, 2013 at 3:59 PM

        Try kicking in football. Jan Stenerud is in the Hall of Fame at 66% lifetime on FGs. You can’t even kick for most college teams these days with that number.

  15. massconn72 - Feb 19, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    Ok, so somewhere along the line the GM’s decide they will reduce the size of the goalie equipment to get more goals scored. Does that mean that every record and or stat that now exists is invalid. Or are they just going to put an asterisk next to every stat from then on? It makes no sense to me to change it. JUst because goalies have gotten better you have to “punish” them?
    Because Brodeur was so good with his stick they put in that awful trapezoid to make it harder for him. Ridiculous. But such is life being a GM in the NHL these days.

  16. tfaltin - Feb 19, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    If goalies believe that the current equipment is the necessity to keep them safe, then I am fine with them wearing that level of padding, and good luck getting a reduction by the NHLPA. American sports are at an all time high with regard to player safety, and to lessen the equipment worn by players who are literally in the line of fire will not be taken lightly.

    I think the option should be widening the net a little. Think about it, goalies have expanded over the years, and that adaptation has not been met by the league. Games adapt. Football has a plethora of new rules, tennis has new frames and scientifically designed string, swimmers suit’s are designed differently, and running shoes are lighter than ever. Granted the science behind hockey sticks have revolutionized shooting, but just imagine the uptick in scoring if every shot that hit the right post last year went in this year. That’s 2″ of the net, and probably a goal/game minimum.

    • krebsy34 - Feb 19, 2013 at 5:02 PM

      2″ is what was taken off of the total size of the leg pads after last lockout. They were 12″ now 11″ (24″total to 22″total) and we are again talking about the same things that were being talked about back then. They can change so many rules, but goalies and the way the position is taught will then change to the new rules and we would end up having the same conversation after the next Bettman induced lockout.

  17. nothanksimdriving123 - Feb 19, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Some points above I liked, including protecting goalies ONLY inside their crease. A few other thoughts: Make the goalies smaller too. Kidding of course, but some years ago, most were well under 6 feet tall and covered less net. Catching gloves are massive compared to when I was a kid. I don’t care how many goals are scored so long as there are lots of great scoring chances requiring great saves, so… Long before WWII, there were rules about goalies falling to the ice. No, I don’t suggest that now, but d-men and forwards diving to the ice to block shots seriously cuts scoring chances. That keeps scores lower and makes games less exciting for many fans.

  18. woodstakes - Feb 19, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    In my opinion if you are going to truly look at the issue of goals being scored there is a lot of other issues intertwined in the issue. Look back at the pre-2000’s and most goaltenders were under 6 ft tall, now you pretty much have to be 6 ft+ in order to play, many are 6’2″+ nowadays or the fact that goalies are just overall more skilled now then the were in the past (that’s not to say there weren’t some really great/talented tenders in the past because there were), then you have to consider what expansion did to the talent pool sure there are still plenty of great players but not as many great players playing with each other as in the past. Then you have to consider the defense play now too, from the trap defense to the fact that STAR players lay out and block shots now, ever see The Great One or Lemieux do that?? Not often!

    The bottom line is yes the size of equipment do play a role in this but its just a small portion of the overall “problem” in the scoring averages.

  19. dolanster - Feb 19, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Nuff said.

    • dburlew - Feb 19, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      Now ask that goalie from the 70’s to stand in front of a Chara 100+ mph slapper, shot with his fibergalss composite stick that flex 200% more times than the wooden twigs did back in his era… Safety is a factor you know.

    • krebsy34 - Feb 19, 2013 at 5:09 PM

      In 1990 the shot that won hardest shot was 96.0 MPH. In 2012 that shot was 108.8. If we could go back to the 70’s and see how fast those clappers were. I think it’d be much slower than it is now.

      • cardsandbluesforever - Feb 19, 2013 at 5:31 PM

        i dont think so, gordie howe’s slap shot was clocked at over 125 mph when someone brought a radar gun to practice. and that was with a wooden twig.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Feb 19, 2013 at 9:25 PM

        The measuring devices have changed a lot over the years, and I’m not at all sure we can compare velocities recorded then to those we see now.

  20. kicksave1980 - Feb 19, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    To talk about goalies in the 50’s or 70’s having smaller pads is really irrelevant, because everyone on the ice has evolved. Back then, every skater was also using wooden sticks, half of which had straight blades.

    The pads have already been decreased in size recently. It’s true that pads have evolved to the point where they are easier to seal to the ice, or to more easily cover specific parts of the net (down low), but a pad sealed to the ice in a butterfly or kick save is still only 11 inches tall (maximum width of an NHL approved pad).

    The gains in player equipment has matched the gains in goaltending equipment. The composite sticks allow even the most average player to have a lot heavier shot than he otherwise might (fellow goalies know what I mean by that).

    Throughout it all, one thing has remained a constant. Good players will adapt to gains made in defense goaltending and will score goals. It is SUPPOSED to be hard to score goals.

  21. deezenucks - Feb 19, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    Don’t bother, it’s already been done. Goalies are just better and more athletic. It’s not about the shots or gear it’s about quality scoring chances.
    The comment about the bullet proof vest is completely irrelevant. I don’t think Kevlar vests are designed for you to go out and take 30 shots every other night… Have you seen what happens when you take 1? Good luck being ready for a rebound…
    Gear is just fine, the stuff Garth Snow was wearing DID need a reduction, and it has.

  22. 950003cups - Feb 19, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    There goes Lundqvist’s career!

  23. comeonnowguys - Feb 19, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Want more scoring? Give teams less incentive to turtle all game and hope a hot goalie can bail them out. (Hi, Phoenix!)

    • thailer35 - Feb 19, 2013 at 5:34 PM

      Thumbs up for sure.

      -Coyotes Fan

  24. gekkoguy82 - Feb 19, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    I don’t think that a lot of people realize how difficult it is to stop pucks, even with modern equipment. Leg gear nowadays does get a much better seal along the ice than older pads, but you still see quite a few goals scored down low if you pay attention. I just hope they don’t take the quest for more goals to the point where hockey turns into lacrosse on ice and a .811 save percentage and 10.10 GAA wins the Vezina.

  25. atwatercrushesokoye - Feb 19, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    How bout doing something about teams collapsing 5 guys to the front of the net in the defensive zone? Blocked shots are just as big, if not more so, of a reason for scoring being down (or at least stagnant) than goaltending equipment, and it’s a lot easier to block a shot when there are 5 defensive players in front of the net.

    • valoisvipers - Feb 20, 2013 at 10:17 AM

      You wouldn’t be talking about the Rangers now would you?

  26. thehighcountrybear - Feb 19, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    Back in the seventies, the Red Wings played a Soviet club team…the goalie was huge and he had massive pads covering a third of the net! Outrage and scandal amid great hilarity ensued? The guy wouldn’t even be noticed in today’s game…the equipment is a farce, as is argument the goalies need it for protection! Zero credibility; look for Luongo to threaten retirement among league- wide yawning…

  27. dburlew - Feb 19, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    How make the goalies themselves smaller… Rinne, Lindback, Dubynk, Mason, Smith, Bishop, Rynnas, Kuemper, Deslauriers are all 6′-4″ or taller with Bishop listed at 6′-7″. But half are starters and the other half are prospective starters for their clubs. There’s even a slew of of goalies @ 6′-3″. Perhaps a compromise is in order, based on the goal tenders height. The taller the goalie the skinnier his pads. Is is fair a guy like Bishop get an extra 8″ of pads compared to a 5′-11″ goalie like Halak? Could solely be based on total area of pads. Level the playing field, and keep the goalie heights average isn’t of seeing a 7′-0″ starting in goal in the next 10 years.

    • kicksave1980 - Feb 19, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      It would be hard to go much narrower than 11″, which is the current maximum width. Also, even though those guys have slightly longer pads, the five-hole is also exposed a lot more than it would be on a shorter goalie. If the league were being dominated by 6’7″ goalies, I’d understand your point, but half of the guys you named are not even starters.

    • cardsandbluesforever - Feb 19, 2013 at 5:36 PM

      with an increase in height you get a reduction in agility. Bishop is 6’7, but he is nowhere near as agile as Halak, and their numbers between the pipes show it.

  28. csilojohnson - Feb 19, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    Sucks to play a defensive position this day and age. Playing any sport.

  29. csilojohnson - Feb 19, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Anyone that has a problem with this can thank the NFL. They have pioneered the “Points = $$$” deconstruction of that sport. The NHL is only following the trend.
    The race for the casual fan will most likely be the ultimate downfall of professional sports.

    • valoisvipers - Feb 20, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      I think the NBA was the “pioneer” when it comes to inflating offense and they did that by not calling palming the ball or traveling. They love the slam dunk but to me that is like cheering for a tap in putt.

  30. arbruins - Feb 19, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    Maybe there should be less teams so that the talent isn’t so thinned out?

  31. phillyphanatic77 - Feb 19, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    While 6-5 games are fun to watch, real excitement comes from a 2-1 win. There’s just something about having to battle for every inch and chance that makes the game of hockey so great. I don’t wanna see 10- 50-goal scorers every season, because then it takes the merit out of such an achievement. If you reduce the size of goalie pads there will be more fluke goals scored, not the highlight reel kind the league is looking for. We don’t need fluke goals ending hard-fought overtime, playoff games. Stop trying to fix things that aren’t broken!

  32. joethorntonisclutch - Feb 19, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    I’m sorry, but if they don’t do something to increase the goals, Wayne Gretzky will forever hold the record for most goals.

    I don’t care if it means making the net a little bigger or the pads a little smaller, too many records are forever unreachable as of now.

  33. vstar1us - Feb 19, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    Don’t decrease the pad size, increase the goal size! Goalies stay safe, and more pucks end up in net the risen why Hockey lacks popularity is the lack of points on the board. People think more points better game, the reason soccer is popular in Other countries is the gear is cheap. Shoes, tees hurts and shorts. Americans like sports that score and cost a lot go figure.

  34. joeyashwi - Feb 20, 2013 at 8:06 AM

    You want more offense? Then stop the teams from crawling in a turtle shell when they are tied in the third period.

    3 points for a win in regulation
    2 points for a win in OT
    1 point for a shootout win
    0 points for a loss of any kind

    This would eliminate passive, play for an OT point mentality and make the game more exciting.
    Leave the goalies alone.

    • valoisvipers - Feb 20, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      Agreed, all the teams now days are content to take the point in regulation and then try for the extra point in OT or shootout. It keeps the coach’s happy and employed.

  35. goalie3132 - Feb 20, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    it is sad that so many that have never been a goaltender do not know how hard you have to work to be able to make even the simple saves, and how you feel responsible when you don’t. pressure from team mates pushes a goalie to work harder, to be better, and all people want to see is a low padded slug in the net.

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