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Babcock advocates bigger nets

Mar 20, 2013, 11:16 AM EDT

Mike Babcock

Remember when goalies were really small? No? Well, you must be young then. Because they used to be a lot smaller.

Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock remembers those days. In fact, his boss, Detroit general manager Ken Holland, was one of those small goalies.

“My general manager used to be a goalie, have you seen the size of him?” Babcock told ESPN’s Craig Custance recently. “No really. Have you seen the size of the goalies?”

Babcock’s point: something has to be done to get goal-scoring back to the levels the NHL experienced in the days of the small goalie. Whether it’s shrinking the size of equipment or — gasp — increasing the size of the net.

“If the goalies [are] getting bigger then the net is getting smaller,” Babcock said. “By refusing to change you are changing. Purists would say you can’t do it because you’re changing the game but by not changing you are changing the game.”

NHL general managers, including Holland, are meeting in Toronto today to discuss, among many other things, the size of goalie equipment and how it may be reduced safely.

By the way, here’s a picture of Holland (5-foot-8, 160 pounds) when he was playing goal for the Wings in the early 1980s (via The Goalies Archive):


And here’s current Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (6-foot-0, 210 pounds):


  1. pajabroni - Mar 20, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    He is right.

    That Penguins Flyers playoff series was the most exciting series in recent memory not only due to fights, but also up and down scoring. Imagine all games featuring that much scoring and how crazy the league would be.

    This seems like a no brainer. I am not a hockey purist, but I am also much more than a casual fan. I don’t care for all of these blocked shots and trap schemes. Lets open it up and play more up and down games that are higher scoring.

    • clefty1 - Mar 20, 2013 at 11:27 AM

      And neither team played any defense. Great goaltending is a part of hockey and I have watched plenty of exciting 2-1 games. What are you looking for 11-10 games? Leave the nets alone…

    • stakex - Mar 20, 2013 at 11:59 AM

      If every game had that much scoring, I probably wouldn’t watch hockey as much. Nothing more exciting then a low scoring game with a lot of chances in it.

      Up and down goal scoring just gets old after a while.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Mar 20, 2013 at 2:09 PM

        No. But something in between. I wrote here a couple of days ago that scoring was down since 05-06 and that GMs would be discussing how to get scoring back up. Average 6 to 7 goals a game would be better than the 5.23 from last year. The nets should probably grow in proportion with the goalie equipment. Maybe goaltenders will resort to reflexes more than just being robots or shot blockers.

    • gospitfires - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      the best playoff series lastyear was by far the pit philly series, also the highest scoring series. low scoring games far often than not are not more exciting. it is rare in a low scoring game for chances to be flying all over the ice, the vast majority of 1-0 or 2-1 games are infact boring. im not suggesting 11-10 games, the league has NEVER ahd a era like taht, even in the 70s and 80, the heyday of high scoring in the league. but i dont think anybody would be upset seeing more 4-3 and 5-4 games.

      fans want to see fights, hits and goals. not neutral zone play and the only scoring coming on a PP

    • tatdue - Mar 20, 2013 at 1:58 PM

      There is no need for bigger nets. If they make the nets bigger teams will play an even more defensive style than they do now because teams won’t be able to depend on their goalie as much. If you want more scoring, and more excitement, with bigger hits and fancier plays, then there is one simple solution….The NHL has to catch up with the rest of the world and adopt the Olympic size rink! Some people think that the big rink eliminates hitting but it doesn’t and anyone that has watched the World Juniors or the Olympics knows that there is still hitting. Having the bigger rink gives the skilled players a chance to shine and that will create more excitement!!!

      • tlndma - Mar 20, 2013 at 2:47 PM

        I don’t agree with very much you say here. To get rid of the trap and teams backing into their goalies crease to block shots, you have to bring back the threat of longer shots going in. Defensemen would have to play the puck carrier earlier if he were a threat to score from the top of the circles or further.
        Goalie equipment is out of control with the size of the pads and gloves. Not only is it bigger but much of it is made squarer (flatter) to make it easier for the goalie to deflect the puck away. The catching glove for example used to look like a first baseman’s mitt. Now they have a bigger glove as well as an extension from the thumb that goes up to the middle of the forearm that acts to block more of the net. It has to cover an extra Sq. Ft. of net. It has nothing to do with added protection.
        Someone has to sit down and come up with better rules about the goalies equipment. Making the net a little larger may be required too.
        As far as Olympic size ice, it’ll never happen. First I don’t see it adding to scoring and secondly, you’d have to take out a couple rows of seats, minimum. The most expensive seats, BTW. The Swedes and the Czechs were the first teams to trap. So I think that must be effective on the large ice too.

    • eigglesnosuperbowls - Mar 20, 2013 at 5:27 PM

      Bryz can’t cover the net he has now !

    • kendog1 - Mar 21, 2013 at 3:05 AM

      Penguins… nobody can stand the penguins…mostly because of the NHL hype about Crosby. Babcock is right though, but not about the goal size. The NHL players have gotten bigger but the ice surface has not. How many times have you heard players say “there is no room out there”? Skill players have no room to do what we love to see and teams that have big guys that dump the puck in and chase it thrive (see LA Kings). However, regardless of Eddie O’s constant harping, dump and chase is relentlessly boring. The NHL needs to widen the rink size a little ( 3 or 4 feet ) to allow skill players to do what no one else in the world can do, dazzle us with their open ice play.

  2. sjsharks66 - Mar 20, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    Hollands mask was so rad!

    • worldseriestiger - Mar 20, 2013 at 11:50 AM

      its like an optical illusion…I can’t stop staring at it

      • boltsfan777 - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        And that leather glove needs to be holding a bloody meat cleaver.

  3. DTF31 - Mar 20, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    And then teams will complain their goalies aren’t making enough saves and it was a stupid idea.

    However a small change like just moving each bar 1-2 inches wouldn’t be that noticeable and might make enough of a difference for everyone to shut up.

    • stakex - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:14 PM

      Trimming goalie gear a bit would have the same effect, and would keep the purist from getting mad. After all, the notion that goalie equipment can’t be made smaller for “safty reasons” is laughable….

      • barkar942 - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:30 PM

        I agree something must be done. However, when Ken Holland was playing goal, he was stopping shots coming off of wooden sticks, not composite rocket launchers.
        Allow the goalies to keep what they have, and make the goals 5′ tall and 7′ wide.
        It would give shooters more of a chance and I feel make the game more interesting. Even in the “old days” with goalies being smaller and covering less net, there were still 0-0 ties. Larger net will mean more athleticism by the goalies.

  4. 13datsyuk13 - Mar 20, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    That mask is awesome!

  5. nunan - Mar 20, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    Crazy picture comparison. Howard isn’t even that big for a goalie nowadays. Bishop is 6’7″, isn’t he? Rask is 6’3″, etc. I’d like to see the equipment shrink a bit.

    • jpelle82 - Mar 20, 2013 at 11:59 AM

      if they had a set size for pads it would keep the goalies smaller. it would be quite awkward to see a 6’6″ goalie with pads that only cover the shins. the width of the pads is set at 11″ so they could shrink there, i think the easiest thing to change would be glove/blocker size or the chest/arms though. gloves are too big. tighten up or put a restriction on the jersey size maybe too. i dont think they should change the goal size though, you then start shrinking the ice surface and it affects the trapezoid and icing too…plus then you gotta look at the height of the crossbar – high sticks and safety if you have guys swatting at pucks at head heights you could get pretty reckless there

  6. ravenscaps48 - Mar 20, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Stamkos would score 150 goals with a bigger goal. And Ovechkin would return to 65! Hahaha…….. sigh

  7. spochiefsfan - Mar 20, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    The goalie for the Tri-Cities Americans in the WHL is hovering right around 7′. It doesn’t replace skill but it’s like that pick up game commercial from a few years back where the goalie could barely skate but covers the whole net… something’s gotta give!

  8. hockeywithdrawal - Mar 20, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    Do the teams that win the cup do so with bigger goalies? Not really, no. And shrinking the pads is just silly. Leave it as-is….the sport has grown in popularity, which should mean something…please just leave it alone.

  9. spedman24 - Mar 20, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    As a Rangers fan, a bigger net would be greatly appreciated.

    • tfaltin - Mar 20, 2013 at 11:51 AM

      Can we put it in the corners too?

  10. ipaintrinks - Mar 20, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    when you reduce the size of the pads you also reduce protection. maybe its just me but with guys like chara and weber ripping shots at you i’d be weary of change.

  11. thehighcountrybear - Mar 20, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    Of course Babcock’s right:

    After all the blather claiming fighting brings the fans out of their seats [ myth ], I would counter goals and more goals brings the fans out of their seats, screaming in unison, always!

    Whereas fighting is not in fact an integral ‘part’ of hockey, beyond need for marketing moguls to bring the game inline with professional roller derby, goal scoring ‘is’ hockey and is at the soul of the game itself.

    In keeping with need for physical brawling hockey [ roller derby ], the NHL has failed to either make the rinks larger as players became larger, or constrain size of goalie equipment as goalies became larger.

    When looking at guys like Corey Crawford or Pekka Rinne and the space their over-sized equipment occupies, one is left calling the credibility of the game and attendant virtue in athleticism into serious question!

    Save teams the millions and string-up shooter tutors League-wide; think of the savings…

    She was six foot six and two fifteen
    A bleached-blonde mama
    With a streak of mean
    She knew how to knuckle
    And she knew how to scuffle and fight

    And the roller derby program said
    That she was built like a ‘fridgerator only with a head
    Her fans call her “Tuffy”
    But all her buddies called her “Spike”

    You know that I fell in love with a Roller Derby Queen
    Round and round, oh round and round
    The meanest hunk o’ woman
    That anybody ever seen
    Down in the arena

    Round and round, go round and round
    Round and round, go round and round
    Round and round

    • ibieiniid - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      i’m sorry, did you just say you question Pekka Rinne’s athleticism?

      also, i’m starting to think you hate the game of hockey. maybe flip to an indoor soccer game.

      • thehighcountrybear - Mar 20, 2013 at 1:12 PM


        Here’s a few suggestions…

        a ] Comment on the article rather than stalking other bloggers with your inane opinions attacking their persons. I love and play the game and I love stepping-up on piss ants such as yourself!

        b ] Have your mom administer an enema, it may help clear what there is of your brain.

        c ] Put the magazines away, sticky pages and all, get yourself a partner…someone with whom you may converse and preferably someone who might endure your boring self.

        d ] Blow some kush, see the world for the comedy it can be, then have someone transplant a sense of humour in your vacuous soul…

      • ibieiniid - Mar 20, 2013 at 1:19 PM

        a] scroll down
        b] take your meds. accusing me of “attacking their persons,” (just for saying you don’t like hockey) then telling me I have no brain on the next line lets your schizophrenia show.
        c] I’m married
        d] when I’m off work, you know I will. i guess all 21 thumbs downers had no sense of humor either? news break, 9 times out of 10, you’re simply not funny. i’ll give you the canadian-chicks-don’t-shave one earlier today though.

      • thehighcountrybear - Mar 20, 2013 at 1:34 PM

        I apologize…

    • kendog1 - Mar 21, 2013 at 3:11 AM

      Dude, Really?

  12. boltsfan777 - Mar 20, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    The majority is going to win, but for me, the excitement is in defense as well as offense, and the fewer the goals, the more exciting each goal is. Why devalue each goal with bigger goals and smaller pads?

    That’s why I can’t stand arena football. It’s all offense, whoever scores the last TD wins, like playing in the backyard.

    • kitshky - Mar 20, 2013 at 1:01 PM


      The most exciting games I’ve ever seen in my life were 2 – 1 or 3 -2 Playoff OT games. If I wanted to see a game where they were scoring every couple of minutes … I’d watch the NBA.

      That Pitt / Philly series was one of the worst played series in recent history. Ya I’ll totally take all that passion, speed, and scoring chances … but would it kill ya to include some actually effective speed on the back-end with at least somewhat capable goaltending while you’re at it?

  13. ibieiniid - Mar 20, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    i think, if anything, the goalie equipment size has kept up with equipment improvements. carbon fiber sticks, improved skates/blades, increased help for the goalie. they seem to almost cancel out IMO.

    • ibieiniid - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      Sorry, “kept up with (SKATER) equipment improvements”*

      • dillpx183 - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:07 PM

        right on. I say go back to wooden sticks. doesn’t matter competition wise if everyone has them. shots won’t be as hard do you can reduce equipment size. and the sticks won’t break every two seconds

      • ibieiniid - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:27 PM

        I’m not sure about reverting to wooden sticks and smaller pads though for this simple reason: what happens when the players in the NHL system take part in international play? I’d assume our goalies go back to bigger pads and players go back to composite sticks. And, as much as that seems like the NHL system players would get a baseball-bat-donut effect and their play would benefit, I can also see it throwing off a goalie/skater’s game just enough to where they aren’t playing 100%. If a goalie is making saves for 4 years with small pads, then goes to the Olympics and puts on some bigger ones, he’s still going to be making the style of saves he would with the smaller pads. And if a skater switches back to composite, I could see the extra flex throwing off his accuracy.

        I personally think the game is just fine and making changes that cancel each other out like wooden sticks/small pads isn’t a smart move. Now if we’re talking SAFETY, that might be another story.

  14. danaking - Mar 20, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Given the improvements in the materials goalies’ pads are made of over the years, a return to pads closer to the the size of what the old-timers wore doesn’t seem to be unreasonable. Not only are the new ads bigger, they’re lighter and don’t absorb water, so they’re easier to move in. I’d try at least some incremental changes in the equipment before making a fundamental change to the game like increasing the size of the goals.

  15. uscthom78 - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    Players getting bigger, make rinks larger.

    • stakex - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:12 PM

      Two reasons thats not going to happen:

      1. All buildings in the NHL would need an overhaul to make the rinks bigger.

      2. Bigger rinks make the game look slower. Its more of an illusion, but watch a KHL game… always seems a little bit slower then an NHL game due to the bigger ice.

      • hyjyljyj - Mar 21, 2013 at 5:49 PM

        3. No owner in his right mind is going to rip out three rows of the most expensive seats in the house, let alone 30 owners doing it.

    • kendog1 - Mar 21, 2013 at 3:39 AM

      Finally, someone speaks the truth. There is no room for skill players to dazzle us with what makes hockey cool! I heard a player comment recently: ” You rarely score on the rush anymore…” What does that tell you? The NHL has turned into a league where huge guys that dump the puck in and chase it (LA Kings) thrive. Unfortunately, Eddie O’s relentless harping notwithstanding, this style of hockey is not exciting at all.

  16. stakex - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    The thing thats missed in this argument the most is that goal scorers are also better now adays. Shots are harder and more accurate, and the speed at which the puck is moved has increased… making goal scoring easier. Also, defenses have become harder to beat. Look at teams like the Rangers… you didn’t see that kind of shot blocking in the 80’s. A lot more shots made it through back then that simply don’t today.

    Making the nets bigger is not a good solution. In fact, the NHL needs to stop trying to draw in fans that only care about goal scoring because you’re never going to increase it enough to appeal to them. Even if you increase scoring by two goals per game on average, the casual fan probably won’t even notice the difference. So long as scoring doesn’t get to the point of soccer, where a 3-2 game is a goal banaza, nothing extreme like largers nets should be considered.

  17. ryanprzy - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Bigger nets would lead to better defense in my opinion. And with better defense comes more exciting hockey. Teams would be forced to do more to block shots and help the goalie and yes it would open things up more on both ends.

    That kind of hockey that was played back in Holland’s day was really cool stuff. A big reason why Gretzky’s scoring record will never be broken is in large part due to the whole goalie-to-net size ratio, because we’re not even giving anyone a chance with the way it is now.

    • ibieiniid - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:37 PM

      i disagree. I’d like to see some information on how much the adoption of the butterfly or hybrid styles by most (all) goalies has affected scoring. that’s probably more important to the reduced goal #s than the padding.

      • thehighcountrybear - Mar 20, 2013 at 1:25 PM

        The butterfly has been around since the days of Tony Esposito, back when the game had substance and mystique and charm…

      • ibieiniid - Mar 20, 2013 at 1:34 PM

        yes it’s been around a while, but how many goalies used it? a few, at most. how many of the 70s goalie coaches had used it in THEIR playing days, enough to know how to teach it? none. nowadays, the craft of playing low in net has been refined and re-taught. when, back in the 60s and 70s, did you see goalies go to their knees for a shot, it gets deflected to the other side of the ice, they pop up and push over to another butterfly to the other side. rarely, if at all. I’m not knocking classic hockey, but the goalies today (along with having a bit of an advantage from bigger pads, I’ll admit) are just better at their craft. no goalie in the 70s made splitting, sliding glove saves look routine like the guys of the last 10-20 years.

  18. sportsfaninyyc - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    The day they put in bigger nets is the day I stop watching. I hate high scoring, no- defence games.

  19. sjm1717 - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    Players also have better sticks and can shoot the puck harder, faster, and more accurately. Leave it alone please!

  20. Kingsville_Minor_Baseball - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    I’ve been saying this for decades.
    With the size of goalies and their gear, it would be no different if some clown in 1975 rolled out a net that was 50% smaller than the current one.
    I highly doubt NHL fans would take that lying down and yet that’s precisely what we’ve done!
    Make the nets bigger and if the goalies still complain, ban composite sticks for wooden ones.
    I don’t care. Just give me at least 2 more even-strength goals per game.
    I’m dying to see more than just 5 scramble/rebound/deflection goals every night where you need 18 different camera angles to figure out who scored the dang goal!!

    • ibieiniid - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:42 PM

      “I’m dying to see more than just 5 scramble/rebound/deflection goals every night where you need 18 different camera angles to figure out who scored the dang goal”

      … i think it’s been that way forever… we just didn’t have 18 different angles to look at.

  21. Stiller43 - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Leave em alone!!

  22. JoeAvg - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    My father used to say “why don’t they just get some 500 lb. sumo wrestler and plop him in front of the net?”. With bigger nets we just might see someone try. Leave ’em alone.

  23. csilojohnson - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    Its called conditioning. Bigger guys can move better nowadays. With that logic they should increase the size of the rink because players are bigger now. If they have to do something decrease the size of the pads. I say leave it alone. Nothing wrong with the level of scoring we are at now.

  24. kms2372 - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    What’s next, they’re gonna want the goalies to move out of the way when taking a shot on goal too??!! It’s a game of skill. If you have none and need a bigger net then maybe you need a new career!

  25. thehighcountrybear - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    Shooters shoot harder and are more accurate…utter fantasy!

    If that’s the case, why are less goals being scored? One would think all these sharpshooters would be lighting it up even as Gordie, Bobby, Lanny, Mickey and Mike did…those were bona fide snipers who could find the holes before goalies could even react!

    While the composite sticks have given everyone a decent shot, the shots are less accurate…they’re all over the place because of the whippy nature of the shafts. And, without room to generate sufficient speed to fire while skating flat-out, there’s no way the shots can be as hard as those when players could free wheel down the wing and cut loose a real screamer!

    The All Star Game shot competitions are a joke; there’s no adrenaline, flat out speed or urgency; wipe that crap off your iPhone, it’s irrelevant!

    Use real game footage showing the likes of Frank Mahovolich or Bobby and Dennis Hull rolling-in off the wing and cutting loose true blue howitzers [ one has to feel for today’s kids, never having opportunity to see the game the way it was meant to be played ]?

    Simply put, the rinks are too small, the goalie equipment is too large and excellence in the game has been reduced to brute force prevailing over skill, end of story…

    Listen to Mike, he knows!

    • kitshky - Mar 20, 2013 at 1:07 PM

      “Shooters shoot harder and are more accurate…utter fantasy!”

      Ha ha …there is no way you believe half of what you say here.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 20, 2013 at 1:12 PM

        all of what he says here*

  26. mp1131211 - Mar 20, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    I have to say that a tight low scoring game is what I scan for when I look across Game Center to tune in. Low scoring does not equal lowsy play. In fact, often it’s exactly the opposite.

    Besides, as others have brought up, the game is getting more popular. It’s a non-issue.

    • thehighcountrybear - Mar 20, 2013 at 1:39 PM


      Topics : Statistics Canada , Solutions Research Group

      Hockey is losing steam in Canada, and a surge in the minority population could be one of the reasons why.

      In 2006, a report by Solutions Research Group analysis of Statistics Canada found that Canada’s visible minority population will grow by over 70 per cent by 2017. That same group also found that basketball is the leading sport among fast-growing visible minority groups at 37 per cent, while soccer follows at 36 per cent, and hockey is third at 22 per cent.

      In fact, hockey has seen a decline in participants, while soccer participation rises. Statistics Canada numbers show that youth who grow up in high-income families are more prone to play sports. With families dealing with a tough economy, where saving money is the number one priority, it makes sense that sports like soccer and basketball are on the rise, while high-cost hockey is dwindling a bit.

      • hockeydon10 - Mar 20, 2013 at 2:34 PM

        It’s the cost. Much cheaper to get kids into basketball or soccer than it is for hockey.

  27. buffalomafia - Mar 20, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Why cause your Flyets can’t score?

  28. mj1818 - Mar 20, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    That goal makes Babcock look tiny.

    • ibieiniid - Mar 20, 2013 at 2:08 PM

      anybody that’s seen the Bill Engvall show (3 people) knows that if you trim the hair around your Babcock, your Babcock looks bigger.

  29. bleedingteal4life - Mar 20, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Lol, what do you do when your team can’t score??? Opt for bigger goals! Might help the sharks as well! 😉

  30. hockeyflow33 - Mar 20, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that goalies are coached from the time they step on the ice and are often the best skaters on their team nowadays.

  31. lsxphotog - Mar 20, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    I hate this argument. No. Do not change the nets. Goaltending has gotten bigger and better, so have players. Scoring is down because average skill level is up across the league more than it was 10, 15, and 20 years ago for players and goaltenders. Goalies have gotten incredible…

  32. dan46778 - Mar 20, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    Should they change the size of the nets yea bc evolution game has changed For example the players r natural getting bigger strong faster the equipment has changed has well…. But the size of the nets should be a few inches wider n taller

  33. gneds - Mar 20, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    So using the theory about bigger goals for bigger goalies, wouldnt we have to make the rinks bigger as well to accomodate the larger players of today as well?

    People complaining about needing more goals scored in hockey reminds me of the people who watch MMA just to see knockouts. Sure its exciting, but there is a lot more to hockey and MMA than goals and knockouts.

  34. mizbinboston - Mar 20, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    lol Seeing Kenny’s pic and then Howie’s… It’s like trying to sit at your old first grade desk and wondering when on earth it got so tiny.

  35. judahbenhur - Mar 20, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Cut the pads down dramatically. The gloves and blockers could be half the size and goalie sticks could be smaller as well. The leg pads are way too big and go beyond protection. Do this and the net opens up fairly– you won’t need to make the net larger. But……. Make the rink 5 feet wider–add three feet behind each net– make the goal six inches wider with reduced goalie pad size and you will create so much more offense that you will brings millions more fans to the game. That’s always the biggest complaint from non hockey fans– not enough offense.

  36. richter35lundqvist30 - Mar 20, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    If you want a ton of insignificant scoring go watch basketball.

    • hyjyljyj - Mar 21, 2013 at 5:46 PM

      Right on. Basketball is unwatchable.

      I would also reduce the size of the lacrosse cage to five feet square nstead of six and take away the 2-point arc in the pro game. Give the goalies some hope of a decent outing.

  37. dan46778 - Mar 20, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    The NHL wants to make money so making the rinks bigger is not going to hAppend even if the league wants more scoring or not

  38. 2qswing - Mar 20, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    Here’s the answer
    In the mid 90’s metal baseball bats were at a point where a college or HS pitcher were going to get killed. Baseball demanded the makers “dumb down” the MOI on the bats and they did.

    Goalie equipment is out of control too big. Modern catch gloves are rediculous. Look at game film from the 70’s even 80’s. The goaltenders look like 14 yr old bantams. The net was the same size and there were plenty of hard shooters. Reduce the goaltender equipment AND get rid of the composite sticks.
    The game will be just as exiting if Chara’s slap shop is 93 mph instead of 108.

  39. sunderlanding - Mar 20, 2013 at 4:16 PM


  40. sprtsfan1 - Mar 20, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Sorry, there’s already plenty of scoring in the NHL regardless of Goalie size or pad size. Anyone see the 8-1 clobbering of the Dallas Stars last Saturday? Nasty!!!

  41. sprtsfan1 - Mar 20, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    Wait! I have a better idea. Lets have every team have a different sized net based on the size of their goalie. C’mon now, we need to make the game fair!

  42. JoeAvg - Mar 20, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    Scoring is down because of coaching and the use of video. Every team has video personnel that scrutinizes the opposition and notes their tendancies. In the past this had to be done real time without the ability to rewatch and break down actions/reactions. Then it had to be relayed to the player verbally or at best with x’s and o’s. Now players can be sat down and shown what someone does when and the best way to stop it. And though it can work the work the other way to – how to beat a defense – it’s much easier to teach someone how to defend than how to score, which is more af of an instict that a player either has or doesn’t.

  43. kingsforever - Mar 20, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Red Wings suck so much they couldn’t even score with bigger nets

  44. iHeartHockey31 - Mar 20, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    I’d rather see the size of the nets increase than see goaltender equipment size reduced.
    The article here explains one of the issues caused when the NHL changed knee pad stack size a few years ago [without researching the potential long-term impact]

    I don’t understand how any of the GMs that have had their starting goaltenders injured this season would want to decrease the available protection for their star netminders in favor of higher scoring games. There’s talk of mandatory visor wear to protect skaters. Some skaters [that don’t wear visors] beleive the visor interferes with their vision [which could have an impact on their ability to score goals]. The league is OK with safety before scoring when it comes to visor wear. When it comes to their goaltenders, somehow higher scoring takes precendece over protecting their goaltenders. Where was the talk that should have gone with this topic regarding enforcing the rules to [or modifying ] pertaining to ‘making an effort to avoid hitting the goaltender]. They want to reduce the size of the goalie equipment but do nothing about players skating full speed into the net ?

    I agree with Babcock about making the nets bigger if the league wants to see higher scoring, I don’t particularly have an issue with the scoring [then again I live in Philadelphia so we tend to have very high scoring games]. However if the league is convinced that scoring is what’s needed to make the game better, I’d rather see the net size increase before they take away protection from goaltenders.

    Like it or not, the game is always changing, it’s evolved and whether larger nets are the right or answer may be up for debate, the ‘hockey purist’ excuse isn’t really valid anymore. Prior to 1918 goaltenders weren’t allowed to drop to their knees to stop pucks. [see Clint ‘Praying Benny’ Benedict] Are the hockey purists still debating this one? While I’m not suggesting this is the solution, but f the goalies don’t need to go down anymore, they won’t need knee stack protection, so it’d be OK to reduce the equipment size. And think how much scoring would be increased! Getting rid of the 1918 rule allowing goalies to drop down when stopping pucks would make the hockey purists and NHL happy.

    My own personal suggestion is before they go around making the nets bigger, how about we get rid of the stupid trapezoid. Goalies are already letting pucks in while running around outside the net, why not give them more freedom [Ha Ha Check out some of the KHL games where Pekka Rinne tried to play the puck in the corners…] More often than not the goalies are going to screw up and there will be more goals. It would also improve the game because in some cases, players may think about carrying the puck over the line rather than dumping it if they know there’s a goaltender that can play the puck on the other side. With Carey Price and Mike Smith picking up puck handling skills like Brodeur, we’d likely see less dump and chase. Which [to me] would improve the game more than increased scoring. I’d rather watch a game where players are skillfully carrying the puck down the ice than spend 2 hours watching 10 guys chase a puck from end to end. Let the goalies get the pucks in the corners. That could even fix the icing issues. Icing rules won’t matter if the goalies are goaling after the pucks and clearing the pucks out of the corners.

    If the trapezoid isn’t going away and/or doesn’t lead to the scoring solution the NHL is looking for, then I’m all for making the nets bigger. Bigger nets might mean more skaters actually trying to shoot pucks into the net [instead of hannging around the net stabbing the goalie with their sticks looking for the puck for a trash goal]. I like to see goals scored by talented players who shoot the puck into the net. Not by 10 guys scrambling on their hands and knees until [maybe?] the puck went over the line, followed by 10 minutes of reviewing replays to determine if there is ‘indisputable evidence to overturn the call [or non call] made on the ice. Then 20 minutes later hearing they decided the puck brushed by somebody else’s leg so they’re now credited with the goal. It’s just luck [or Toronto’s decision] at that point. When the broadcaster isn’t sure if the puck went in and/or doesn’t know who may or may not have scored, that’s when player’s aren’t really using they’re hockey skills anymore. With a bigger net, skaters will start relying on their ability to shoot pucks again instead of seeing who can shove the goaltender into the net while he may or may not be covering the puck so we can wait on the war room to let us know if it was a goal or not.

    Don’t get me wrong, this [] is certainly entertaining, but I’m not 100% sure they’re playing hockey anymore.

    [1] Get rid of the trapezoid [2] Make the net bigger [3] If you have to reduce goaltending equipment, work on enforcing or improving the rules to protect the goalies better.

    • JoeAvg - Mar 20, 2013 at 10:00 PM

      All due repect, you have a short memory my friend. The trapezoid was brought in (the Marty Brodeur rule) because goalies playing the puck was bringing scoring way down. Marty, Hasek, etc. were so adept at clearing the puck back to the neutral zone that time in the offensive zone was becoming minimal. It did not stop teams from dumping and chasing. In addition, a goalie is not going to play a puck in the corner when icing is going to be called.

      If you really want to get rid of a rule that reduces scoring, bury the Montreal Canadiens rule that springs the guy from the box when a goal is scored on a minor penalty. Make him feel shame for the whole two minutes regardless.

  45. kendog1 - Mar 21, 2013 at 3:26 AM

    Players are bigger, no question. The current ice surface is now too small. How many time have you heard players comment “there’s no room out there…” Skill players have no room to do what we love to see. The NHL has turned into a dump and chase league and no matter what Eddie O advocates, it has become really boring. Exciting end to end rushes with 3 or 4 high passes at full speed that result in a scoring chance are what make hockey the best sport of all. Unfortunately, it’s a phenomena you rarely see anymore.

  46. spavs412 - Mar 21, 2013 at 7:53 AM

    North America needs bigger ice! Give Sid more ice he’ll set up more goals!! I love team D and great goalies but more ice will help open it up some..

  47. hyjyljyj - Mar 21, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Changing net size is a knee-jerk idea, like the notion that smaller goalie equipment must mean less protection.

    For more scoring and more mobile, better protected goaltenders:

    Go back to 10-inch-wide pads, the size used in 1937, as they should have done last time when they only went from 12 to 11. Since 1937, the padding material has gotten far lighter yet vastly more protective, the shape is now anatomical to protect the entire knee and leg, plus the pads don’t hold water. This size has worked just fine for Marty Brodeur to become the best all-time. Allow the height to remain the goalie’s preference. Hold a ruler across your shin–do you need more than ten inches of width to protect your leg–or is that about taking away the net? Let the goalie, not the equipment, make the save. Increase allowable thickness (“depth”) from 10.5″ to 12″ for more shin and knee protection.

    Now the catching glove. Tony Esposito set a record that may never be broken, 15 shutouts in a season, using a glove that Phil has said would fit inside just the trapper portion of today’s leather dog-catcher’s net. Get a ruler–does that glove need to be literally HALF A YARD LONG from the wrist to the tip as it is today? Why not a whole yard?? Tony-O might have ended the season with a GAA around 0.00 with one of these things. Instead, cut the length back to 14″ (not even a 25% reduction), closer to a first base mitt; improve the actual palm and finger padding in any way desired. Completely remove the cheater slab between thumb and forearm that has zero to do with protection. Nobody’s wrist is 8″ wide; like the cheater slab, that ridiculously wide cuff is about taking away the net, not about protection. Reduce the width of the wrist cuff and the blocker pad both by 25%, from 8″ to 6″. Allow them to be made 25% thicker, though, for more actual protection of the goaltender.

    Note these suggestions take away no protection of the goalie’s body, but actually improve it, and restore some of the equipment to dimensions more like those used by NHL netminders who did pretty damn well despite having no discernible “style” or relentless scientific coaching.

    Result would be both better goaltenders AND more scoring, without forcing every rink in every town, suburb and rural outpost in N. America to buy expensive new cages.

    • sufferingphilsfan - Mar 23, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      good stuff..but you are talking about the NHL here…everything they do is knee-jerk.

  48. sufferingphilsfan - Mar 23, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    keep the nets the same…make the equipment smaller…and teach players to shoot…the boards get hit with more pucks than goalie pads nowadays.

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