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Blackhawks’ Crawford stands against smaller goalie pads

Mar 23, 2013, 2:24 AM EDT

Columbus Blue Jackets v Chicago Blackhawks Getty Images

Count Corey Crawford as a member of the goaltending fraternity not in favor of reducing the size of goalie equipment – specifically leg and knee pads.

“Honestly, I don’t think it’s really how many goals are scored that makes the game exciting,” Crawford, the Chicago Blackhawks netminder, told ESPN Chicago on Friday.

“I think it’s the speed and skill, the passing. I think as long as the game is fast, it’ll be exciting. If we get 10-8 hockey games, doesn’t mean it’s going to be an exciting game. Just got to make sure the refs call the hooking and holding penalties and just let the speed of the game continue.”

The topic of reducing the size of goalie equipment was once again a topic of discussion among NHL general managers at their meetings earlier this week.

There were, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun and citing Kay Whitmore, a former NHL goalie who now works with the league’s operations department, two recommendations made: 1) shortening height of goalie pads above the knee, and 2) make sure the knee pads are less bulky and more conforming.

  1. stakex - Mar 23, 2013 at 3:47 AM

    Goalies against something that will increase their GAA? Shocker.

    Of course, I’m in the camp that thinks scoring is fine where it is. The problem is, making goalie gear smaller isn’t going to increase scoring enough for a non-hockey fan to notice all that much. Just like most casual/non fans probably haven’t notice that total goals per game average has dropped .7 GPG since the first season after the lockout.

    Last year there was an average of 5.3 goals per game… which is very close to what it was during the “Dead Puck Era”. That might seem to be a bad thing since the popular narrative is that the NHLs popularty suffered in the 90’s and early 20’s due to low scoring games. Yet even with the GPG average sliding south, the sports popularity isn’t tanking… in fact, even with the lockout things couldn’t be much better for the NHL. Ratings are up, attendance is up, and the sport is thriving.

    …and thats the secret. Its not goal scoring thats bring fans in. Its having an exciting product to sell, and doing a good job selling it. IMO hockey has always been exciting, but the difference since the lockout is that NHL has done an amazing job selling it compared to pre-lockout. Thats not to say some MINOR changes couldn’t be made to keep scoring levels where they are… but drastic changes aren’t needed. You would need to do something pretty out there to add even 1 goal per game on average, and major changes like that can cost you more fans then they bring in.

    • comeonnowguys - Mar 23, 2013 at 9:14 AM

      I absolutely agree, goals != excitement. If it’s back and forth, 1-0 is every bit as exciting as 3-2, 5-4, etc.

      I’m of the mind that given how much traffic around and contact with the goalie that’s allowed, now’s not the time to start reducing their gear in one manner or another . That’s not even factoring in the heavy shots like Weber’s.

      Look at the four teams to advance in the West. Hell, all Phoenix did was hunker down, rely on a hot goalie to stop whatever they couldn’t block, and hope for an odd-man from a blocked shot. I’m all for team play, but it was like watching paint dry.

      Before they start messing with goalie gear, they need to look at ways to remove the incentive of playing “not-to-lose,” because if the striped ones “let ‘em play” in the playoffs and start letting letting obstruction slide, then we’re back to hockey being the only major North American sport where spending the whole game playing “not-to-lose” can be the formula for going deep in the playoffs.

  2. steelers88 - Mar 23, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    I have to agree with Crawford on this one. It’s all about player safety in the NHL now and making goalie pads in my opinion is endangering the goalies in the NHL.

  3. thehighcountrybear - Mar 23, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    No, Corey’s right, low scoring games are more exciting than high scoring games…? That’s probably why you can hear a pin drop in most arenas during tight, low scoring games!

    Unless I’m mistaken, the object of the game of hockey is to score goals. With teams able to score in bunches up until the end of a sixty minute game [ Hawks v. Ducks in recent memory ], it would seem the more goals a given team scores, the more assured a positive outcome for that team would be.

    Yet, this disengenuous fop would have us believe a game with less goals is what makes hockey exciting? How far up his arse was his head buried when the record crowd at Honda Center rose as one and screaming in joy as Ducks blew by Hawks in their last game? Even the blue rinse set were up dancing and high-fiving in the aisles!

    Try as I might, I cannot recall the same reaction at a blocked shot or a pile of bodies falling over a prostrate, spread-eagled goalie featuring 24 square feet of leather and plastic wedged against each goal post?

    The fact of the matter is, the probability of opinion offered by goalies in the contemporary NHL being confined by common sense or events as they occur in the temporal world are inversely proportionate with the size of their equipment! Ditto their ability and athleticism, both replaced by huge equipment and a formulaic approach to positioning…the best example of these among the many are Crawford himself, Schneider, Luongo, Smith and Rinne.

    These guys couldn’t carry Bower, Crozier, Hall, Plante, Worsley or Sawchuk’s sweaty jocks. Technology and a massive lapse in common sense by governing bodies of the game of hockey have permitted skill to be usurped by yards of plastic and leather, end of story!

    Video killed the radio star, small rinks and over-sized goalie equipment is killing the game of hockey…

  4. nananatman - Mar 23, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    I think that’s a bad idea. I think you’re going to see a lot more goaltender injuries. I understood when they did it a few years ago when the butterfly popped because nobody could score, the pads were huge, but teams score plenty now.

  5. barkar942 - Mar 23, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    Just make the goals 5’x7′ and let the goalies keep their current padding.

    • tridecagon - Mar 25, 2013 at 10:20 AM

      You want to increase the goal area by 46%? Really? That’ll change the game, all right…

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