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Report: NHL to propose significant goalie pad downsizing

Jun 4, 2013, 11:43 AM EDT

Kari Lehtonen, Dale Weise AP

The NHL will propose new goalie pad regulations when it meets with the NHLPA’s competition committee on Tuesday, according to a report from In Goal Magazine.

The proposal will introduce what would be major changes for netminders.

In Goal reports the NHL will table a pad height amendment that could decrease pad height by three inches (essentially creating a six-inch opening in the five-hole) or a fixed height for all goalies, abandoning the “individual sizing chart” which allowed pad size to be dictated by the goalie’s dimensions.

Here’s more on the two proposed options, from In Goal:

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.

In Goal also reports the NHL will discuss how goalies are wearing their equipment, and how to enforce it during the season.

In an interesting twist, Anaheim goalie Viktor Fasth confirmed to the magazine the NHL “cut the shoulder pads on his chest-and-arm unit” during the 2013 campaign — but that didn’t happen until he was already off to an 8-0-0 start.

Fasth proceeded to go 7-6-2 for the remainder of the season, though it must be said he wasn’t cheating with his pads.

The NHL originally approved his equipment, only to later make alterations when his shoulder pads looked bigger than expected.

The NHL may also look at how goalies wear boot straps (read here for how former Calgary goalie Danny Taylor used this to his advantage) and other equipment modifications.

“We want everyone with the same stuff,” Canucks goalie Cory Schneider, who serves on the NHLPA Competition Committee, told In Goal.

“We understand it’s a tough position and everyone does different things to be successful, but at the end of the day we all want to be on the same playing field.”

  1. sjsharks66 - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    So now the west games will be 2-3 goal games. While the east will be 10 goal games.

  2. sabatimus - Jun 4, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Six-inch opening in the five hole? This would turn Shawn Thornton into a 20-goal scorer.

    • supercoop8 - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:24 PM

      “Six inch opening in the five hole?”…. that sounds dirty

      • sabatimus - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:06 PM

        Oh trust me, I had to restrain myself from typing something quite lewd.

  3. ironmike778 - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    Love it!!! Long overdue.

    • polegojim - Jun 5, 2013 at 10:21 AM

      Yes – smaller pads, larger ice!

  4. idonthavethebloodyoucrave - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    It’s a league wide problem that’s exploiting by many goalies.

    Smith, Lundqvist, Niemi, and some others, all legally exploit the goaltending equipment rules to make themselves appear much bigger than they are.

    Perfect example, just look at Quick and Lundqvist game photos/video side by side. You’d think Lundqvist were a bigger man than Quick. Although they’re the same height, Quick actually has about 20 pounds on Lundqvist but looks smaller due to not wearing as large of equipment. Lundqvist’s shoulder pads alone are ridiculous in size. It’s a part of the reason he can play so deep in his net, and look big enough to still take most of the net away.

    Other goalies do this too, it’s not just him.

    They really need to have more concrete rules on goalie equipment and I’m glad they’re headed in the right direction to stop some goalies from exploiting the current rules to have an advantage.

    • 950003cups - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:26 PM

      This could pose a problem for goalies in the AHL who likely have been using larger pads their entire careers. Guys like Lundqvist could be headed for big trouble. While guys like Brodeur will only improve as this will give him goal support. Maybe another 2 years for Marty?

  5. barkar942 - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    Just keep the equipment the same, unless you want to go back to wooden sticks. Those composite sticks are creating too much velocity on shots and the goalies with less padding will probably suffer many more injuries.
    Simplest solution- 5’x7′ goal. Problem simply solved.
    plus this way when Pittsburgh goalies give up 6 goals, they won’t have to be pulled so quickly.

  6. mikey970 - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Goalie pads are too big..all goalies do is flop on the ice and whit for the puck to hit them…back in the 70’s pads fit around their legs, goalies were more athletic…good for the NHL to enforce standards

    • hockeyflow33 - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:20 PM

      Really? I’m so glad the NHL has educated fans such as yourself

    • clefty1 - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:25 PM

      Goalies were stand up back in the 70’s they are far more athletic today, they are also bigger in stature.

  7. mattrmitch - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    Here’s the one problem I have with this whole “lets keep shrinking the equipment and leave more net theory: The NHL (or for that matter, anyone who has never played goalie at a high level) needs to understand that smaller pads make for quicker goalies. You can limit the size of what they can wear, but in doing so, you’re only making the best players and athletes in the world more mobile. NHL goalies will adapt, and there will be next to no increase in scoring.

    When the pad regulations changed from an 12″ width to an 11”, I was stunned at how much easier one little change made it to move. The same goes for height; the smaller you go, the quicker you can move. The best athletes in the world stand between the pipes in the NHL. And if/when the pads shrink, it won’t have a huge impact in scoring at all.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:25 PM

      “Here’s an awesome added benefit to this whole “lets keep shrinking the equipment and leave more net theory:” ftfy

    • kicksave1980 - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:57 PM

      You’re absolutely right, and I’d imagine that most of the thumbs down you’re getting here are from people who have never strapped on the pads in their lives. The 11″ pad did make a difference in mobility, especially when it comes to pushing off of the posts and recovering after a save. Smaller glove = lighter glove, and a less bulky chest/arm pad is actually preferable, in my opinion, because you can feel the shots better and have A LOT more upper-body mobility.

      There’s nothing wrong with the pad dimensions as they are right now. Even with both pads stacked on the ice, that’s still only 22 inches. When a goalie kicks out with 1 pad, it’s 11 inches. All of the pad changes in the world won’t change the fact that most goals at the NHL level are scored through traffic or on rebounds. At that level, if those guys can see it, they’re going to stop it 99% of the time.

    • 950003cups - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:32 PM

      I’m against making the nets larger. Shrink the equipment to close to the sizes they were using 15 years ago. DONE! END OF CONVERSATION!

      Imagine a world where:
      NBA decided to widen the hoops?
      PGA widening the holes?
      NFL making the goal posts wider?
      MLB using softballs?

      Stop rewarding the less talented people. If a goalie cant stop a puck, let someone else who can get the job. Don’t make them all look like something out of Transformers

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Jun 5, 2013 at 3:12 PM

        One could also make the case that maybe the NHL is rewarding less talented goalies with bigger pads too. We all saw what happened to Steve Mason before he realized his pads were all too small for him.

  8. jason9696 - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Watch a game from the 80’s and look how small the goalies equipment looks back then. I miss those really high scoring games.

    • gret9 - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:20 PM

      Yep, compared to the pads they wear today, the pads in the 80’s were tiny by comparison. Back then they couldn’t just flop down in the butterfly and take away the whole bottom of the net because they didn’t have gigantic pads.

      • mattrmitch - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:35 PM

        They couldn’t flop down because their pads weighed an extra 10-12 pounds a pair compared to modern day gear.

    • axisofweasels - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:47 PM

      to be fair, all the players looked small back then. it was like watching string beans skate up and down the ice.

    • DTF31 - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      The pads and gloves were bigger back then. The goalies were all just 5’8 and never had any coaching besides “Don’t let them score”

  9. scoocha - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    Like all sports, there is a “perfect score” that should occur. 100-100 in NBA, roughly 35-50 total points in NFL, etc. Hockey has to cut down on 1-0 games, which in turn will cut down on boring OTs.
    Scoring is down again in the NHL and this should help it increase if the league can enforce it. 7-8 goals per game not counting ENs would be ideal.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:22 PM

      This argument is dumb. The excitement comes from scoring chances, not goals. If games go 6-5 all the time, why get excited for the first few goals?

      That’s the reason the NBA isn’t exciting for the first three quarters.

      • mp1131211 - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:44 PM

        That’s an excellent point. Also, the NBA is not exciting in the fourth quarter, but that’s a different argument.

      • hockeyflow33 - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:46 PM

        Well if you catch a close game where there are no timeouts left it is….but that’s incredibly rare.

      • harpdog - Jun 5, 2013 at 12:18 PM

        you may be right but if your team is down by 3 or 4 goals chances are you forget about a comeback for most teams. For the most part, only the 5 hole is affected.

  10. comeonnowguys - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Goal scoring isn’t everything. A 1-0 back-and-forth game is way more exciting than a 3-2 trapfest.

    They need to address teams that turtle, clutch, and grab all game and hope for an occasional odd-man rush the other way. It’s forced and artificial parity. Before you start tweaking things like goalie pads and net sizes, take a look at what’s happening in front of the goalie.

    • comeonnowguys - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:24 PM

      And a 3-2-1 points system would get teams to put more effort into regulation wins and not just sag back for at least 50 percent of the desired result.

      • tmoore4075 - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:35 PM

        They won’t do a 3-2-1 system. It could take away from the tight races at the end of the season. See Detroit, Minny, CBJ and Dallas this year. I’m for that because shootouts still give you the same points for a win, it just doesn’t come into play until the tie breaker. But if my team finishes 1 point up it doesn’t matter how they got there.

        They need to get consistency back on the officiating side. This playoff has been bad. Amazing to me that they still can’t get this better.

    • stakex - Jun 5, 2013 at 12:49 AM

      I agree with you that a low scoring game can be a ton of fun to watch. I personaly don’t think there is a goal scoring problem, and most casual fans that this is aimed at won’t notice an extra goal or two per game anyway.

      I do disagree that the game needs to be called even tighter though. Watch a game from the 90’s. Modern games look like no touch hockey by comparison. What little obstruction there is in the game these days, and theres not nearly as much as you seem to think there is, gives the game some character. Not everyone wants to watch a bunch of “super stars” running up and down the ice that you can’t touch.

      Not to mention there are already enough penelties in the game. If it gets much worse, teams might as well just take turns playing short handed.

    • harpdog - Jun 5, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      For the most part goalies know they are protected by interference penalties now becoming very popular with some referees these days.
      The clutch and grab does not affect a goalie that just needs to do is butterfly with no risk of 5 hole and concentrate only on blocking the puck to the left and right or freezing the puck with the glove.
      The clutch and grab is more prevalent during the playoffs because referees call post season games different than regular season. Change that second because bigger goalies have a distinct advantage over smaller goalies because they have more equipment to block the net with

  11. tmoore4075 - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    They need to do this. I hope changes are made. I mean look at the gear goalies used to wear to today. Add on top of that the goalies are just physically bigger and the nets haven’t been made bigger. Lets get this in line.

  12. DTF31 - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    So do they really think that now goalies aren’t going to adjust their butterfly to close the 5 hole and just expose their knees? Am I missing something with this?

  13. matt14gg - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    Who will suffer? Rinne, Lundqvist, Smith, Crawford, Hiller and a few others. Guys who will not be effected: Rask, Quick, Price, etc. It’s about time the league did this. It’s freakin ridiculous how the league has allowed this oversized equipment for so long. It turns average goalies (Rinne) into all stars.

  14. mp1131211 - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Am I the ONLY ONE who likes the game as it is? Every single time a change is suggested, the masses come out trashing the current standard and suggest that the change will either 1) restore the NHL to its greatness or 2) ruin what little they like about the NHL as it currenty exists.

    The game itself, imho, is f***ing awesome. I wish the NHL would work on getting better camera angles and get a solution for showing more ice during play. So much of a hockey play is set up away from the puck and you just don’t get to see much of that.

    Whatever…. big pads, small pads- who cares? The game will still be the best one out there next year where we have jumbo marshmellows or minis.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:28 PM

      Agreed. I’d love the league to mandate no more zooming in to see faces while we miss a scrum after a whistle. I also don’t need to miss a faceoff to see an exterior photo of the city the game is being played in.

      • mp1131211 - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:34 PM

        Yeah, and mandate that NBC’s Pierre McGuire disagree with at least 1 of Doc Emerick’s comments per season. Someone mentioned a few days ago how all he does is compliment the commentators about how right they are and I never noticed it until then… but MY GOD, does that guy kiss as*…..

    • stakex - Jun 5, 2013 at 12:51 AM

      Nope, you’re not the only one at all. I spend an awful lot of time around people who watch hockey, and I haven’t heard one complaint about lack of scoring in a lot of years.

  15. hockeyflow33 - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    I wish that everyone who complained about pad size would step into a net just once to see what it’s like and how the position has very little to do with pad size.

    Goalies now have coaches from the time they start playing the position, stretch from the time they are kids and are almost always over 6’2″.

    I’d be fine with wearing less padding if players stopped using composite sticks.

    • joelwrobinson - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:12 PM

      Or remove the bend out of the blades.

  16. joelwrobinson - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Just take one look at mike smith and tell me this is a bad idea. Dude takes up the entire net. Hilarious though because he still sucks.. Go figure.

  17. tdrusher225 - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Thank god! Next step: Make the rink sheets bigger. Then get teams out of awful markets and we’re in business.

  18. farstar1 - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    I remember seeing the Ducks win the Cup almost soley on a goalie that was big and had big equipment mostly just played the angles. Saw little of quick glove saves, quick pad saves and like many goalies now adays just playing the angle and putting the glove mostly likely where the puck will go whether high or low. You have goals scored from traffic due bigger defense and forwards glogging the front of the net on top of big goalies with big equipment. They need to bring back some of the flash from the past and reward reflex more than just being big with big equipment. Game needs to be opened up. Of course with less goal scoring the league can keep salaries down. Big goal scorers demand bigger money in free agency and after the first strike even with the bigger area behing the net and the elimination of red line for passing the game tightened up and it sure seemed like it was with most all teams. Thanks Bettman it was good for the owners.

  19. Stiller43 - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    As a fan of a team predicated on offense, i hate it

  20. stakex - Jun 5, 2013 at 1:01 AM

    Look there is one, and only one, true way to increase scoring in the NHL long term: make the net bigger. Its the only way. Goalies will adjust to smaller gear, or defenses will find a way to limit shots on the net. Players will learn to avoid new penelties, or teams will get better and killing them. No matter what changes you make to equipment, rules, limits on defense… players and teams adjust. The one thing you can’t adjust for though is a bigger net.

    Thankfully, that will probably never happen. The NHL wants to increase scoring without having an asterisk next to any new records that are set… and if the net was made larger we would most certainly need a new record book from that day forward since it would be a different game.

    At the end of the day the league should just leave the game alone. No one is complaining about the amount of goal scoring (perhaps Pens fans are right now), and the sports popularity has continued to climb even as goal scoring has gone down. Just accept thats how the game is now, and leave it be.

  21. harpdog - Jun 5, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    Originally, the changes to bigger pads was made for goalie safety and I am all for that. However, some goalies like Niemi, look impenetrable when you face them. There is no way that Gretzky’s 92 goals would ever be broken. If Gretzky were playing today at the height of his career he would be putting up Stamkos type of numbers. The size of goalie equipment changes has dramtically changed the game over the years and a perfect example of that is how many 5 hole goals are scored now a days. The height and width of pads does not effect the safety of a goalie and why they were originally changed bothers me. Fans want to see goals. Yes a 1-1 game is exciting but a 5-4 game can have much more excitement for the fan because as 3 goal lead can be over come. This is the other effect the larger pads have on the game. When a team has a 3 or 4 goal lead, you may as well go home or change the channel because the chances of coming back from that for most teas is to difficult.
    The reason there are more bigger goalies now is because they can have bigger pads and cover more of the net. You can’t crash the net anymore and that was the reason bigger goalies were wanted.
    As for the smaller pads means goalies will be faster does not apply to a gaping 6″ unblock able hole they call the 5 hole. This hole can only be blocked with the stick and smaller pads does not mean a quicker stick.

  22. Jay - Jun 5, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    Carter got what was coming to him. When you play with fire and instigate a situation, you are going to get burned. That’s what happened. When a guy is trying to pick up his glove, and you slash him, you deserve what happens next.

    • mandoist - Jun 6, 2013 at 7:54 AM

      Actually, not with the stick. Eyes have been lost that way. These situations are what fists are for.

  23. mandoist - Jun 6, 2013 at 7:50 AM


    The NHL Brass needs to play more golf, or find some hobby to keep their minds preoccupied. This idea is utterly ridiculous — not to mention unfounded.

    If you want ‘higher numbers’, switch to football.
    What’s next….soccer goal sized-nets????

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