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Goalies react after trying shorter pads

Aug 25, 2013, 11:28 AM EDT

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Will we see an increase in scoring in 2013-14? That will be one of the key questions after the NHL and players’ association agreed to reduce the size of goaltender leg pads.

Previously, netminders were allowed goalie pads that could cover 55 percent of the gap from the knee to pelvis. That’s been reduced to 45 percent starting with this season, according to That might be a bit hard to picture, but fortunately the 6-foot-2 Craig Anderson tweeted a nice visual representation of the change. In the picture to the right, his old leg pad is placed next to his new, smaller one.

As you can see, it’s not a drastic change, but it certainly is a noticeable one. Naturally though, the difference is dependent on the goaltender’s size.

A smaller goaltender like the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Jonathan Bernier stands to only lose about an inch, but some guys will have to deal with about a five-inch reduction between their two pads, which in Bernier’s words is “huge.”

While these changes have been talked about for a little bit now, goaltenders are getting a chance to make their first impressions now that they’re getting their 2013-14 pads.

“They feel a little bit shorter, yeah, but it’s not too much of a big change,” Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford said. “I’m sure there will be a bit of an adjustment period, but it’s something I’ve gone through and the other goalies have gone through before.

“I just hope it’s not something that leads to injuries. With a shorter pad, hopefully we’ll have a good limit for knee pads so guys don’t get hurt.”

Pittsburgh Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury largely echoed Crawford’s concerns about what this change might mean when it comes to their protection against potential knee injuries. NHL goaltenders are already allowed to wear knee pads that are nine inches across, but the NHLPA and league are still talking about possible changes.

“We have to find a way to protect the guys that play that way, but make sure the protection just follows the contour of their knee and doesn’t plug the five hole,” NHL senior manager of hockey operations and goaltending equipment Kay Whitmore said.

As for Jean-Sebastien Giguere, he just doesn’t want to see goaltenders get the blame if this adversely impacts their numbers.

“Coaches and GMs, you guys want that, you’ve been asking for more goals [through the] five hole,” Giguere said. “So if your goalie gives up a goal five hole, you need to take a breath and remember that you asked for it.”

  1. goalie007 - Aug 25, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    I wonder when the NHL is going to figure out it isn’t the gear, it’s the goalie. After the first lock-out they went to 11″ pads and smaller gloves. All they found out is that goalies skate and move better in 11″ pads than they did on the old 12″ pads. You can keep making the gear smaller and goalies will keep adapting, as long as protection is not compromised. Goalies are bigger, quicker, more athletic, and better coached than they were 30 years ago and that’s the real answer. The only way they are going to get a long term, permanent increase in scoring is to either make the net bigger or go to the bigger international sized ice surface. Personally, I’d vote for the bigger ice surface before making the net bigger.

    • govtminion - Aug 25, 2013 at 12:30 PM

      I like the idea of the larger ice in theory, but NHL arenas aren’t designed for it. Some might be able to pull it off, but what do you do about others? Can a place like, say, Winnipeg afford to get rid of a bunch of seating?

    • stakex - Aug 25, 2013 at 12:32 PM

      Everything you said is absolutely correct, aside from the notion that a bigger ice surface would increase scoring long term.

      The fact is that even on a bigger ice surface, the game is still pretty much the same… and the scoring areas would actually be just as easy to cover and defend. There might be more room on the perimeter, but nothing but low quality scoring chances will come from there. The puck still has to get to the net, and it wouldn’t be any harder to defend that portion of the ice. Any bump that might come from a large ice surface would no doubt be short lived as defenses adjust. Also don’t forget that those really good goalies you talked about, would still be in the net.

      In the end, there isn’t much that’s going to increase long term scoring aside from larger nets. That is the only sure thing to give a boost, and even then its debatable how big/long such a bump would last.

      • makemulletsmandatory - Aug 25, 2013 at 5:26 PM

        yes the only thing thats different is less hitting

      • nyrnashty - Aug 27, 2013 at 12:13 AM

        The complex that I play at has both an Olympic and NHL size rink. Personally I think the Olympic size rink sucks, it’s just too big of a surface. The bigger size surface does make a difference when breaking out of your own zone you don’t have to worry about that D man blowing you up when receiving an outlet pass from your D nearly as much and in two strides you’re at full speed blazing down the wing for a potential odd man rush. The D have to be very cautious when their in the offensive zone that a player doesn’t slip behind them to receive a pass from their D and get a breakaway. I just think that the big ice surface doesn’t suit North American philosophies. Yes they can be changed over time, but so would the game as we know it!

    • greystoke124 - Aug 25, 2013 at 12:53 PM

      Yes goalies today are SO much more athletic. Let’s see, gigantic body and leg pads, can’t go from side to side on a two on one anymore, can’t clear rebounds any more. A lot of things goalies used to do they don’t do any more. They have shifted all that responsibility onto the defensemen because they’re basically helpless after the puck hits them. Shot from the point, drop in a V. Shot from the faceoff circle, drop in a V. Shot from pretty much anywhere on the ice, drop in a V. Yes they are so much better…. like watching paint dry….

      • titansrbeast - Aug 25, 2013 at 2:47 PM

        Lololol. It’s funny because you’re stupid. Please learn how goalies play please. You make it sound as if all they do is just drop down into a simple position and helplessly get smoked with a puck. Goalie is one of the most athletic positions in sports and if you can’t see that…well then, it’s like I said in the beginning of my comment. If watching a goalie save a puck is like watching paint dry to you, you don’t deserve to watch sports.

      • hockeyflow33 - Aug 25, 2013 at 5:27 PM

        What is dropping into a V?

        I love your wonderful hockey insight.

      • bluesgoforcup - Aug 27, 2013 at 1:38 AM

        Titanbreast / Hockeyflow, Greystoke is right, there’s no way anyone can say that goalies today are more athletic than yesteryear. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen that the “Save of the Game” is a goalie dropping down in a butterfly & letting the puck hit him. The goaltending position use to be an exciting position to watch & marvel. Today, not so much, in fact its no fun to watch anymore. The player equipment today, goalie & non-goalie has impacted & changed the game & style of play so much. The stats back it up. Statistically speaking, the difference between the bad goalies & the top goalies has closed dramatically. It’s never been so close. Too many imposters today in goal with great stats that in truth, aren’t anywhere near that good – see Dennis Elliot of the Blues for example – way overrated. No, there’s a lot of imposters out there in goal that aren’t that good. Why do you think Luongo cries he’ll retire if they increase the size of the nets. NHL Goalies are overrated. Time to put more of a challenge back into the position so we can separate the men from the boys in goal.

    • sunderlanding - Aug 25, 2013 at 1:52 PM

      Nonsense. If you look at pictures even 20 years ago you’ll see the equipment is much smaller. Now say if you’re equipment increases 5% it’s safe to say you’ll stop 5% more shots. Say from and average save percentage of 88% – 93% for top goalies. Large ice isn’t the issue. That’ll just change the style of game. Check the Europeon leagues that play on that big ice, and you’ll find there are just as many 1-0 games, as a matter of fact Babcock was just talking about that at olympic camp. Lot’s of teams over there play for a 1-0 win. I’m 100% against making the ice bigger. I love the small ice. It forces confrontation. Encourages hitting. And I find there are plenty of goals. 1-0 games happen and so do 7-5 games. I can’t remember ever watching a game in the last 10 years and saying: “Damn if only that ice was a little bigger.”

      • canadianguest - Aug 25, 2013 at 3:39 PM

        I actually laughed out loud when I read that, “if you’re equipment increases 5% it’s safe to say you’ll stop 5% more shots”. And then my jaw dropped with the, “Say from and average save percentage of 88% – 93% for top goalies”.

        So based on this, if they increase the size of equipment 12%, then the ‘top goalies’ will go from an avg 88% – 100% save percentage?

      • sunderlanding - Aug 25, 2013 at 3:52 PM

        Obviously it’s not absolute (do I really have to say that). Some people amaze me, but if you’re goalie plays a shot blocking style, and there is more of him, then he’ll stop more shots. Do you find this difficult to understand?

      • canadianguest - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:15 PM

        It’s your correlation between increasing equipment a specific amount equating the the same percentage of stops shots, and then you just add that number to the goalies overall save percentage, ridiculous (do I really have to say that). Please go back to school.

      • sunderlanding - Aug 29, 2013 at 2:30 PM

        Can you read? It was just a random example. If you really think that bigger equipment won’t stop more shots you need to open your eyes.

      • capsfan14 - Aug 25, 2013 at 4:40 PM

        Simply put, sunderlanding, your math was way off and had no logical support to it, no need to get mad…

      • sunderlanding - Aug 25, 2013 at 4:47 PM

        It was an example. Furthermore it’s obviously an exponential scale as no goalie could realistically get 100%. Do I really need to explain this to you people? Or are you just looking for a fight?

    • tdrusher225 - Aug 25, 2013 at 2:46 PM

      I agree. I’m not sure bigger ice surfaces will increase scoring, but i will certainly help the flow of the game (which I think is just as important). But a bigger net is something that has to happen now. The fact that they haven’t done that while goalies are getting bigger is ridiculous. They say it’s a change they don’t want to make to the game, but by doing nothing they are changing the game. It’s time to look at all of these changes and help the game evolve.

      • sunderlanding - Aug 25, 2013 at 4:53 PM

        Making the equipment smaller is the same as making the net bigger. It’s that simple.

      • tdrusher225 - Aug 25, 2013 at 5:30 PM

        No it’s not. Goalie are still far bigger now than they were in past years. Equipment reduction may help marginally, but it’ll never be reduced to the way it was in previous years because of the injury risk. That idea is one that would be limited from the beginning and much more difficult to mange. Making the net bigger would be an idea much easier to pass through the NHLPA and Board of Governors.

      • sunderlanding - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:12 AM

        I don’t think we need more goals, or bigger nets so that more goals would go in, because no goalie would let them in otherwise. I rarely watch a game and think “damn if only there were a couple more goals”. Maybe you do, but I like to watch tight defense as much as I like to watch potent offense.

      • tdrusher225 - Aug 26, 2013 at 10:45 PM

        It’s not just about the goals, it’s about adapting the game so it’s just as fair to the shooters who have to try to score goals while 85% of the net is covered by goalies just while being on their knees. I think you and I are on the same page about that, we just disagree on what is the best solution. I think equipment reduction still doesn’t fully account for the drastic size increase of the majority of NHL goalies nowadays. Even with this reduction these guys will still be covering a huge part of the net. That being said, I guess it can’t hurt.

    • lateralous - Aug 25, 2013 at 10:32 PM

      I could care less about increasing scoring but I’m glad to see them cut the padding that has next to nothing to do with protection out of the pads. While goalies most certainly are bigger and stronger, the oversized padding has taken a lot of the athleticism out of the position. As a goalie, I know why we do it but as a fan, watching guys like Belfour, CuJo, Hasek and Brodeur do their thing in the late 90’s was so much more exciting to watch than the current crop that just slides back and forth in the butterfly cutting down angles. Jon Quick being the major exception.

    • blomfeld - Aug 26, 2013 at 1:13 AM


      Goalie007 – So it isn’t the ‘gear’ eh Einstein ? Well then, why doesn’t the NHL just save itself a whole lot of cash by allowing teams to erect a 4×8′ plywood panel in front of their nets every night ? Predictable and ”weak-kneed’ sheep like you make me positively sick and it’s the reason why I no longer frequent Canadian Tire. So ‘FU’ pal and ‘F’ all supporters of over-sized ‘Liberace-styled’ padding !

      • alswingman - Aug 26, 2013 at 2:56 AM

        Just you wait fruity blomfeld, J Quick is all about the equipment. He needs all the padding and armor he can handle. How does it feel to be headed back to the norm for the Kings at the bottom of the division every year?

    • desertfan - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      Same length of rinks but add 10 feet to width.

      Would make for a great game.

      Talk out of Europe is SMALLER rinks so maybe its time to meet in the middle??

  2. greystoke124 - Aug 25, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    The leg pads are just a small part of the problem. When you have a goaltender who weighs 200lbs and he’s the size of someone who weighs 800lbs, that’s the problem. The body padding is what’s over the top with goaltenders. Body pads that are 4 ft across the chest and arm pads that are 2 ft wide on each side. It’s idiotic. That has nothing to do with protection, it’s all about taking up as much of the net as possible. If they think they need pads that big to keep from being hurt then they are pussies. Don’t give me the “players shoot harder today speech.” That’s a bunch of BS. There are more players now who shoot hard, but they don’t shoot harder then the hardest shooters of 50 years ago. Bobby Hull is a prime example. He was clocked at 118mph in his prime. And that was with a wooden stick. These huge body pads are a result of the butterfly style of goaltending. You go to your knees and are still as wide as the whole net. Look at the padding of Tony Esposito and compare it to the padding of today’s butterfly goalies. Tony would have been a god today in the NHL with today’s body pads.

    • eroachm - Aug 25, 2013 at 1:29 PM

      As a goalie I have to strongly disagree. Even though we wear all that padding we still get hurt. A solid rubber puck moving at 80+mph is quite a hard thing stop. You still will get stingers with today’s chest protectors and let me tell you they can really hurt. Even with my leg pads if I get a puck to the knee pad that forms to my knee it hurts. I wouldn’t by any means say that wanting the equipment as protective as it is makes us/them pussies. I also will say unless you have some decent experience playing in net you can’t really say much on the topic of padding size and what is too much.

      • greystoke124 - Aug 25, 2013 at 2:28 PM

        I played goal from 1972 to 1989. If getting a stinger or getting hurt is something you worry about then you have no business being between the pipes. The fun part was getting hit somewhere that padding didn’t cover, especially more than once in the same game :)
        Most of that padding today isn’t covering anything. It’s just taking up net space to stop goals so you don’t have to. The sweaters are big and baggy to catch pucks. Years ago I even saw a pro goalie in Portland, ME that had clear plastic inserts on the bottom of his leg pads down either side of his skates so a puck couldn’t ride down his skate blade. They all try to cheat one way or another.
        If they make the nets bigger they’ll just make the padding bigger until it becomes more idiotic than it is now.

    • krebsy34 - Aug 25, 2013 at 4:45 PM

      What you are saying with Bobby Hull would be like saying because Chara hits a 105MPH clapper, then everyone in the league is able to hit a 105 clapper. Which we all know isn’t gonna happen. You see the thing with the new sticks is that they give the guy more speed than they wouldn’t have had with a wood stick. Essentially I’m saying that the difference between the slowest shot and the fastest is smaller than is was when Bobby Hull played. (Not real numbers but just an example would be 85mph-105mph today, and say 65-118mph back then) The consistently harder shots will take it’s toll.

      Also perhaps some research would do you some good. The protection of the arms is at it’s widest 7 inches wide. Quite a difference than the 24 inches you suggest. also suggesting that someone is 6 feet wide is quite ridiculous too. Goaltending is much more than taking up space. Perhaps a watch of this video would do you some good (

    • hockeyflow33 - Aug 25, 2013 at 5:30 PM

      An idiot like you doesn’t deserve a proper response

    • steelwarriors55 - Aug 25, 2013 at 10:36 PM

      So what you’re saying is that players have the right to improve their equipment technology but we the goalies cant? Yeah it makes a lot of sense

    • lateralous - Aug 25, 2013 at 10:40 PM

      I agree the padding needs to be cut down because there is a lot that is not necessarily for protection, but the composite sticks did change the amount of protection required. Yes, there were always guys with heavy shots, but you’re pointing out the guys who were known to be the best shooters. With the new sticks, now everyone can shoot 90 mph so you’re facing 30 heavy shots per night.

  3. jessejames182 - Aug 25, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    What was the NHL thinking, like people want more garbage goals, I personally don’t care how many times it goes in or did they forget how awful that penguins flyers series was. As long as therws chances it’s great.

    • sunderlanding - Aug 25, 2013 at 1:59 PM

      Picking the 5-hole isn’t a garbage goal. It’s the same as picking the top corner. Let’s be realistic here. That part of the pad that covers the 5-hole is known as the “cheater”. Do we really want that in the game?

  4. 950003cups - Aug 25, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Larger ice makes all the sense in the world. Guys are bigger and faster. The ice as it stands now is fully utilized with little room left.


    It’s hard to ask GMs to take away two rows of seats in the lower bowl when the NHLPA wants the cap to keep going up. Can’t have both.

    • sunderlanding - Aug 25, 2013 at 1:56 PM

      Excatly that’s what makes it awesome. The ice is fully utilized. I’m 100% against larger ice. It’ll just encourage more turtling.

      • tdrusher225 - Aug 25, 2013 at 3:17 PM

        People want to see players make plays, not get trashed every time they touch the puck. There is no skill in that.

      • sunderlanding - Aug 25, 2013 at 3:50 PM

        Are you stupid? You’re telling me there is no skill to knowing how and when to throw a hit? No skill in knowing how and when to block a shot? I hate to break it to you, but playing defense is a skill as well. Futhermore, there are plays to make that don’t involve passing or shooting the puck.

      • tdrusher225 - Aug 25, 2013 at 4:13 PM

        Listen genius, I’m not talking about Niklas Kronwall sizing you up and timing a hit perfectly. I love hitting, but watching players make contact every time they touch the puck does not incorporate skill. Any bum with a large frame can size you up when you’re stationary and hit you. Especially when they’re a foot away to begin with. BTW I love how you try to incorporate shot-blocking and defense into the argument when I didn’t even bring it up and it has nothing to do with any of this. I enjoy defense, you’re the one who seems to prefer one over the other.

      • sunderlanding - Aug 25, 2013 at 4:23 PM

        I love offense, and I love defense, and I realize there is skill to both. I enjoy tight defensive games, and I enjoy wide open offesive games. I think the league currently has a good balance of both (it’s not like Pheonix is winning any cups). Last year we had both, and the “skill” offensive team won. I don’t understand what the problem is, and I think using “skill” to describe scoring teams is misleading. Knowing where to be, and how to disrupt a play requires skill as well.

      • tdrusher225 - Aug 25, 2013 at 5:09 PM

        Right, there is skill to all of it. But disrupting a play is far is easier to do when players are constantly on top of each other and have little room to work with. And it’s harder to make offensive plays with all those same circumstances as well.

        You need to realize that there isn’t a balance of both high scoring offensive games and tight defensive games. One happens far more than the other. That’s been apparent for some time. I enjoyed watching two balanced teams play quality hockey in the Cup Finals this year. But even then the only high-scoring, wide open game was Game 4. I still greatly enjoyed the series, but a better balance of the two probably would’ve made it even better. Hockey could also use games where goal totals are produced from created offense rather than solely from the mistakes of defenses and Marc-Andre Fleury.

      • sunderlanding - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:11 AM

        I believe the cup final should generally be low scoring, because teams are high calibre and playing safe to avoid mistakes. In that respect I thought this cup final was perfect. I really don’t think the kind of hockey you’re talking about is in danger of taking over the league like it did in the late ’90s. Unless of course you live in Pheonix.

      • tdrusher225 - Aug 26, 2013 at 10:38 PM

        Why would you want to watch teams play it safe? Don’t you want to see teams feel an incentive to go and make things happen rather than trying not to make a mistake. The best hockey that is ever played is desperate hockey. Take the last 2 minutes of Game 6 of the SCF, the last period of Bruins-Leafs Game 7, and really all points of playoff games where the game is in the balance. That’s what makes playoff hockey great. Not the chunk of the game where both teams are sitting on their hands hoping to not mess up. And yes the NHL today is in a much better place than during the “Dead Puck Era”.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 25, 2013 at 6:32 PM

      I calculate4d the impact a month or so ago, given 1st floor ticket prices, the impact was inthe millions annually. Some teams are currently being kept afloat with revenue sharing.

      I’ve heard folks urge adopting the big ice as not doing so suopposedly hurts USA and Canadian Olympic teams when not played in N. Ameria. Losing millions in revenue to potentially do better in the Olympics every 4 years is not something you’d sell the owners on.

      What smart coaches like Babcock are doing is picking teams with a greater empasis on skating vs. size.

  5. c1md6 - Aug 25, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    Lol I think Marc Andre Fleury could have leg pads the size of a tractor trailer and he’d still give up 5 goals a game, maybe he should focus on stopping the puck first and let the credible goaltenders state the complaints.

  6. northstarnic - Aug 25, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    It’s about time!!!

  7. bayafan - Aug 25, 2013 at 11:40 PM

    The problem I have with the talk about increase scoring is that the league thinks ratings and attendance will go up. I like low scoring games I think they are more exciting but then again I also prefer pitching duels over a slugfest.

  8. koho6right - Aug 26, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    To those who are stuck in the past mumbling about the good old days…ok they were good but to say the shots aren’t harder and faster today is ridiculous. The sticks are the primary reason if not the only reason. Pucks fly of those things. Maybe you should try one. As for the goalie pads, the colors of the longer pad pictured actually make those pads look wider to me. I had to look at it a few times to get that. My opinion is that the taller goalies are the one’s who will see their averages go up. For the same reason that the optical illusion of the pad size fooled me, the shooters will see more.

  9. nyrnashty - Aug 27, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    The width of the pads still look the same! I’m not in favor of smaller equipment anyway, unless shooters go back to using wooden sticks. This current idea isn’t fair to goalies, I’m not a goalie, but even I can see that lol.

  10. deezenucks - Aug 27, 2013 at 1:22 AM

    It’s not called a cheater, that extra length above the knee on the pads that makes a 5 hole seal is called a riser.
    I really like all the guys chiming in for smaller pads when they havnt played a min of goal in a legit game.
    I have… For 25 years. Have you taken a one timer off your knee? Or your ribs? Pussies? Hardly. You want to be confident in your gear not worrying about taking one in an awkward spot.
    They already reduced it once, it doesn’t need any more. Deal with the fact that goalies today are just better and more athletic.

    Hey im nostalgic for our heroes from the past, but can you even picture Esposito doing the butterfly? It’s a much different game now.

  11. dumbassgreg - Aug 27, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    please biggest myth today’s goalies are so much better. it is the equipment. reason goalies did not go down in past the pads were heavy to start with then as you sweat they got much heavier. it was a more skilled reflex game. today goalie just make themselves big let puck hit them. you regular see goalies unable or unwilling to even catch the puck. they just wave at hit away. if goalies really think they are so great put on the old equipment one day. let’s see all the slapshots from wing that go in. just like goalies of old.

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