Originally posted on NY Rangers Blog  |  Last updated 7/26/13
Over at In Goal Magazine (H/T Puck Daddy), Kevin Woodley reports that the NHL goaltenders across the NHL are still awaiting an agreement between the NHL and NHLPA on equipment size reductions for this upcoming season, specifically the height of the leg pads. Woodley says the main disagreement seems to be the NHL wants to limit the length of the pads above the knee, while the NHLPA just wants a standard height for the entire pad. With summer skates just around the corner, many goaltenders, including Henrik Lundqvist, are starting to get concerned that they won't have appropriate time to adjust to the new pads... “If they change it, as long as I have the new gear early August it should be fine.” Another worry Lundqvist has is safety. With players shooting harder than ever, a reduction in pad size could leave him vulernable to injury... “I don’t have a problem with change, as long as the safety is the main focus. You might be able to cut a few things but we are getting close to how much you can push it. Now because of the changes I’m getting hit in places where in the past I was protected. You have to remember that the game is so much faster now, and the players shoot the puck harder and with a quicker release because of the new sticks.” With both sides not expected to meet again on this issue until next week, it's likely a decision won't be finalized until at least early August, so Marty Biron has come up with a compromise he hopes will be implemented... “I think we are going deep in the summer which doesn’t leave much time to work on gear especially knee pads. Would they be willing to put in the new changes in-season? Let’s say by New Year all goalies would have to be in legal gear? That would give us time to work on gear and practice with it on an every day basis.” ...i am 100% for the reduction of goaltender equipment. Even with the size decrease three years ago, the netminders are still way too big in my opinion. It's very difficult to score when Lundqvist and Co. are taking up 95% of the net. Remember how ridiculously huge Garth Snow's shoulder pads were?... ...if the NHL wants to increase scoring, they don't need to increase the size of the net, just decrease the size of the goaltending equipment. I mean look at Vanbiesbrouck in this pic from the mid 80s. It doesn't even look like he's wearing arm pads or a chest protector and the guy still won the Vezina Trophy... ...now having said that, I played goalie from age 8 to 18 and I can't tell you how many times I took a puck to the top of the knee because when I went down into the butterfly position my pads weren't long enough to cover my knees. And let me tell you, it effn' hurts.  So I do agree with Lundqvist that the goaltender's safety has to be first and foremost. While the pads do need to be shortened it shouldn't expose them to possible injury. ...with how long it took the NHL and NHLPA to agree on the new CBA, the goaltenders might not find out about the new dimensions until the end of training camp, so for goodness sake I hope they give these guys some time to get used to the new equipment. I think Biron was spot on with his idea. And if Lundqvist and Biron don't feel comfortable with their new equipment before the season starts, I heard Carlos Danger is still a free agent (via The New Yorker)... Remember to follow me on Twitter & Facebook or e-mail me at nyrfan94@yahoo.com.
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