Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/3/13
Ottawa Senators goaltender Robin Lehner is seething about a last-minute stick change forced upon him by the NHL. He has accepted a two-inch reduction in the length of his pads but he’s irate about the league’s decision to reduce his stick length to 26 inches from a 28-inch version he has used for the past five seasons. Lehner didn’t learn about the need to switch until midway through training camp when told by an equipment representative. “I’ve got to bend my back now I’ve got to bend my legs more I’ve got to change my posture and all that kind of stuff” Lehner said following Senators practice Wednesday. “I can understand (reducing the size of) equipment but to touch the stick … it’s like telling a player that has been shooting with their stick for their whole life … go to (Jason Spezza) take his stick and cut if off three or four inches and expect him to get his shot every time. It’s the same for us except we’re not shooting. We just have to get comfortable in our stance. It’s tough. This is the toughest (change) for me.” Any goaltender who is 6-6 or taller is allowed to use a 28-inch stick. Lehner however is 6-5 meaning he is required to use the same length of stick as a 5-11 goaltender. “They took two inches away from me and it’s the same as what a guy who is 5-11 can have … it’s just a guessing game it feels like. It’s a little weird.” Lehner ordered a new batch of sticks and has yet to use them. Late in training camp he experimented with a 26-inch stick used by Nathan Lawson who has since been assigned to Binghamton of the American Hockey League. Lehner is comfortable with his new pads which were designed to give a little more space between the legs when a goaltender goes into his butterfly position. The NHL’s thinking was that it could lead to more scoring but Lehner says netminders have adjusted. “All the goalies recognized that the whole league would be thinking about going five hole and goalies worked on the five hole and it made goalies aware. I don’t know there might even be less now. Looking at the games (Tuesday) people thought maybe guys like (Chicago’s Corey) Crawford or (Toronto’s James) Reimer would have a tough time. But you know what? They looked pretty sick.” Sick meaning good of course.
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