Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star,
If the NHL’s move to smaller pads was initially opposed by many of the men who go to work wearing them, certainly the statistics have softened resistance. Scoring is up only a fraction this season, to 5.34 goals a game from 5.30 a season ago.
Meanwhile, the league-average save percentage has gone in a counterintuitive direction. Two seasons ago it was .911. Last year it was .909. This year it’s at .914. If the new-found mobility provided by smaller pads hasn’t been solely responsible for making goalies better, it’s hard to argue they’ve made them worse.
Still, Whitmore, the league’s senior manager of hockey operations, said the changes have done what they were designed to do — specifically, to ensure that goaltenders are required to make “more athletic saves” rather than simply allowing supersized equipment to block pucks.
“If it’s an athletic save, it’s as exciting as a goal,” said Whitmore, 46, who played goal in 155 NHL games. “Sometimes we were getting to the point where these big pads were just getting in the way and the pucks are just hitting them. I’m not saying there’s a right way and a wrong way to play goal. But when you watched Mike Palmateer and those guys as a kid, it was exciting. It made you want to be a goalie.
“We want to see the best athletes (wanting) to be goalies again. Football always has the best athletes at wide receiver and quarterback. Goalie is the most important position on most teams. Why not have the best athlete?”
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from the CP at Sportsnet,
Bauer has unveiled new equipment for six NHL stars that it says represents “game-changing technology.”
The equipment manufacturer says its body suit and skates were designed to be so light that players could get to the puck almost a foot faster on a race from blue-line to blue-line, and new pads were made so goaltenders could get from the post to the top of the crease an inch faster.
If that is indeed the case, it could lead to more innovations in equipment from other manufacturers.
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
Daniel Palumbo is quick to smile.
You would be too if you were on the brink of revolutionizing an industry, or had a great shot at selling off your invention and striking it rich.
Palumbo won’t say their names due to confidentiality agreements with their agents, but seven NHL players want what he’s created. And what he’s made cannot be replicated by the big hockey stick brands: a specially reinforced hockey stick he promises is two to three times stronger and more durable than the regular composite sticks you’ve seen shattering on point shots and leading to shorthanded scoring opportunities the other way.
continued and watch a video of the unbreakable stick below...
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
A hockey player’s stick is not just a tool for passing, handling, and shooting pucks.
It is a technological advancement, performance enhancer, and style statement tucked inside a marketing pitch — the latter being available via video on your phone.
“A stick,” said Kevin Davis, president and CEO of Bauer Performance Sports, “is not just a stick.”
Naturally, hockey’s best players serve as a powerful lobby in dictating whether a piece of equipment becomes a hit or an afterthought.
Just like a stick is not just a stick, a rink is not just a rink. The 200-by-85-foot surface is as much an equipment proving ground as it is a stage for performance. NHLers, as finicky with their sticks as a violinist is with a bow, repeatedly dial in their approvals and annoyances for every piece of gear.
continued plus additional NHL topics...
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
Marc Savard suffered his final hit as an NHL player Jan. 22, 2011. The blow from teammate Matt Hunwick happened less than 10 months after Matt Cooke delivered his blindside wallop.
The hit that is less obvious but might have contributed to Savard’s condition happened Jan. 15, 2011.
Pittsburgh’s Deryk Engelland closed on Savard as he passed the puck. The force of Engelland’s approach drove the back of Savard’s head into the TD Garden boards. Savard went down, but he played in the next four games, the last of his career.
It’s possible the Reebok Checklight could have red-flagged Savard’s condition following Engelland’s check.
The Checklight, developed in conjunction with Cambridge-based electronics company MC10, is a wearable device that monitors head impacts.
A hockey player would wear a skull cap under his or her helmet. A tab containing impact sensors slides into a groove inside the cap. An indicator with green, yellow, and red lights is positioned outside the cap along the back of the player’s neck.
continued plus additional hockey topics...
from Eben Novy-Williams & Tom Keene of Bloomberg,
The National Hockey League may cut the size of goaltender equipment again after it shortens leg pads by about two inches this season to try to increase scoring, Commissioner Gary Bettman said today.
The league and its players’ union agreed this offseason to reduce the maximum length of goalie pads, according to NHL.com, after scoring dropped for the fourth consecutive season. Bettman said the league is exploring additional changes.
“We’re looking at other things that we can do to reduce the size of the equipment and open up more space to shoot at,” Bettman said at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit hosted by Bloomberg Link in New York. “But we have to be careful because, again, goalies are important, valuable, and we don’t want them needlessly hurt.”
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
It’s a nightly occurrence: A prime scoring chance is lost when a player winds up for a shot only to have his stick shatter like a toothpick on contact.
That’s a tough moment for NHL stars. A game may turn on that blown opportunity. But it’s even tougher on the beer leaguer who has to explain to his wife why he needs a couple hundred bucks to replace his twig a couple of times each season.
Today’s composite sticks have their advantages, but there’s clearly a demand for one that can be relied on. And now one might be just around the corner.
A Canadian company called Colt Hockey believes that it has come up with that next-gen stick by using nano-technology to create a more durable shaft. But this new process doesn’t come cheap, so they need $75,000 to expand production. And they’re hoping the crowdfunding website Kickstarter will help make that happen.
Read more recent tweets from Woodley on the goalie equipment issue.
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
Now that it has tackled softer caps on shoulder and elbow pads and rounded the glass near the benches to eliminate the "turnbuckle" effect, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety needs to look into this whole business of skate sharpening.
Like, limiting it to once a month, with the Dave Keon skate sharpener.
For those of you under the age of 50, that's the little whetstone-embedded gizmo, maybe three inches long, that kids used to send away for, with $1.25 and a label from Bee Hive Corn Syrup, to put something resembling an edge on their blades after accidentally stepping on concrete on the way from the dressing room to the ice surface.
No one ever got cut by a skate sharpened with a Dave Keon.
Alas, technology arrived, and with it came the NHL player's penchant for having his skates done every few days on a machine that puts an edge like the amazing Ginsu knife on them, and suddenly the skate cut - like Matt Cooke - is an ongoing menace in the game of hockey.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org