Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 07/26/13 at 02:11 AM ET
Via Pro Hockey Talk's Mike Halford, InGoal Magazine's Kevin Woodley had reported that the NHL wanted to reduce the size of goalies' thigh rises by approximately 2 inches in a proposal made to the joint NHL-NHLPA competition committee in early June, and as it's late July and goaltending equipment companies are already manufacturing gear for hundreds of pro goalies who play all over North America and Europe (technically speaking, European teams' training camps and preseasons begin next week), both goaltenders and a manufacturer expressed concern to Woodley regarding the fact that goalies may not have time to adjust to the new restrictions--and if you remember the number of groin injuries, hip injuries, sports hernias and knee injuries that took place when the league reduced goal pads from 12" to 11" wide during the 05-06 season, never mind the broken hands resulting from smaller catch gloves and blockers, you'll recall that these kinds of changes being implimented at the last minute is a bad idea...
But Woodley now reports that the NHL is proposing further changes to goalie gear despite the fact that the affected players may not get their new gear until near or at the start of training camps at this rate (the fact that companies like Reebok have completely outsourced their gear manufacturing does not help the process):
As InGoal reported last week, the NHL Players’ Association already approved a change in the maximum sizing chart allotment for each goaltender’s knee to hip measurement from 55 per cent to 45 per cent. With the average NHL goalie measuring around 20 inches, that amounts to a two-inch trim off the top of each pad and, in theory, a four-inch opening of their 5-hole.
That wasn’t enough for the NHL, which in early June also asked that new measurement be enforced separately rather than continuing as one of part of the formula for each goalie’s entire pad height. The NHL also originally asked for tighter restrictions on the width and contouring of kneepads, something the NHLPA planned to pass off to a Competition Committee sub-committee that is scheduled to meet for the first time over the next week to 10 days – likely too late for the upcoming season.
According to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, after meeting last Thursday in New York the NHL Players’ Association is still going to consider the additional goaltending equipment reduction requests for this season.
“We have the Players’ Association commitment to going back to the goaltender group on kneepads and some of the other additions that Kay Whitmore has in mind to do,” Daly said prior to taking part in a Town Hall-style event with Vancouver Canucks season ticket holders this week. “It is an ongoing process. We are going to get some movement this year with respect to goaltending equipment, but it’s going to continue to be a work in progress.”
Some manufacturers and NHL goalies expressed concern last week that it was getting too late in the summer to make some of the changes. But Daly indicated that wasn’t the case when it came to the request for smaller kneepads.
“On Kneepads, what [Whitmore] wants to do, as I understand it, is not a manufacturing issue,” Daly said. “So if we get goaltender buy-in, it is something we can actually implement for next season.”
The NHL wants to be able to specifically measure and limit the top section of kneepads, including a proposed eight-inch maximum above the top of the goalie’s landing gear or knee stack (the area on the inside edge where goalie’s knees hit when they drop down into the butterfly) in order to prevent more goalies from altering how their pads are made and worn to push more of it up their leg and into the 5-hole when they drop to the ice.
Continued, and that's kind of scary news.
I don't like the concept of goalies wearing bulky knee pads that are designed to essentially replace "thigh boards," and I'm not a goalie who advocates for any sort of padding that's bigger than what should be necessary to stop the puck and a player following that puck, but goalies' knees hit the ice hundreds of times during a game and thousands and thousands of times during a season. Screwing with their knee pads can and probably will change the mechanics of their dropping-into-the-butterfly splay-outs, and that's going to yield injuries and surgeries.
It's just not necessary. These kinds of rules have to be hashed out over the course of a season and made with enough time for goalies to get back on the ice in August with their new pads and have four to six weeks to adjust before they're doing what they do on a competitive basis--so that any bugs can be worked out before the season begins.
Rush jobs rarely work well in terms of any rule changes, and in this particular instance, we're talking about exposing players to injuries on a largely unnecessary basis.
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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.
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