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Are Goalies Dominating The Game?

from Mike Sielski of the Wall Street Journal,

Back when a goaltender’s ensemble consisted of a flimsy chest protector and a thin plastic mask strapped flush against his face (if he wore a mask at all), the position was the dominion of eccentrics. It required an odd blend of guts and inertia that bore no relation to skating, checking or anything else that was happening on the ice.

Today, the goalie looms over hockey as if he were a giant green lizard.

The consensus throughout the NHL is that goaltending has entered a golden age. Goalies are more athletic. Their equipment practically blocks the pucks for them. There’s even an advanced form of hip surgery that can rejuvenate their careers.

This tide is so strong, in fact, that new rules implemented by the NHL to boost scoring haven’t succeeded. The league’s per-game scoring average fell to 5.46 in 2010-11, a 10% decline over the previous six seasons.


thanks to a KK member for the link…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Hank1974's avatar

Steve McKichan, a former NHL goaltending coach, said he has obtained a patent for a new set of goaltender’s leg pads that are angled like the blade of a snowplow. Whenever a goalie drops to his knees or kicks out his leg along the ice to make a save, the pads tilt backward seven to eight degrees more than a standard pair.

Any puck that strikes the pads, McKichan said, will carom harmlessly into a corner of the rink instead of going into the slot, where opponents can turn them into easy goals. McKichan said the prototype pads, which conform to the NHL’s current regulations, could be on the market in December.


I know I’m in the minority, but I don’t like soccer. I don’t like 2-1 games.
I want forwards to be able to see some part of the net if they’re 10-feet out.

Just increase the size of the net. I know that’s blasphemy, but players are twice the size they once were.
If you shrunk the nets by 50% in 1970 people would have been outraged, and yet that’s exactly where we’re at right now.

I like goals. They’re exciting. And with more goals come more scoring chances.
I’m not asking for 12-10 games, but an average of 4-3 would be nice. Especially if 5 of the 7 goals were even strength.
5-on-5 hockey is getting incredibly boring now. It’s like watching basketball.
Teams give up their offensive zone so easily and then just collapse around their ginormous goalie.
The game has good flow through the neutral zone, but we need more open space in the offensive zones too.

I’d love to see a few regular season games on Olympic sized rinks and nets that are 4” wider and taller. It’d be interesting to see if the game plays any differently.

Posted by Hank1974 on 10/20/11 at 04:05 PM ET

Primis's avatar


I think goalies are far worse than they used to be.  They rely far too much on their equipment, as a rule, for one.

As anyone who plays fantasy hockey with Goalie categories can tell you though… goalies are NOT better than they used to be.  I’ve been playing since 2001 and what passes as “good” stats for a game/week/roto for goalies today could not have done so back then.  Obviously the obsctruction played a part in that as well but…

Fact is, goalies platoon a lot more than they used to now again (the days of 70-start goalies like Miller, Kipper, etc, seem to once again be gone), and to be honest I see a lot more “soft” goals.  Tossing aside situations like Columbus’ where they just don’t teach or develop goalies at all, I think the equipment reliance plus newer goalie development models and ideas have really messed a generation of NHL goalies up.

The 30-Win goalie today is the equivalent of yesterday’s 40-Win goalie.  You can give up 3 goals in a game and still win even.

Posted by Primis on 10/21/11 at 11:40 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Primus, I agree with a lot of what you wrote.
I guarantee if you put a prime Miller or Lundqvist against a prime Roy or Fuhr and all of them had to use 1985 equipment, Roy and Fuhr would be better.

But that’s the issue. Goalies today rely way too heavily on their gear to make saves for them. Goalies today are so freakin’ boring.
It’s like watching table-hockey goalies. They move side-to-side, and then try to make every save with their enormous chest protectors.

When I request the NHL increase the size of nets, most people think I hate goalies. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I love goalies. Or I loved goalies.
I loved watching guys like Felix Potvin flash that mitt, or seeing Greg Stefan flail about making one acrobatic save after another.

I know some will give the old cliche “They had to flail because they were out of position”.
I don’t care how you paint it, today’s netminders are made boring because of gear and defensive systems.
If you increase the size of the nets and rink, perhaps offenses will have the ability to pull goalies out of position, forcing more dramatic saves. What’s wrong with that?
I know I’m getting older because I no longer view hockey as a war, or life. I see it as entertainment. And to me, watching goalies forced to make several diving saves, or dramatic glove saves, is a lot more entertaining than watching James Reimer slide from one post to the next, while never having to move his blocker or glove.

Posted by Hank1974 on 10/21/11 at 11:47 AM ET


I’m with you Hank.  They will never reduce the size of the equipment.  Make the net bigger.  Take a picture of a goalie from 30 years ago and see how Then compare that to today.  Then increase the net size to the point where the visible net is the same number of square inches that it was 30 years ago.

It’s mostly the new bigger lighter equipment and the bigger size of goalies today.  It’s very rare to see a goal scored off the wing anymore.  Goals are all scored from a 10 foot area for the most part now.

Posted by 13 user names on 10/21/11 at 09:29 PM ET


I like how all of you guys think you know what’s best, when you clearly don’t. It’s just becuase the goalies of today are BETTER than the goalies of the past. I DO agree that Patrick Roy was pretty good, but it’s just like comparing Wayne Gretzky to the players of today. If Wayne Gretzky went out and played in the NHL, and played like he used to, he’d get crushed. It’s not because he’s bad, it’s because the players have gotten bigger and better. It’s all about a generation of improving the game.

Posted by Austin on 10/31/11 at 07:59 PM ET

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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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