23 Intently Staring Goalies
by lsefton on 04/01/13 at 10:05 AM ET
Goalies are natural-born structural engineers. Given a challenge, they'll figure out a way to make equipment do things that not only were never intended, but until that point, no one else had thought of those intentions. I have seen leg pad that could be patted back into legal size, side padding that flared out on sudden movement, and interior kneepadding that rotated out to cover a five-hole when the goalie went down into a butterfly. It's come a long way since the 1970's when the "modification d'jour" was making culottes out of your goalie pants.
I expect two things will fall out of the decision to cut back on the size of goalie leg and knees pads:
- We'll see more goalies out with various knee and hip issues. The same GMs who are complaining the loudest will be the ones who have to make the trade they didn't want to make, just to get a healthy goalie.
- The next Summer, there will be new materials introduced into goalie equipment, with the inner knee padding the first to appear. It will be something borrowed from the ballistics people, and it will be fairly light, reasonably flexible, and can be replaced separately of the leg pads.
The finest goalie engineering minds are probably already at work on a solution.
From Stephen Whyno at the Washington Times :
NHL goaltenders have come a long way since Garth Snow looked like the Michelin Man, sporting gargantuan pads that blocked out the net. But they’ve also come a long way since the 1970s and ‘80s, when goalies had thin pads and shooters had everything to aim at.
But in the everlasting quest to create more offense, the league’s general managers recently approved trimming goaltending equipment, mostly having to do with the size of knee and leg pads.
“We can reduce the size of some of the equipment, and we can enforce the way it’s worn,” Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee said. “The way it’s worn has created this style of play that I’m not sure is healthy for the game and it’s allowing goalies who aren’t that good to be almost as good as top goalies in the league.”
In the grand scheme of things, cutting the size of the “landing pads” between a goalie’s legs and trimming the length of pads above the knee might not make a huge difference. But one analyst figures that the effect on offense isn’t worth the safety concern for goaltenders.
“To me, they’re fishing for answers that they’re not going to find by making these changes,” said Justin Goldman of The Goalie Guild. “I don’t think that change is going to make that big of an impact in terms of scoring going up.”
GMs approved shortening the length of leg pads from 55 percent and making knee pads less bulky, which Goldman said could lead to more knee and hip injuries.
“The size of the pads from the knee up don’t have to be as big as they are,” McPhee said. “It just takes away the whole five-hole when they go down when they wear oversized pads. They don’t need that much length there.”
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About 23 Intently Staring Goalies
23 Intently Staring Goalies comes from the 23 close-up photos of goalies that used to line the walls of my office.
On the good side, it kept down interruptions, but it also made sure I had to leave my trash outside my door if I wanted it picked up.
I've been watching and analyzing goaltenders for going on 40 years. Some of that was spent drawing goalies on my grade 8 math homework. Then it was taking my card decks and printouts to Indianapolis Racer games. Luckily, the Internet took off, and by 1991 I was half of the duo that would ultimately become the Plaidworks hockey mailing lists. I wrote "Handicapping the Goalies' for the San Jose Sharks mailing list, and took a lot of photos of goalies in action. I have around 5000 slides of mostly goaltenders in action from 1989 through 2001 from the WHL, IHL and NHL. Since I've gone digital, I've added about 10,000 more images to the library. During summers and when the league went dark, I was reading through multiple SF By area news papers, tracking ice hockey from the 1917 recreational leagues up through the California Seals.
We'll be talking about goalies and goaltending. We'll talk about whats going on now, who's in the system, and when the doldrums hit, I'll haul something out of the big bag of history, or something from the photo archives. We'll talk about who's hot and why, and who's not and what they can do to get back on track. We'll take a look at the trends in scouting goalies, and why a style may work for one team but not another. I'll battle with my dictation software to get it to understand Bryzgalov and Bobrovsky.
It should be interesting--hope you want to come along for the ride!