Recently, Puck Daddy mentioned that a new set of regulations for goaltending pad height that has pad height maximum now tied to body size, rather than simply allowing pads up to 38" to be worn, will be instituted in the NHL. As a stupid goalie myself (remember, the first step in any rehab plan is admitting you have a problem), this has been a long time coming and I was really hoping they make some actual changes, rather than just a few minor adjustments that can be easily overcome by talentless hacks.
NHL's decision details.
So, while not officially announced, a memo detailing the changes from Kay Whitmore, the NHL's czar of goaltending equipment, was leaked here. The exact formula has not been released, but it sounds like it won't affect as many goalies as I'd like. This is by no mean fact, but here's the rundown:
25 of 68 goalies on the list are above 38" regulation of 2009/2010.
17 of 68 goalies are 37"-38".
18 of 68 goalies are 36"-37".
8 of 68 goalies are 34"-36".
This doesn't look it will change it as drastically as I believe it needs to. Hell, looks like it could make it worse. Leave it to the NHL to figure out a way to make a formula designed to shrink pads that allows more than a third of its current goalies to wear larger pads than the previous rules allowed.
Seriously, Osgood might be one of the only goalies affected...
Why serious change is needed:
"I'm a cheater." - Henrik Lundqvist
This is Henrik Lundqvist from last season. Any questions?
But seriously, the big issue today is thigh rises. Pants need to be cut down and so do chest and arm protectors as well, but thigh rises today are massive and are taking alot of the talent out of the position.
Why do large thigh rises mean so much?
Because today's goaltenders rely on the butterfly, or a variant of it, as the go to move in almost any situation. With today's goaltenders' excellent movement when down, they can make themselves into a wall for the entire play, covering the whole net without actually having to move to the puck.
Still, this wouldn't be possible without the large equipment of today. Even for tall goalies, the part of the leg below the knee isn't more than two feet long. For me, a 5'11" goaltender, it is probably around . In a wide butterfly (what is known in the goaltending world as the profly), where the knees are 90 degrees out from the body making a wall to the shooter, that would only take up four feet of the six foot net, assuming of course that the goalie is on the goal line. To be able to cover the corners, the goalie can either do one of two things. Challenge to shooter to reduce the angle or spread the legs apart, opening the five-hole. Here's a pic of Belfour doing a bit of both to cover the corners in the butterfly.
Either way, this creates a situation where the goalie is leaving himself vulnerable in some way. But throw a 5 inch thigh rise to cover that five hole and suddenly you can have the low coverage of challenging without having to worry about the five hole.
Not a full butterfly, but you get what I'm saying. He's on the goal line with full coverage down low. Suddenly, he can be down, near the goal line and now doesn't have to worry about anything but shots up high. He didn't work to get any better, he simply just has larger pads.
This has created a position where going down in a butterfly is the right move for almost ANY situation. Worst of all, it makes it so average goalies can look great, simply because of a change in equipment. Simply put, it creates boring, talentless goaltending. Watch any Bantam today and you will see them wearing pads that are at least 4-5 inches larger than NHLer's did in the early 90's.
Until recently, goaltenders had a natural barrier from wearing pads like this. It used to be that a larger pad meant an extremely heavy pad. Today, if you usually wear a 33" pad, there is no reason not to add an extra 4 inches to cover the five-hole, as it only adds a few ounces to the weight.
Generally, goaltenders are complainers. They complain when they get touched after the whistle, complain about having to see around Homer's ass, and always complain about equipment changes. Check out this thread of whine over at a goalie bulletin board for a sample.
The "All Goaltenders Should be Able to Use the Same Size Equipment" Argument.
The main argument against proportional equipment is that it will eliminate smaller goalies from the NHL. A example is good old Manny Legace (well, before he pretty much cried himself out of the league) being 5'8", yet using the max pad size allowed by the NHL.
So why shouldn't he be able to use pads that someone like Rinne (6'5") can? Simply put, that is part of life! It certainly is an advantage in some ways to be a tall goaltender. One of those is that you have more natural blocking surface. Why should shorter goaltenders be allowed to wear equipment on steroids in order to keep up with those who are taller? If I was 7 ft tall, I would be in the NBA. Just because I'm not, they aren't going to let me wear stilts to make it even. That's part of athletics. Ask Muggsy Bogues how he feels about it.
Any while it certainly is an advantage to be tall as a goaltender, there are a few disadvantages as well. For example, when standing, they have a lot more distance to travel to the butterfly, than say, a Jeff Lerg. A shorter goalie will have to be quicker (or better positioned, etc..) than a taller goalie. Sports are a combination of acquired and natural skills. Allowing smaller goalies to wear larger equipment to make up for being short showcases no skill whatsoever.
But shooters can shoot harder now, goalies need this for safety reasons...
Anyone that argues that they wear 5" rises for safety reasons is a liar and a whore. I played with 33'' pads at 5'11" throughout college to today with no issues. A normal fitting pad should protect your knee fairly well. Even so, they make additional knee pads that form fit to the knee that should provide any extra protection needed. As shown by that overweight hack Niemi above, the thigh rise is there for one reason only: to cover the five hole. Any argument otherwise is a lie.
What Should Happen...
I certainly hope that the report above is incorrect and we will see substantial change next season. At the very least, I pray that rises like Lundqvist and Niemi use will be eliminated. I understand that the butterfly style is going to stay, and unlike some, don't believe we will see the return of a true stand-up goaltender even if equipment is strictly regulated.
However, some skill needs to be put back into the position. Anyone can add a +3 rise to a pad. That's not exciting, nor does it reward talent or hard work.
That's pretty much a term paper right there. I'm planning a follow up in a couple days that will detail which goalies would be most affected by a change. You can probably guess a few from this post. So until then, try and figure out if Halak is wearing pants in this photo.
Holly fuck you guys are all idiots its the evolution of the game sorry us goalies work our asses off to get into better shape, position and get good enough to stop a puck. Why dont you go put on there gear, see how hard it is to stop a 90mph shot, they would score everytime we just have out worked and evolutionized our game to be better then you idiots
I have to say that I never really looked before, but those thigh risers on Halak in that pic are completely ridiculous.