Last week, former NHL goalie and current Sportsnet analyst Corey Hirsch did a segment on goalie equipment worn today, and outlined ways he thinks it should change in order to increase the number of goals scored in a game. The argument is that goalies wear more equipment than they need to, in order to increase the amount of area they take up in the net. While it may be true that goaltenders in the past have looked for ways to get the extra advantage when it comes to their gear (look at some old pictures of Garth Snow), every piece of goal equipment now is held to a league-wide standard.
Following the last lockout, goalies made concessions on the size of their gear. The pads and gloves were made smaller, as well as a few other changes to how the pads could be worn etc. As a result, goalies took up less room in the net, as the league wanted, and you would think this would have led to an increase in scoring. Except it didn’t. Goalies were now lighter and faster than they had been in years, and scoring continued to decrease. That’s what has sparked the recent debates about making the net bigger.
I don’t believe the NHL is going to change the size of the net. It is too fundamental a part of the game. However I do believe more changes are coming, inevitably, to the size of the goalie gear. If you watch the segment by Hirsch, some of the changes he outlines would leave goalies exposed in areas that I believe are a safety concern, such as the shoulders with the removal of the shoulder flap, and the knee with his proposed shortening (even more) the height of the thigh rise. There are some points that are worth exploring though. I think the size of the goal pants is something that can be addressed without risking injury to the goalie. I also think the size of the shoulder floaters has gotten a bit ridiculous. Speaking from personal experience, a lot of the most recent incarnations of chest and arm gear that I have tried on have had the “shoulder” protection go all the way down to the stomach. It felt next to impossible to move around in. With the advancement of the materials available today, I think we can remove some of the bulk with the chest and arm and still be adequately protected.
Watch the video for yourself, and let me know in the comments what you think. What do you agree with? What would you do differently?