Gary Bettman has decreed that goalie equipment is (still) too big. Bettman has become a whipping boy for fans in every city (have you ever seen him cheered when he comes out to present the Stanley Cup?) and even though I strongly disagree with his insistence that home teams wear road jerseys I do agree with him on goalie equipment. I suppose I should automatically disagree because I’m a goalie but he’s right.
Take a look at Henrik Lunqvist’s pads… they’re so big they’re protecting each other! I’m 6′ tall and wear 34″ pads so how does a 6’1″ keeper need 38″ pads? Yes, players today shoot exponentially harder than they did just 20 years ago when everyone was using a wooden shaft. The increased velocity of shots today is similar to the increased velocity of tennis serves when comparing wooden racquets to today’s composite ones. So today’s NHL goalies need better protection than ever before. But “better” is not the same as “more”.
ESPN’s John Buccigross has campaigned for larger nets in order to increase scoring. There’s not a goalie in the world who will support that idea… from the looks of this protype I forsee a lot of shots at my head! Not to mention where I’ll put my water bottle. So the onus will be on the Goalie’s Union to support smaller equipment as its contribution to increased scoring. There’s no reason for equipment to make a save, it should just protect the body part that is making the save.