By Allan Muir
We’ve been waiting to see what the latest round of changes would do to the equipment worn by NHL goaltenders. Finally, thanks to Ottawa Senators netminder Craig Anderson and the magic of Twitter, we can.
Anderson posted one of his new leg pads (left) next to one of last year’s models (right) and the difference is fairly striking. Just eyeballing it here, but the new version looks like it’s about two inches shorter and maybe an inch or two narrower.
2012 vs 2013 – just some slight changes (per league rules). pic.twitter.com/VH1ahmegdW
— Craig Anderson (@CraigAnderson41) August 22, 2013
That, according to ingoalmag.com, was pretty much what was expected.
According to the piece by Kevin Woodley, the changes came about as a result of an NHLPA vote to lower the maximum allowance for the knee-to-hip measurement from 55 percent to 45 percent. That 10 percent reduction meant most pads would shrink about two inches.
And since the tops of those pads are what cover the five-hole when goalies drop to the ice, reducing them by two inches each creates an additional four-inch opening in the butterfly position.
What motivated the change? Well, as goalies have become more technically proficient — and grown to the size of NBA power forwards — scoring has diminished. And while many fans think that increasing the number of chances, rather than the number of goals, would be a more entertaining solution, this was a change that couldn’t be dodged in the face of increasing frustration. The problem is that goalies are likely to adapt in very short order, and then we’re pretty much back where we started. We’re getting to the point where protective equipment can’t be diminished further without compromising the safety of the player wearing it.
According to another piece on the site, a meeting to discuss further restrictions is expected in the next few days. It’ll be interesting to see what comes of that, and how other netminders will react as they get their 2013-14 pads in from the manufacturer.