You may have heard the NHL is taking the easy route in trying achieve more scoring by going after the goalies again. Committee is being formed to consider even smaller goalie gear (pad length is mentioned).
Why doesn’t the NHL understand the difference between the high-scoring ’80’s and now is related to four factors – none of which is goalie equipment size? These factors are-
1. Improved defensive systems. Until the Devils won the Cup in 1995, no team implemented a smoothering defensive style. Now, defensive systems, including the trap and all it’s variants, are perfected.
2. Improved goaltending gear. No, nothing to do with size, but improved levels of protection and moisture management. Before Vaughn introduced their Velocity, pads were constructed completely different. Deer hair and real leather were used causing pads to get heavier late in games while offering mediocre protection. With the Velocitys, nothing in the pad retained water and the pre-formed foams allowed for better rebound control and protection. Soon, the chest/arms pads received the foams. Soon, goalies had no fear dropping down to their knees to make saves which meant all of their body took up space in the net as opposed to a stand-up goalie who’s upper chest and head take up no room within the net.
3. Goalie Coaches – throughout the history of the game, goalies were on their own for development. Beginning in the ’90’s NHL teams began adding goalie-specific coaches to their staffs. Now goalies could work with a coach familiar and dedicated to their position.
4. The “Patrick Roy” Factor. St. Patrick (I use the term “Saint” loosely) is credited with perfecting and popularized the butterfly tactic but possibly his most important contribution to the game was making the goaltending position popular with young athletes. Before Roy, young hockey players usually became goalies because they were a poor skaters. After Roy took the league by storm in the late ’80’s, all young kids, particularly in Quebec, wanted to be like Patrick. It was only natural some new goalies would be exceptional athletes. The correlation of Roy and emergence of great goalies from Quebec cannot be denied.
But, apparently none of these reasons matter. For those who do not understand goalies nor the history of the position, reducing goalie gear sounds like a plausable solution but it will not generate more goals-per-game for the NHL. I’m not a betting man but I would take that one any day.
But, I guess considering the gear size is better than their next illogical solution, bigger nets….