NHL ready to police goalie equipment


Canadian Press


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CP) – The NHL and its 30 general managers emerged from a three and half hour meeting Friday agreeing that something must be done to control the increasing size of goalie equipment in an effort to open up the game.They then got a rousing endorsement from the game’s greatest player.

“Until they change the goaltending equipment we will still have 2-1 games in the NHL,” Wayne Gretzky told a group of reporters Friday. “They really have to look at goalies’ equipment. The good goalies will still make the saves with smaller equipment.”

Gretzky, who had just arrived in Nashville for Saturday’s entry draft, wasn’t present at the GMs’ meeting earlier in the day.

But the managing partner of the Phoenix Coyotes hoped the league would indeed follow through with its ideas of cracking down on goalie equipment, a measure Gretzky said that would have a much more dramatic effect on raising goal-scoring than the crackdown on obstruction.

“I think it’s almost impossible to score now,” said Gretzky. “I’m not taking anything away from the goalies, they’re great athletes. But I just don’t think they need all that equipment, I don’t think they need to be that big.

“And I think (making goalie equipment smaller) would open up the game more than anything.”

The NHL put a system in place five years ago that measured goalies’ equipment mostly at training camp. But the system has been easy to cheat, with goalies simply changing their pads and chest protectors when the NHL’s goalie police came through town. Even those who have been caught have never been fined for it in the entire five years.

Colin Campbell, the NHL’s executive vice-president and director of hockey operations, listened to the GMs’ concerns on Friday and sounded like a man ready to take action.

“We feel it is a real problem – the size of goaltenders,” Campbell said. “The question is, what kind of teeth are we going to put into this? We have the ability to fine and suspend teams and goaltenders and we haven’t.

“But probably at the end of the day that’s what we’re going to have to do.”

Whether the NHL will actually follow through with those tough words remains to be seen. Can you imagine J.S. Giguere getting suspended in the middle of playoff series for having too big a chest protector?

While Anaheim’s Giguere and Garth Snow of the New York Islanders are the most-often mentioned culprits, there’s more than a few goalies who have beefed up their equipment over the years.

“It’s all of them, it’s not just one guy,” Gretzky said.

The recently retired Patrick Roy is a great example.

“You look at when Montreal beat Calgary to win the Stanley Cup in 1986 and the pads that Patrick was wearing that year,” Gretzky said. “Those pads got bigger and bigger over the years.”

New Jersey’s seven-game win over Anaheim in the Cup final earlier this month was met with some of the lowest TV ratings in over a decade as two defensive teams battled for the championship.

But Gretzky said it’s as simple as blaming the goalie’s equipment.

“I think the New Jersey-Anaheim series was pretty good skating but you just can’t score (on the goalies),” Gretzky said.

Campbell said the league has a written agreement with the NHL Player’s Association that allows it to get tough on goalies and that includes suspensions.

“We have to go to the NHLPA and the goaltenders and tell them where we’re going to go with this. It’s not going to be easy,” Campbell said. “But if we’re going to be serious, when we find goalies taking this equipment to areas where they shouldn’t, then we’re going to have to do what we have to do as far as fining the teams and the goaltenders.”

One of the areas the league may look at is increasing the number of visits by the NHL’s goalie police.

The league measures the equipment in training camp and once in mid-season and Campbell said there were also measurements taken during the playoffs.

But in between measurements, it remains an easy trick for goalies to change their equipment.

“We have to be more strict in following that because when they change equipment we have to find out what equipment they’ve changed from when they were originally measured,” said Campbell. “This is not an easy process when you have 30 teams across North America.

“We’ve been exercising some sensitivity there and I think that’s our problem. We all know that goaltenders, you don’t want to mess with them, they have their superstitions. When (former NHL V-P) Brian Burke was measuring the pads they hauled them (the goalies) right off the ice at the end of the game.

“We may have to go back to that because presently it’s not working.”

19 Responses to NHL ready to police goalie equipment

  1. tharock098 says:

    I think that Giguere went that far partly because of his huge padding. I think that it should be regulated too, back to having it so that goalies have to be really skilled in order to make a save.

  2. defenestrate says:

    “A rousing endorsement from the game’s greatest player?” I didn’t see Gordie Howe’s name on there anywhere…

    Anyhow – the goalies will just counter by going the WWE route, using the ‘roids, and becoming larger themselves, until the padding issue becomes moot and superfluous.

    Or – they will bring sumo wrestlers into the NHL.

    Or – they will just get Steve-O from “Jackass” in the net, stopping pucks with his head and genitals.

    Now THAT’s entertainment!

  3. Rushing says:

    The prob with the sumo’s if ya have ever noticed……..they aren’t to maneuverable. In other words….sloooooooooooow. LOL

    At the same time, I haven’t seen too many body builders that can do splits and move with agility that many of today’s goalies can.

  4. beefer says:

    I think if your gonna pick a Jackass to play net, you should go with Preston….possibly Bam in his Fat F*ck getup!

  5. FlyHigh says:

    sort of sounds like last summer “nhl ready to crack down on obstruction.”

  6. aaron says:

    Which was working and going fine until every fan, announcer, player, and coach in the league told them to stop.

  7. BoOoSh33 says:

    Please tell me you were being sarcastic. if not then that has got to be one of the single dumbest things i have ever heard. Giguere got that far because oif his “huge” equipment. first off, if you watched the playoffs, which you apprantly didnt, giguere made a huge percentage of his saves the same way. great postioning so that the shot hit him right on the logo of his jersey. hate to break it to you but no amount of cutting down on equipment size is going to stop that. secondly teams did argue his chest gear was too big, it was measured and was found legal once again. got a problem with his leg pads? fyi, not that big either. and how exactly do you put a limit on the height of goalie pads? guys are built different, what fits irbe doesnt work for kolzig and vice versa.

    in addition let me say that the “problem” with these low scoring games does not stem from the size of the goalies equipment. go head, blame us goalies for trying to protect ourselves when getting in front of 90mph slapshots. but no matter what kind of dumb restrictions you put on equipment, its not the problem. take the guy that won the vezina this year. Marty brodeur is not the smallest goalie in the nhl, but has some of the shortest leg pads and most low profile chest gear in the league. you know why he won the jennings trophy, aside from skill? because his team employs the trap better then anyone else in the league. thanks to bettmans dumb ass idea of having so many teams the overall talent level of the NHL has suffered. couple that with the fact that many teams catn afford to play the big name players and you have a bunch of less skilled teams trying to survive. so what do they do? they use the trap to shut down their opponents most skilled players, thus cutting down on scoring and making the game more boring for everyone watching.

    might i also point out that while you are sooo quick to jump on the goalies backs for protecting themselves, no one bats an eyelash when the players bring in their new comp sticks that are proven only to increase the velocity of their shot. niiiiice. so now not only can the goalies not protect themselves, but the players can continue increasing their shots and driving the number of injuries to goaltenders up. now theres a brilliant idea. not.

    you want more scoring? take out the red line, elminate the trap, play tag up offsides, and cut down the number of teams in the nhl. this will increase the overall talent level making every player fight that much harder for a spot on the team.

    honestly though, what the heck do people think this is, the NBA? apparently bettman is still stuck in that frame of mind.

    one last peice of food for thougt, many are saying goalies are so good nowadays and stopping so much because of equipment. in the 70s long before the equipment you see today Bernie Parents GAA was 1.76… go figure.

    stopping what hits me


  8. sluggo says:

    “got a problem with his leg pads? fyi, not that big either”

    The problem with leg pads is the length, which isn’t regulated at all. Goalies like Giggy who wear very long leg pads don’t leave any 5-hole whenthey go down into the butterfly. That along with the stick Giggy had on his back to keep his shoulders pads up gave him a big advantage. I don’t think Giggys preformence was ALL his equipment, but I would be interested to see if he was as good with smaller gear.

    That protection stuff is a bunch of BS. Goalies do need more protection, but its getting rediculious. With the high technology today the equipment companys (and even they have said this) could make smaller gear that would protect the goaleis just as well as the larger gear they are wearing now. Goalies are just getting lazy and want big gear to do half their job for them.

    Making the gear smaller or the nets large would increase scoring, but it wouldn’t really speed the game up.

  9. aaron says:

    Dude, I’m a Wings fan, and I think Gordie Howe’s overrated. He only hit 100 points once, and goalies weren’t any better then than they were in the 80’s (ok, maybe a little better). He had longevity, but I dunno if he’s even in my top 5.

  10. BoOoSh33 says:

    and i ask again how many high shoulder saves did giggy make? no matter how you slice it you arent going to beat a goalie with great positioing and reflexes like that.

    the legs pads are arguable, i’ll give you that, but you arent going to see 5 hole goals like you use to. the butterfly style takes care of them very well. no one seemed to complain about roys pads, reason being there was very little wrong with him, the percentage of 5 hole goals just isnt going to be be high as long as goalies continue butterflying. you’re going to have to beat them otherways, ie high glove/blocker.

    i hardly think goalies are getting lazy. on the contrary, the goalies have adapted and are on the whole stopping more shots. its the players turn to adapt.

    gear really depends on the goalie. most are not wearing huge stuff that can be downsized much without sacraficing protection. i’ll admit, i was angry in my first post and didnt admit that yes some goalies are pushing the limits some, but many are blowing it out of preportions.

    the other thing that i find perposterous is the idea of making the nets bigger. sure it would increase scoring, but it would also comepletly cahnge the game. you’d see rediculous amounts of scoring, and greatly decrease the effect goalies would have on the game. in all its years of existence i dont think the nets were ever made larger. there is good reason for this.

    all of my arguements aside i’d almost like to see them put a bunch of unesscary rules on equipment size. then when scoring doesnt skyrocket it would prove what an idiot bettman is.

    stoppin what hits me


  11. defenestrate says:

    A “Gordie Howe hat trick” – a goal, a fight, and an assist. How many of those did “The Soft One” ever have?

  12. sluggo says:

    His shoulder pads being up that high cut off abotu 3-5 inchs of the net. Thats less space to shot at. Some shots went off his pads that would ahve normally gone in, but when a foward sees a lot less of the top shelf they aren’t going to shot there as much. That device he used to keep his pads up will be made illegal before the start of next season.

    If a goal has shorter leg pads whenthey do down it leaves the 5-hole open, if the goalie wants to cover it they need to use their stick, which leaves the side of the net more open. Making them shorter would give players more net to shot at.

    And yes, goalies are getting lazier, which is why they keep getting bigger and bigger equipment and coming up with new gear like that stick Giggy had in his back. Giggy would getinto a position and sit there, he didn’t have to move to make a save like goalies used to have to do.

    Whenever I hear old NHL reporters talking about this they say that 15 years ago you could always tell who the goalie was because they had bruises on their bodys, today they don’t. The pads are too big and the companies can make smaller gear that would protect just as well, but the goalies don’t want to use ti because it doesn’t cover as much of the net.

    Watch a game from the 70’s or 80’s. The games were much, much more exciting becuase of more goal scoring. Seeing two teams skate around and score 1 or 3 goals between them isn’t that exciting. If the goalies dont’ want to give up their huge pads the nets should be made bigger to give the players more to shot at. All that would change is that there would be 2-3 more goals scored a game. The nets havn’t been made large before because goalies equipment was never as big as it is today.

  13. aaron says:

    Point taken. But “greatest player” and “toughest great player” are two different catagories. By your definition, Ted Lindsey and Bob Clarke are probably #2 and #3 all time in the NHL.

    Winning fights doesn’t win games. Its just good entertainment and intimidates the opposition.

  14. TML51 says:

    I really didn’t think that the size of the padding used was that big of an issue, until I saw an old game being replayed on Leafs TV that was in the late 70’s. (Mike Palmateer…I still have his autograph….god I’m getting OLD!)

    Those guys had NOTHING compared to the ‘tenders of today.

    In all fairness, the goalies of the 70’s didn’t have to contend with these new composite sticks, which hurl the puck at an ungodly speed compared to shooters of the 70’s.

    Should be interesting to see how the NHL handles this…seeing as they did such a great job with obstruction!

  15. BoOoSh33 says:

    weather or not those games from the 70s and 80s were more exciting or not is a matter of opinion. lots of goals doesnt = lots of excitement. the game where philly blew out toronto 7-2 or whatever got old fast. thats not what hockey is about. i will say i too hate games that end up zero zero…. when there are very few scoring chances. but when the games are low scoring because the goalies are great… many will find them 10x more exciting then crazy blowouts. hockey has never been a real high scoring game, thats not the way its meant to be. people want scoring then watch the nba, they score hundreds of times in a game.

    if what you say is true about giggy havin some device that props up his chest gear is true, then yea i will agree that is unecessary. but i highly doubt that is going to effect his game much. the leg pad thing i think can be a double edge sword. being a goalie myself i’ll tell you right away its a heck of a lot safer to have pads that are a little taller with thighboards or whatever, as it cuts down on the nasty shots to the knees. the pads arent full proof in the b-fly, though they are good. if you want to score five hole get the goalie moving. i dont care how tall their pads are they arent going to be able to move and keep the 5 hole closed. it just wont happen. let me also say that 9 times out of ten what happens with a b-fly goalie is is that they butterfly, stop the shot and smother the rebound. most goalies in the NHL arent going to let in a goal on the first shot unless it is deflected or they are screened. if the forwards want more goals they should learn where to shoot it so that even a butterfly goalie is forced to give up a rebound. let me give them a hint, middle of the net isnt going to cut it.

    right, bruises are a great way to measure the effectiveness of a goalie… i dont kno, thats just a dumb statement to me.

    the nets werent made large because people knew it would screw up the game. it will. there is no gettin around it. i stated in my first post how to increase scoring. enlarging the nets is the last thing in the world that should happen.

    stoppin what hits me


  16. sluggo says:

    I think you mean WHETHER, not weather. And try watching them, they are a lot more exciting. Goal scoring is more exciting then just skating around. I’m not saying a low scoring game can’t be exciting, just very few are, but if both team are scoring the game is always exciting. Just look at game 1 and game 6 of the finals this year.

    “hockey has never been a real high scoring game, thats not the way its meant to be” – You must be a new hockey fan. Hockey used to be more widely watched BECAUSE it was a high scoring exciting game. Its rating are dropping like a stone right because its become soccer on ice.

    Dude, its a FACT. Longer goal pads close off the 5-Hole. Make them shorter and the 5-hole gets bigger and it forces the goalie to use their stick to close it again. Thats why they wear huge pads.

    How would making the nets bigger screw the game up? If the goalies won’t accept smaller gear it would just give the skaters more net to shot at.

  17. BoOoSh33 says:

    first off, thanks for the grammar lesson.

    secondly, i disagree again. thinking that high scoring games are more exciting is a matter of opinion. some love em some hate em. i still believe that a face paced low scoring game with lots of chances is better then a high scoring game any day of the week.

    yea pads close off the 5 hole. thats nice. im sorry that bothers you. why dont we just make a rule that says goalies cant go down in the first place, then the 5 hole will be big no matter how big the pads are. i reiterate once again the goalies have adapted to the way the game is played. their job is to stop pucks. i can understand taking away chestgear that, when the goalie is in his stance, takes up more net then a regular chest and arm guard. but cutting down on thigh rises is getting kind of dumb.

    how would making the nets bigger screw the game up? well for starters you can scratch all the past records, and their wont be any more legitimate record breaking since the new records would be set using a net with different demensions. some guy who ordinarily woudlnt come close to a guy such as gretskys records could shatter them… but was he really better then the great one? no, he had a signifgant advantage. secondly, last time i checked the goalies are suppose to play a large part in a hockey game. you enlarge the nets and that will be thrown as well. its getting rediculous the way people are always asking for more scoring. ok fine, you want more scoring go watch a high level beer league game.

    as a matter of fact, whay dont you go stand in goal at a highj level beer league game, with 70’s size equipment on while a bunch of retired pro and college guys take slapshots at you with comp sticks. then maybe you’l realize how inherently stupid the demand for more goals and smaller equipment is.

    this is my last post on this topic as im tired of repeating my self and trying to reason with people who have never steped between the pipes in their life (though for goalies thats probably for the better.) but let me say it one more time, you want exciting hockey get rid of the trap, remove the red line, take care of obstruction and change to tag up off sides. you want to ruin the game, and turn it into a basketball match then by all means cut down on goalie equipment and make the nets bigger. as a matter of fact, why not let the goalies only wear baseball cathers equipment for leg gaurds, and make the nets the size of soccer goals. then you can “tell who the great goalies are by how many bruises they have,” you be able to see a crapload of scoring, which is apprarently all that matters, and all will be good in the world again.

    stoppin what hits me


  18. devfanman4 says:

    how come every article turns into how horrible the nhl is and what they have to do to make the game better?

  19. defenestrate says:

    I’m not even sure I would put Howe at #1. I just like rattling cages. But, I would put Maurice Richard and Bobby Orr in at least the top 5.

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