Blackhawks News

Size does matter: NHL reduces size of Goalie shin pads

By Sean Fitzgerald

Jun 24, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) during the third period in game six of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL has been toying with idea of reducing the size of goalie pads since 2003. The NHL released the statement that they are reducing the size of the shin pads.  Last season the shin pads could be 55% of the goalie leg. The NHL and NHLPA agreed to reduce the size of shin pads to 45% of the goalies leg.

By reducing the size of the goalie pads, the NHL is hoping to produce more goals. This specific pad reduction is likely to produce more 5-hole goals on goalies.  The NHL in recent years has been trying to promote more scoring because like in all sports more scoring equals more excitement to the average fan.

This rule change is going negatively affect the larger type goal tenders in the NHL. In the Central Division Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks and Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators will be more negatively affected because of their stature. Crawford was invited to the Reebok-CCM goalie summit outside of Montreal. Crawford in an interview with said “They feel a little but shorter, yeah but it’s not too much a big change”. Crawford along with other goalies invited hope the NHL grants them a good knee pad length. The goalies biggest concern is not the 5-hole goals but injury. Hopefully the NHL rule change does not lead to goalies injuries which would be tragic.

This Blackhawks fan biggest concern is hurting the game of hockey itself. I understand the NHL wants to promote more scoring to bring in more fans. They have taken steps over recent years to eliminate the “boring” ending of the 0-0 tie. The NHL also could be compensating for the overall size of goalies.  Goalies such a Crawford and Rinne take up most of the net without their pads.

I just hope the pad reduction does not lead to many “soft goals” by goal tenders reducing the integrity of the game. I don’t want the Stanley Cup playoff games to be reduced to gloried NHL All-stars games with ridiculous amounts of scoring.  I don’t want a goalie to stand on his head for the majority of a game and still lose a game 1-0 because of a soft goal through the 5-0 hole.

This could be overreaction to the reduction from 55% to 45%, scoring could only go up a marginally amount next season. I just don’t want the goalie to lose his ability to dominate a game. Crawford preserved the score of being down 1-0 to the Bruins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals with an amazing effort.

Does the new pad reduction allow the Boston Bruins to go up 3-0 instead of 1-0 thus changing the entire outcome of the game?  If we have learned anything, size does matter in the NHL. This time it is the size of the goalies shin pads.