Goalies make mandatory switch to new pants, and some aren’t happy about it
Today is the day NHL goalies must switch over to the new streamlined pants. As you can imagine, some in the fraternity are not happy about the move.
A number of goalies have spoken on the subject. Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith has let his objections be known, as has Chicago’s back-up Scott Darling.
The obvious objections include the timing of the implementation of this new equipment, to safety concerns of wearing thinner pads. Streamlining the goalie equipment is a decision designed to help increase scoring around the league.
“We’re pretty much being punished for getting better at our position,” said Darling, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “While the forwards get better and stronger equipment and better sticks, they’re taking away protection from goalies. There’s nothing we can do about it. You’ve just got to deal with it and adjust and get used to it and then try and stay safe.”
Smith said taller goalies are probably affected more by the change. "It makes no sense to wear pants that you feel vulnerable wearing."— Sarah McLellan (@sarah__mclellan) February 4, 2017
By contrast, Sergei Bobrovsky of Columbus recently said he feels “comfortable” with the new pads, so there are varying opinions on the subject.
The mandatory change date comes with just over two months remaining in the regular season. Smith has certainly been vocal about a mid-season change, calling it “crazy,” especially for the goalie position.
But violation of the rule can be costly -- not just for the goalie.
All goalies must switch to new pants today. Any violation results in a 2-game suspension, $25k fine to team, $1k fine to equipment manager— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) February 4, 2017
From NHL.com, which quoted Kay Whitmore, senior director of hockey operations and goaltender equipment:
Whitmore said the League originally intended to implement the change prior to the start of the season, but there were safety concerns with the new pants that had to be addressed with the manufacturing companies, causing a delay. Nearly a quarter of the League’s goalies already are wearing the new pants.
“We addressed the safety concerns and felt it was the right decision to implement as soon as possible, regardless of the fact that it was midway through the year,” Whitmore said.