General managers discuss streamlining goalie equipment
BOCA RATON, FLA. >> Goaltending equipment was the hot topic Tuesday on the second day of the NHL general managers meetings, with the focus on making it smaller to increase scoring.
The league has tried for a decade to manage equipment, adjusting it proportionally to each goalie's size. Kay Whitmore, the league's goalie expert, and executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell said they want to clear up the gray area.
"This started last year after (the) competition committee (met) when we and the union agreed that things needed to be done with the pants and the upper body and we've been working behind the scenes nonstop," Whitmore said. "You're hearing from some of the best goalies in the game that they think this is what's right. They want a level playing field within their ranks. They want to look at the other end of the rink and feel that the guy down there looks appropriate for his size."
Whitmore said the plan is for manufacturers to have the more form-fitting equipment delivered to goaltenders in June so they have time to adapt before training camp. If agreed to by the NHL Players' Association, it could be mandatory for the 2016 season.
"Over the years there wasn't enough sizes made by the equipment companies, so a lot of this is falling on them," said Whitmore, the NHL's senior director of hockey operations. "We've had in-depth meeting with their design people, and they understand about rounding and contouring and wrapping things and making it fit better. They have to understand that some goalies are seven inches wider than others and we want to make that significant difference visual to everybody and the goalies will feel better because it's a level playing field."
Also discussed by the GMs:
—The application of Rule 48 involving hits to the head. Concussions are a concern, but GMs determined the rule that already makes head shots illegal does not need to be changed.
"We had an extensive discussion, watched a lot of video and unanimously felt that the rule is working," Lou Lamoriello of the Toronto Maple Leafs said. "They're doing an excellent job with the way it's being policed."
— On the heels of how successful 3-on-3 overtime has been this season, GMs continued to talk about how the game can increase scoring beyond goalie equipment. Tim Murray of the Buffalo Sabres mentioned placing a time limit on how long a defenseman can hold the puck in the trapezoid behind his net.
There was also talk about preventing teams from icing the puck on the penalty kill and going back to some old rules, like 4-on-4 for coincidental minors and players serving the entire time on their penalties instead of leaving the box after a goal.