So the NHL’s new streamlined goalie pants that are thinner, more form fitting, and uh...rounder (NHL.com’s words.) are set to debut today, with a couple of the afternoon games already played with them on. Most have already had the regulation pair and have either been playing with it or breaking them in at practice. Most goalies don’t seem to care entirely too much about them, although taller goalies like Mike Smith expressed a concern that the restriction of movement might make it much easier for smaller goalies who aren’t getting squeezed so much to succeed and guys his size are basically fighting their own uniform to get saves. At least, in theory. But so far most are okay with the change.
The timing of course, is the real head-scratcher. Due to a safety concern with manufacturers, this change was put on hold until now? There are roughly about 30 something games left on the NHL schedule across most teams. Wouldn’t it make sense to just put it off and fine-tune the pants for comfort and ability next year when more players will be there to use them? No doubt wild card chasers with previously concerning goaltending will attempt to raise some questions about the decision once the season’s over and the playoff teams are set and, for whatever reason, they’re not in it.
If nothing else, the clumsy timing and the ridiculous fine for not complying with this relatively simple business decision is quite simply peak NHL brass decision making.
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 (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) February 4, 2017
So don’t be a little surprised if it seems like Frederik Andersson/McElhenny or Rask seem like they’re stretching out a little bit more than they previously were. They’re just trying to break in a newer, tighter and uh...rounder, pair of pants.