Earlier this year the National Hockey League (NHL) changed the rules regarding the length of the goaltenders leg pads for the 2013-2014 season. By doing this, the pads are shorter, making a bigger opening in the five hole between the goaltenders legs.
The old rule that was implemented in the 2010-2011 season allowed the goalies to have their pads not exceed 55 percent of the distance between the center of their knee and pelvis. The new number is 45 percent, and now the goalie can not wear a pad exceeding 9 inches above their knee.
No matter how much the NHL tinkers or changes goalie equipment, NHL goalies are going to adjust like they have in the 70s, 80s and 90s. They also adjusted in 2005 when the NHL reduced the width of goalie pads from 12 to 11 inches. Goalies are just going to become quicker moving around the net with the smaller equipment, it also forces some goalies to change the way they position themselves.
I like how the league is trying to make games more exciting by trying to make them higher scoring, but I think there has to be a big change in equipment to make a more of a difference on the score board. On the other hand, how much can the NHL alter the goalie equipment without reducing the padding so much where the goalies are at risk of injury? Goalies face danger with every shot that is taken on them, granted it is already a very dangerous position, but why increase their danger even more with what is going to be a very minimal change in goal production throughout an NHL season.
So far this season it seems that NHL players are making more of an effort to go five hole, successful or not they are trying to capitalize on this new rule change. Do you think the NHL should keep adjusting goalie equipment? Is it going to result in more injuries if they keep changing the goalie equipment rule? Is the game better off with these new changes? What is more important goal production or players safety? I think if the NHL really wants to improve goal production they should just make the nets bigger, that way they are not sacrificing players safety.