Yell at Gatekeeper
The entire reason I started this website was to keep track and publish my idiotic rants. Over the last 7 years this as morphed into more of a reporting and news site, but occasionally there are hockey related issues that just grind my fucking gears. Buckle up, Hostile fans, because today is one of those particular days. You can thanks apparent idiot Mark Spector of Sportsnet and his stupid tweet:
How many goals per year added if goal stick shaft eliminated above blocker? Eliminates most poke checks too. https://t.co/pWsXALqoVh
— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) May 11, 2017
Now, by this point in time, most of you know that I have dressed up as (and attempted to play) goalie for roughly 30 years. Sure, yes, I’m just a short, old, bald beer league goalie and probably a bad-to-mediocre one, at that. I have, though, seen a shot or two in my day (most of them whizzing by me into the net).
Today, folks, was my tipping point. I have watched media falsely blame goalies for this fake “goal problem” the NHL has claimed. The league and the media have demonized goalies for adapting and developing from pudgy outcasts who couldn’t skate, into real actual athletes for long enough. All the while, coaches have created defensive systems to choke the game (and fans) to sleep. Seriously, Watch a goalie from 1985 move out on the ice and then watch one of them move now. It’s almost a different sport altogether. The position is certainly completely different, outside of the name. Thanks to goaltending coaches and youth programs that cater specifically to the position, goalies have just caught up to the rest of the players. No longer are the goalies just the fat kids that can’t skate who get cast off by the coaches as weird little, barely useful, freaks. Goalies today can skate well, they are certainly the most flexible players on the ice, and have virtually perfected actual styles/methods. Goalies before 1995 had a style called “Just get in front of the puck”. Very little of this development has to do with the actual equipment, but lets go over this:
-The gloves and blockers are probably slightly bigger than the ones used in 1985, but the flex on the lighter composite sticks also allow players to shoot much faster and harder than what is natural. An inch here or there won’t add more than a couple goals a year, if that. The gloves are built better and actually flex much better than old gear.
-The chest and arm pads might be able to use some tweaking on the design but, again, you’re not going to change any underlying goal numbers by tweaking the shoulder protection. Once again, players shoot harder and faster than they ever have. If you reduce the padding, you’ll have many more goalie injuries.
-The legs pads are certainly taller, but when you really break them down, they aren’t considerably wider. They just hold their form longer, which makes them seem wider. So, great, cut the height down. They addressed the width years ago. It’s not going to matter. Nothing changed.
-The masks are actually more form fitting than a big thick helmet, thus streamlined.
-The skates are MUCH smaller than the old bozo cowling style skates and, again, streamlined. This hasn’t miraculously resulted in any more goals, though.
-The pants are pants. The league made them tighter and it changed nothing as far as goals per game.
-The sticks are basically the same size they have always been. Goalies have just learned how to use them more effectively.
The bottom line is that goalies are just bigger, faster, more flexible, stronger and more well versed in the method of their craft. If they change any of the padding, you won’t see a god damn difference whatsoever. There is nothing you can do, outside of eliminating the position altogether and just skating six players, that will give you goal production like the late 80s and early 90s. The game is completely different. Coaches are adding complex systems to choke the speed down, while sucking any creativity whatsoever out of players.
Think I’m full of it?
In Chicago alone, and outside of the few upper echelon players, when was the last time you saw a 3rd line forward NOT benched for trying, and failing, with some kind of unique or creative move? Never. If they pull it off, the coach whispers, “nice play, but don’t ever pull that shit again”. If they fail, which happens more often that not, they get stapled to the bench. There is no room for creativity in this old boys network NHL.
Just look at the PK Subban saga, for example. Guy is creative, charismatic, and super talented. In every other sport, teams would be begging for a player like that. Instead, he was run out of Montreal for an older, safe, vanilla guy. NHL “experts” like asshole Mike Milbury are calling him a clown for showing some personality; IN WARMUPS! The guy that climbed into the crowd and beat a fan with his own shoe. Seriously? Fuck this league. Fuck the media. And, fuck the “experts”. Grow up or you’re going to kill this league.
So, back to my original point. Mark Spector want to chop goalie sticks off, so that they no longer extend out past the blocker. He wants to turn goalie sticks into blunt machetes, with the equivalent hockey effectiveness of a whiffle ball bat.
No more poke checking.
No more playing the puck.
No more playing the paddle down in a scrum or to stop wrap-a-rounds.
Because Alex Ovechkin hit the shaft of a goalie stick in the playoffs, once. You know what this “solution” also gives goalies? A much more manageable weapon to swing at other players, while trying to protect themselves.
You think I’m full of shit?
Try swinging a fairly dense five and half foot stick with one hand at someone. It’s not easy. It takes room, a decent wind-up, and possibly two hands to even get the thing around. Still not buying my theory? Take a goalie stick, or even just a five and half foot stick, to a batting cage and try to hit baseballs with it. Good luck!
Now, cut that stick in half and swing it at a baseball, golf ball or anything, for that matter. Much easier. It’s now a legitimate weapon, intended or not. If I’m getting hacked, whacked and run over all game, you bet your ass that my natural reaction will be to protect myself with what I have available. If it means sticking my blocker hand up in someone’s face to keep them from injuring me, so be it. Hell, I used to carry a 2 foot section of a hockey stick under my car seat, just in case I needed to defend myself. They make players drop broken sticks on the ice for a reason. That’s because it’s easier to use as a weapon or projectile. Safety, right?
Unless you’re a goalie.
I’m not even going to get into the entire physics of a full length goalie stick, but making a simple save of a puck coming in at even 70MPH, with half a stick, would become much, much harder because there is less actual material to absorb the impact.
You know what this stupid league needs?