(Photo Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports)
Starting with today’s games, all NHL goalies must now be wearing the new streamlined pants. Martin Jones, pictured above, has already been using the new gear.
Today is the deadline for the new goalie pants, but Martin Jones has been using it for the last 3-4 weeks, he said #SJSharks
— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzCSN) February 4, 2017
The new pants feature a defined thigh guard, which wraps in a constant curve around the leg rather than flaring out as it has in years past. Kay Whitmore, the NHL’s senior director of hockey operations said that “more sizes have been created to more closely align with the different waist sizes of today’s goaltenders.”
Whitmore also said that in years past, companies would fit players into either large, or extra large pants instead of having properly sized pants for each goaltender.
The league was hoping to roll this out at the start of this season, but safety concerns delayed the new pant.
Across the league, roughly a quarter of the goaltenders have already been wearing the new pants. Martin Jones, Corey Crawford, Peter Budaj, Sergei Bobrovsky and Andrei Vasilevskiy are some that have already worn them.
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
For those who choose not to switch over, the fine is steep. So steep that the $25 K fine that would be implemented is only $4 833.33 less than the total $29 833.33 that has been issued in fines this season. Seven players have been fined by the league this year with the most significant coming to Brad Marchand for his Jan. 26 trip against the Red Wings’ Niklas Kronwall.
What do the goalies think?
Braeden Holtby: “If there is too tight equipment it doesn’t allow you to bend the whole way so it leaves a hole, but we looked at it through video, slowed everything down and there were no holes, so it’s fine. I didn’t find much of a difference at all.”
Corey Crawford: “Pants are probably one of the easiest pieces of equipment to [change].”
Mike Smith: “I think to have an equipment change midseason, it’s crazy, especially in the goaltending position. It’s nuts that it can’t wait until the beginning of next season. I’ve been wearing pants like [the old ones] for my whole life, where you don’t really feel them being a part of you. I tried [the new ones] on one time and they feel like they’re really restrictive in your movements, so obviously it’s a big change.”
Martin Jones: “The first probably three or four skates, just kind of working them in, they were snug, but you play around with them a little bit and get them to fit right.”
Quotes via nhl.com
While some goalies are fans, it’s clear others are not. It should be interesting to see if this has any affect on goalies numbers, as well as how it affects goal scoring across the league – if at all.
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