California’s and Nevada’s Authoritative Voice of Ice and Inline Hockey

Chalk Talk: Larger goal nets not the answer

 

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With scoring down in the NHL, there’s actually a movement afoot these days to enlarge the goal nets.

When you initially start to think about it, such a consideration seems pretty dramatic, but it is worth giving the idea some merit.

Certainly there’s an extreme difference in the average size of today’s NHL goalies versus yesteryears, and the netminders’ equipment today is considerably larger as well.

All of that, combined with today’s enhanced athleticism, makes it very difficult for shooters to be successful when trying to light the lamp.

The goaltending position is probably the one that’s evolved the most over recent years; not only are the goalies bigger and their gear larger and lighter, but much focus has been given to the physical and mechanical science of the position.

Goaltender training is now very sophisticated, and today’s masked men and women are being educated and trained to stop pucks in a much more scientific manner than ever before.

When you combine huge leg pads and the butterfly style, along with much more complex training techniques, it’s no wonder there’s so much chatter about enlarging the goal itself.

Some in the game feel that if we just move the posts out an inch and raise the crossbar a smidge, order will be restored in the hockey world.

Of course the argument against making such a drastic change is very strong, too, since the current 4’ x 6’ hockey goals have been the standard since the early 1900s.

Don’t forget, too, that forwards and defensemen are much bigger and stronger now as well; their equipment, particularly their sticks, has evolved over the years and players can consistently shoot the puck over 90 miles per hour and move with a lot more skill and speed than in years past.

With that said, maybe the ice surface needs to be enlarged while we’re at it.

Anytime you start changing the rules or the size of the playing field, you risk affecting the record books for all of those who’ve participated before the change.

Personally, I’ve never liked the fact that every baseball stadium has a slightly different dimension; consequently, players and teams that play in different ballparks have an advantage or disadvantage depending on where the homerun fences and foul poles are, statistically speaking.

Hockey has been one of the most consistent sports in many categories, and the growth and excitement of the game over the last couple of decades is a testament to how well it’s been structured and maintained.

Do we appreciate watching goals being scored? Yes, but we also enjoy it when a goaltender makes a jaw-dropping save.

My vote? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Larry Bruyere is the coach-in-chief of USA Hockey’s Pacific District and also operates Channel Islands Ice Center.