February 13, 2012

NHL Snipers' Biggest Problem: Goalie Size

There's lots of talk over the years about how hard it is to score goals nowadays. Everyone chimes in with an idea, be it more athletic goaltenders, better coaching and video's impact on the game. Those are all legitimate reasons, but I have to believe one of the biggest reasons for this is just the sheer size of the goalies.

Take a look at this Charlie Hodge card.


Hodge was a very good goalie, but as you can see there is lots of room for shooters to aim at. And before  you ask, no, the nets have not changed size over the years.

At 5'6" and 150lb, Charlie was a small man. But, playing back in the 1960s, Hodge never really stood out as abnormally small. Goalies have traditionally been amongst the smallest players in the NHL.

At least until the last 20 years or so. Nowadays we are seeing goalies as tall as 6'6" such as Anders "The Giant" Lindback. Take a look:


Yikes! Lindback certainly is a daunting sight for opposing shooters. I suppose you say they have a "tall order" if they hope to score against Nashville.

Now of course not every goalie is a giant to begin with off the ice. But with the increased size of shoulder pads and leg pads, all puck stoppers dwarf the goaltenders of Hodge's day

Take a look at San Jose's Antii Niemi. In this photo Niemi takes away so much of the net, and he's playing on his knees:


Then there is the increase in glove size. Gloves nowadays have got to be close to twice as big as the goalies of the 1950s. That would take away an lot of shooting space. Take a look at Jacques Plante from 1958 vs Jaroslav Halak's trapper:




Jacques Plante could have caught the 5 o'clock bus if he had Jaro Halak's glove.

There is no doubt goalies are better than ever. They more athletic and better coached than ever before. They are also a whole lot bigger. 

1 comment:

Hackenbush said...

Great points. I know my Blackhawks certainly can't get many past goaltenders these days.

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