Goalies who will suffer from 'form fitting' equipment changes the most

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lundqvistpads.jpgToday’s focus has been on the league’s plans to force goalies to wear “form fitting”/proportional pads next season. I touched on the rule change on a general level here and then got into the deeper details of just why it’s different (and confusing) in another post.

It blows my mind a bit that the larger goalies (and maybe even a few normal-sized ones with abnormally long legs) might actually get to wear longer pads, but it might be more interesting to make some educated guesses regarding which ones will suffer. As The Goalie Guild pointed out on Twitter today, every goalie is built differently, so it’s possible that some of these sprite-sized goalies might not face a negative impact. That being said, I think there’s a good chance these goalies might feel the brunt of the alterations, even if the changes won’t be particularly significant.

Each goalie will have his height listed, although it’s important to note that sports teams are often a bit “generous” when listing player heights. Anyway, let’s get to it.

Thumbnail image for halakbutterfly.jpgJaroslav Halak (5-foot-11) As if following up a scorching hot playoff run wasn’t tough enough, the relatively short goalie might see a reduction in his pads. He seemed to be strong positionally (as in, not outrageously athletic), so the difference could hurt him more than most. (Even if, again, it will probably be subtle.)

Henrik Lundqvist (6-0) TGG claims that Lundqvist’s “massive thigh pads” might be one of the biggest reasons why the changes are being made. The Rangers lean very heavily on the Swedish goalie, so if he slips even a bit, their playoff hopes could be very bleak.

Manny Legace (5-9) and Vesa Toskala (5-10) As if those two goalies didn’t have the odds stacked against them already …

Thumbnail image for jonathanberniergoalie.jpgJonathan Bernier (5-11) Bernier’s first real NHL season might be a bit tougher considering he’s already below the ideal height level for goalies.

Marty Turco (5-11) The good news is that – at least in a previous hockey life – Turco was an athletic goalie. Still, the Blackhawks new goalie is three inches shorter than their departing Cup winner Antti Niemi.

Tim Thomas (5-11) He’s not the most “orthodox” goalie, but age, injuries and the considerably taller Tuukka Rask will make things difficult for Thomas next season.

Chris Osgood (5-10) It’s hard for me to muster up much sympathy for the Leprechaun-like goalie, but you still have to give him serious points for resiliency.

While smaller pads will hurt “positional” or “passive” goalies more than the “athletic” types, most of the guys under six feet tall are likely to suffer. Again, these are educated guesses and the impact might be very subtle, but these rule changes could set an interesting precedent for shrinking equipment for netminders. Are there any other goalies – maybe less obvious examples – that could really suffer from the rule changes? Feel free to share your picks in the comments.

Pens coach praises Murray: ‘He doesn’t get rattled’

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Hot take: the Pittsburgh Penguins probably won’t deal with a goalie controversy going into Game 7.

(Ugh, that’s a failed hot take … you can’t use “probably” in those things, right?)

Matt Murray was fantastic at times during Game 6, much like his counterpart in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s net in a 5-2 win. Granted, there were some tense moments during the Bolts’ late-game push:

Much has been made about experience, especially from those calling for Marc-Andre Fleury earlier in this series. It’s telling that the praise Murray draws sure sounds like what you’d expect from a “veteran.”

“He has a calming influence,” Sullivan said. “He doesn’t get rattled. If he lets a goal in, he just continues to compete. That’s usually an attribute that usually takes years to acquire that, and to have it at such a young age is impressive.”

Thanks in part to Murray’s efforts in Game 6, he’ll get a chance to prove his resolve in something new: a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final.

Once again, his teammates seem pretty confident in this elimination situation.

Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

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The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to sleepwalk through the first two periods of Game 6, and waking up in the final frame wasn’t enough to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On the bright side, at least the Lightning aren’t in denial about that weak first 40 minutes.

It seemed like everyone on the team more or less admitted as much in unison.

Brian Boyle added that he felt like the Lightning tiptoed around this game. Jon Cooper often provides great quips, yet he was pretty matter-of-fact in this case.

Many will linger on this disallowed goal for Jonathan Drouin, which would have provided a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay in the first period.

Let’s face it; that moment came pretty early in the game. To Tampa Bay’s credit, they’re not pinning the loss on that setback.

Now they must set their sights on competing throughout Game 7 … and maybe earning some bounces of their own in the process.

Read more about Game 6 here.

Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

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The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

What if that offside goal counted?

Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

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Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.

Sidney Crosby scores a superstar goal

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With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.

Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.

The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.