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.

Latest way the Wild lost? Killed by penalty kill

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk sits on the ice after giving up a goal to St. Louis Blues' Jori Lehtera, of Finland, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.

As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?

Actually …

If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.

Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.

Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.

The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.

On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.

Statement in Blackhawks’ blowout of Stars? Coach Q says they’re even

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Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.

The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.

You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.

At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.

Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.

(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)

As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.

Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.

Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

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Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.

Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.

Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:

That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.

Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.

Crosby kills the Cats: Penguins end Panthers’ winning streak

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) collides with Florida Panthers' Connor Brickley (86) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.

Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.

Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:

Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.

Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.

The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it  shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.