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.

Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers

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Connor McDavid was fantastic on Wednesday, but the Anaheim Ducks overcame his strong showing for a significant win in the Pacific.

McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.

With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:

1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP

As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.

Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.

The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.

Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.