Injured Islanders goalie: NHL needs better goalie protection

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Add Al Montoya to the list of netminders displeased with the NHL’s goaltender protection policy.

The New York Islanders goalie has been out since Dec. 21, when he suffered a concussion after getting bowled over by Winnipeg’s Evander Kane. Here’s the hit in question:

Kane got a two-minute goalie interference penalty (which, as the video illustrates, he didn’t agree with); Montoya left the game immediately and has yet to return to action. While he’s resumed on-ice workouts and slowly recovering from his concussion, Montoya still clearly harbors some resentment over the way he got concussed.

“If you’re telling me that a guy can lead with his stick like that, make contact to someone’s head and all he gets is a two-minute penalty? And the goaltender’s out two weeks? That’s a pretty minor penalty for something like that,” Montoya told Newsday. “I go down in my crease not expecting to get run over. No goaltender does. You have to be able to do that without thinking you’ll get a stick to the face.”

The Kane-Montoya collision was just the latest instance of player-on-goalie violence. Buffalo’s Ryan Miller has twice been bowled over this season (once by Milan Lucic, one by Jordin Tootoo) and Detroit’s Jimmy Howard has repeatedly spoken out about an increase in physical contact.

“They’ve got to look at that situation again,” Montoya said. “There has to be a point where a guy who’s driving to the net has to be able to pull up and back off.”