NHL implements new goalie pants policy, violators could pay hefty price
New restrictions have officially pants’d NHL goalies.
Beginning today, all league goalies must wear new style, tight-fitting pants that aim at increasing scoring without changing the game too much.
Goalies who violate the new wardrobe policy will be subject to a two-game suspension, a $25,000 fine will be issued to the team and $1,000 fine to the equipment manager, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.
Over the years, NHL teams have opted to invest in massive goaltenders to cover up more of the net, rather than smaller, more elusive netminders. Tampa Bay Lighting goalie Ben Bishop is 6-foot-7. Scott Darling (Blackhawks), Devan Dubnyk (Wild), Anders Lindback (Stars) all check in at 6-6. Goalies under 6-0 are few and far between.
As goalies are getting bigger and bigger, they’re also getting better and better. And that’s not been too kind for NHL scoring.
Teams are averaging 2.61 goals per game this season, and the NHL average hasn’t eclipsed 2.77 since 2005-06, according to Hockey-Reference.com. A dramatic decline from 3.5 teams were averaging in the 90s. Save percentage hit .915 the past two seasons, the highest it’s ever been.
The league’s effort to increase scoring comes with the thinking that more goals means more interest in the game. And for a league that’s well below the NBA, MLB and NFL in terms of popularity and revenue, that’s priority No.