Was hockey better in the 80s?
View Single Post
11-13-2012, 05:28 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Originally Posted by
Ken Dryden had a great take on this:
"Goalies too have adapted. How do you cover a net that is bigger than you are, when a puck can be shot faster than you can move, and when a skater might be on one side of the ice, or, after a pass an instant later, on the other side? You do what you could have done a few years earlier, but didn't, because you didn't have to. But now you do. You make your equipment bigger. Not your leg pads, there are rules against that, but your gloves, and most particularly your arm and torso pads. You couldn't really do that effectively a few years earlier. The protective padding was made mostly of felt, deer hair, and leather, so adding my size also added prohibitively more weight. But by using lightweight nylon, plastic, and foam, goalies could have size mobility too. There weren't really rules to stop them, and the principle on which equipment had been introduced in sports in the first place years before had been forgotten. Once, equipment had been understood as something to protect the body and allow it to do what a game asked it to do. So, if in rushing up the ice and trying to score, or defend, a puck might incidentlly strike you in the shins, why not be able to wear shin guards, so you can continue to skate and play as if undistracted by what really isn't important? The same for incidental blows to your hands. Why not wear protective gloves? And for the goalie, for whom stopping the puck is not incidental, why not protective leg pads and gloves? The principle, so universally understood as to require no discussion, was that equipment was to protect the body. If that meant, coincidentally, the protected body covered a little more of the net, that was OK. Anything more was unthinkable.
But if by protecting your body, equipment also made you a better goalie, over time it might seem that the real purpose of goalie equipment was to make you a better goalie. And if part of the goalie's approach was to preventing goals meant catching pucks, using a modified glove like forwards wore seemed pretty stupid. Why not a modified first baseman's glove? And if later, those quick, European, change-of-direction passe for a goalie meant the need to move but block just as much, if the goalie had to take away space to shoot at, he needed to take up more space himself. Besides, shot at one hundred miles per hour, even with a well-protected body, the puck hurts. So to a gaolie, anything new that he adds to his equipment is arguably for protection. And to a League administrator, a former forward or defenseman, who wouldn't be caught dead playing goal, who doesn't understand goalies, and who by now is so confused by all this, it all seems allowable. In the last ten years, goalies have gone from Gumby-like stick figures to net-protecting objects as big as a house. The principle that the purpose of equipment is to protect the body, not the net, has been forgotten. Who says goalies are crazy?"
Ken Dryden from the 2003 Afterward to "The Game"
Even Ken Dryden calls BS on modern goaltending "science". Anyone with common sense can easily see that larger goaltending equipment has changed the game significantly - and not for the better.
If today's goalies are so much better than the 80s, give them the same sized equipment - they can even keep the lighter stuff just make it the same size as the 80s - then, let's see where they really stand. I suspect a .900 save percentage will be much harder to achieve and hockey will become much more entertaining.
View Public Profile
Find More Posts by Ogopogo*