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08-01-2013, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Crease View Post
Really not thrilled with the idea of having a 35, 36, 37-year-old goalie with a $9m cap hit. I know the the cap is expected to rise, but that's still a huge chunk of the team's cap space. The guy plays 65+ games a year. Plus playoffs. Plus Olympics and probably a future World Cup or two. He's putting a lot of miles on those knees. How many elite years does he have left in the tank?
You have to worry about the hips as well.

Prof. Gordon Bell, director of the Sport and Health Assessment Centre at the University of Alberta, has the supporting stats. A study he led into the frequency and type of movements of NHL goalies across two seasons (2003-04 and 2005-06) found that all goalies have adopted the butterfly to some degree. On average, goalies assumed the “full butterfly” — both pads flat and flared on the ice, like wings, with the goalie stick in the five hole — 11-12 times a period.


Arrived are the days of contortionist strains on hips, groins and knees that could foreshadow hobbled goalies in retirement in need of replacement surgery.

“Playing the butterfly clearly puts a goaltender at increased risk for hip labrum issues and medial ligaments on the knees, just because of the nature of the position you get into,” says former Leafs goalie coach Steve McKichan. (The labrum is the cartilage ring that hugs the rim of the hip socket.) “Imagine yourself right now working on a full set of splits at the gym and all of a sudden somebody accidentally falls on you or just bumps you slightly.”

Another goalie, Liam Herbst, hurt his hips from the butterfly.

Such have been the ravages of the up-down grind of the butterfly style on his 6-foot-3 body. This past summer Liam underwent microfracture surgery to both knees, a procedure to stimulate the growth of new cartilage more commonly associated with mid- to late-career basketball pros closer to twice his age.

This month Liam had another surgery to repair damage in his right hip and another on his left knee. In the coming weeks it’s expected he’ll be encouraged by doctors to submit to operations on his left hip and right knee.

“It’s pretty significant damage to his knees and hips,” said Mark Guy, Liam’s agent. “What I’ve been told by the doctors is they believe there’s a chance they can fix it, and he’ll have a chance to come back and play.”

The injuries Liam has endured, while not often seen in teenagers, aren’t uncommon among goaltenders who play the dominant butterfly style. The scars of hip surgery, once associated with aging blue hairs, have become common among the young men who patrol blue ice. Four years ago, Sports Illustrated pronounced the problem an NHL “epidemic.”

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