Blogs > In The Room with Anthony SanFilippo

Daily Times beat writer Anthony J. SanFilippo takes you inside the locker rooms of the Philadelphia Flyers and the rest of the NHL.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


The NHL just can't help itself....

In it's infinite wisdom, rule changes were needed this offseason - just for kicks - or kick saves as it were.

Always needing to tinker with its sport in an effort to create more offense, the NHL has decided to again shrink goalie equipment.

Now, there are rule changes in every sport every year, some more subtle than others, but nothing drastic - usually. However the NHL just can't help itself in it's effort to increase scoring.

Well, unless it bans coaches from teaching defense-first systems, it's not going to happen.

Still, the NHL's competition committee, which features representatives from both the league and the players' union, approved a modification of goalie equipment this summer.

But, if you listen to Flyers goalie Marty Biron, they rushed their new hockey gear legislation through to give the equipment manufacturers time to make the adjustments before the season started.

In other words, the changes were minor, won't affect scoring at all, and wil lead to more discussions on how to increase scoring next summer.


"There wasn't much change at all," said Biron. "They were talking about drastic changes but it got to be too late in the summer and they could only make little minor changes here and there."

Those minor changes are to the pad that protects a goalies calf, which is now more contoured to the leg and doesn't stick out to possibly close up a five-hole quicker; the curvature of the bottom of the pad where it rests on the skate boot has been arced in order to let the pads sit a little lower on the foot, an not higher on the thigh, and the knee stacks were reduced by about an inch.

Oh, boy.

"We made the biggest changes coming out of the lockout, trimming down the sizes of the pads, the pants, the waffle, the chest and arm gear..." said Biron. "There's always ways goalies find to adjust, so the league wants to take that away. They use (New Jersey goalie) Marty Brodeur as an example, but Marty is the only goalie in the league who plays that way."

Coming out of the lockout, goals per game increase by nine-tenths of a goal per game, but in each of the two seasons since that high water mark o 5.94 goals per game, scoring has gone back down, much to the chagrin of the NHL bosses who want to market their game as more offensive.

Some goalies might feel the affects of these changes, but Biron said it won't affect him at all.

"I don't wear big pads," he said. My chest and arms are only a large while a lot of guys wear a XXL. My pants are eight years old and they're all beaten up. Nobody would even want to put them on they're so... gross. It's what I'm used to, so when they make changes, I'm not usually invovled."

In other news, the Flyers returned three players to their junior teams Wednesday.

They returned forward Zac Rinaldo, defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon and goaltender Jacob DeSerres to their respective Canadian Hockey League teams, according to club General Manager Paul Holmgren.

Rinaldo, the Flyers’ sixth round pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, was returned to the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors of the Ontario Hockey League. Bourdon, a Flyers’ third round pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, was returned to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. DeSerres, a Flyers’ third round pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, was returned to the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League.


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