When it’s not about a salary cap controversy, it comes back to the equipment in Tampa Bay. You may recall that back in 2021 when the Lightning went on to win back-to-back Stanley Cups, there were talks that goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was pulling some illegal move to appear bigger. The silly controversy arose when a picture of the Bolts’ goalie shaking Carey Price’s hand made it look like Vasilevskiy was unusually bigger than the Habs’ netminder though both players were then listed at the same height, 6-foot-3.
It was silly then, but on Thursday, a picture was posted on social media of Vasilevskiy’s new equipment and fans quickly noticed that the goalie was now sporting a set of Bauer Hockey skates with black blade holders, that are normally white.
Scouting the Refs quickly explained that Vasilevskiy might looking be to make it harder to see the puck over the line if it’s along or under his skate.
“No rule on the color there… only requirement is that the stick knob has to be white tape.”
Fans may recall how Florida Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky benefited from the colour of his blades durin Game 5 of the second round of the playoffs against the Toronto Maple Leafs. During this game, Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly thought he had beaten Bobrovsky, but the review was not conclusive due to the black blade holders, making it more difficult to give a verdict on whether the goal was good or not.
But it's not against the rules.
And so, Vasilevskiy isn’t breaking any rule. Like the Lightning didn’t when forward Nikita Kucherov returned for the playoffs in 2021 after missing the regular season while being placed on LTIR. The move enabled the Lightning to maximize their salary cap spending, and according to the rules, Kucherov was eligible to return for the postseason. Since players are not paid in the playoffs, GM Julien BriseBois was able to re-insert Kucherov into the lineup, despite being 18 million dollars above the salary cap.
The Lightning always seems to find a clever way.
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- Andrei Vasilevskiy admits he’s out of solutions to stop the Maple Leafs
- Vasilevskiy refused to leave the net despite coach Cooper trying to pull him after 2nd period
- Andrei Vasilevskiy explodes with rage after Game 6.
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