Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen joined Sportsnet’s Hockey Central at Noon panel to weigh in on the NHL’s new policy regarding goalie chest protectors and offer up his opinion on whether or not he agrees with some of his goalie brethren who feel the changes are too drastic.
Last week Leafs back up Garret Sparks spoke candidly about the bumps and bruises that he’s been forced to endure as a result of the NHL’s new equipment specifications, so what does Andersen think?
Check out his segment below:
When asked if he notices a different in the equipment and how much the puck is hurting, Andersen replies, "I don't think so. I think I've always liked wiht pretty beat down chest protectors to begin with so I'm used to getting stingers on the arms and shoulders, so for me it hasn't changed too much. I think a lot of guys... I don't know if they forgot how it felt before. I don't' think you should jump to blame the new gear yet, but granted I haven't' seen what they're wearing yet. My experience has been pretty good."
It's fair to say however that Andersen and Sparks aren't exactly on the same page when it comes to this matter. Just check out some of these strong comments from the Sparks last week:
SPORTSNET.CA: So, you’ve been bruised too?
GARRET SPARKS: I was with my first unit—to the point where you don’t even want to track down on pucks. You don’t even want to attack pucks. You’re just trying to make saves and not wear the brunt of it.
Do guys around the league discuss it?
I’ve had guys ask me what I’m wearing and how I feel about it and stuff like that. You see guys experimenting with gear brands they’d normally never consider, just because they’re looking for protection from somewhere else. Because their sponsored brand or preferred brand isn’t adequately protecting them. There’s a level of discomfort with that, as guys are running around between brands trying different things. They’re trying to find a solution to a padding problem, not a functioning movement problem. Early in the season I made comments like, ‘It’s not that bad. It’s not a big deal,’ and I know guys around the league weren’t even happy hearing that. They were like, ‘This guy’s a sellout.’
Did they tell you that directly?
No. [I found out] second-hand from other goalies. The comments you make obviously have implications even if you don’t intend them to, but when they make rule changes at the beginning of the summer and manufacturers aren’t fully prepared for it and the season starts and units haven’t been made for guys, and guys are wearing demo gear for two or three months, that’s not like a calculated, prepared and effective change. The guys who end up eating the brunt of it are the goalies. It’s not the fans, not the players, not the coaches, not the GMs. It’s the goalies.
And you had bruises all over?
Yeah, and I had pieces of padding falling out. Stuff that wasn’t working the way it should. It wasn’t functioning the right way. At the end of the day, that makes it really hard to practice. It makes it hard to make a team. It makes it hard to play a game in pre-season when your career — your life — is on the line, just so they can look for two extra goals a year, three extra goals a year on a guy.
So… will Sparks put the heat on the NHL to turn back the rules? Not quite…
Are enough goalies speaking out about the padding now that it could result in change?
I don’t want to see a change.
No. I just want them to continue to improve the units that they’re saying are legal so guys don’t get hurt. Don’t go back to the old sizing. Just make this one better. If you had to have it, keep it—but make it better.
Well... maybe their opinions aren't do different after all. Regardless of your stance though, you have to admit that size of goalie equipment was getting a little ridiculous for awhile. I mean... we all remember this, right?