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NHL wants to downsize goalie gear

TORONTO — General managers discussed reducing the size of goalie equipment and increasing video review Wednesday at their in-season meeting, and the league and players association expressed a desire to grandfather in mandatory visors.

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"Every little piece of goaltender equipment is now a project for a goalie to get bigger," said Colin Campbell, the NHL's vice president of hockey operations. The instructions to league goalie expert Kay Whitmore are "do what you have to do within reason to make sure (goalies are) still protected to reduce the stopping area," Campbell said.

Goalie equipment was readjusted in 2005-06, 2008-09 and 2010-11, but GMs felt Wednesday that wasn't enough. Primarily, the league would like to reduce the length of the leg pad and make the knee pad more conforming and less bulky.

The union has been made aware that the league wants to move aggressively on this issue, Campbell said.

Former player Mathieu Schneider, a special assistant to union executive director Donald Fehr, said much debate will be held before anything is done and goalie safety will be the primary concern.

Lightning wing Marty St. Louis said he welcomes smaller equipment but the problem of fewer scoring chances in today's game runs deeper than that.

"It's also the amount of emphasis on the other side of the puck, the amount of back pressure in today's game," he told ESPN.com. "There's hardly any odd-man rushes because everyone backchecks hard. We have less room. So it's a combination of things.

"I mean, sure, (further reducing the size of goalie equipment) would help tremendously. But it's not as if the goalies are getting better while the players are getting worse. Everyone is getting better together. It's the emphasis away from the puck. It's harder to generate scoring chances."

Both sides seemed in favor of mandatory visors. The union plans on polling players this summer to see if they're interested in grandfathering mandatory visors into the league. Approximately 73 percent of players wear shields, Schneider said.

On video review, Campbell said there was no move to institute a coach's challenge but GMs raised many instances of possible review, including goaltender interference, offside and 4-minute high-sticking penalties to see if a player had been hit by a teammate's stick.

In the ongoing debate about whether to change the icing rule, Campbell said GMs favored hybrid icing but the union favored no-touch icing or the status quo.

Under the proposed hybrid rule, icing would be nullified if a forward beats a defenseman to the faceoff dot. In no-touch icing, which is used in international play, play is stopped once the puck crosses the goal line.

Game highlights: Devin Setoguchi had two goals, Niklas Backstrom made 36 saves and the Wild won its fourth straight, and its first game in Detroit in more than seven years, 4-2 over the Red Wings.

Around the league: Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, who hasn't played since Feb. 21 because of a back problem, said he would start tonight against the Hurricanes. Coach Peter DeBoer would not commit to a starter. … Panthers wing Eric Selleck was suspended for two games for instigating a fight late in his NHL debut against Carolina on Tuesday. Selleck got an automatic one-game suspension for instigating in the last five minutes of a game and one game for leaving the bench during a line change. … Rangers president and GM Glen Sather will have surgery for prostate cancer today, ESPN reported.

Wild 1 3 0 4
at Red Wings 0 1 1 2

First Period1, Minnesota, Setoguchi 10 (Cullen, Bouchard), 2:04. PenaltiesMitchell, Min (hooking), 2:27; Konopka, Min (tripping), 12:43.

Second Period2, Minnesota, Brodziak 5 (Spurgeon, Suter), 3:51 (pp). 3, Detroit, Nyquist 1, 9:09. 4, Minnesota, Koivu 7 (Coyle, Parise), 10:49. 5, Minnesota, Setoguchi 11 (Heatley, Bouchard), 17:15 (pp). PenaltiesKronwall, Det, double minor (high-sticking), :30; Kindl, Det (tripping), 15:36; Clutterbuck, Min, double minor (roughing), 18:19; Abdelkader, Det (roughing), 18:19.

Third Period6, Detroit, Miller 3 (Tootoo), 19:46 (pp). PenaltiesProsser, Min (concealing puck), 6:57; Konopka, Min (hooking), 19:35. Shots on GoalMinnesota 5-12-2—19. Detroit 18-8-12—38. Power-play opportunitiesMinnesota 2 of 3; Detroit 1 of 5. GoaliesMinnesota, Backstrom 15-7-2 (38 shots-36 saves). Detroit, Howard 12-8-4 (19-15).

at Avalanche 0 2 2 4
Stars 2 1 0 3

First Period1, Dallas, Jagr 11 (Fiddler, Robidas), 12:06. 2, Dallas, Daley 3 (Jagr, Goligoski), 16:12. PenaltiesHunwick, Col (interference), 3:16; Jo.Benn, Dal (interference), 17:07; Landeskog, Col (goaltender interference), 17:57.

Second Period3, Colorado, Olver 3 (Bordeleau, Kobasew), 8:48. 4, Colorado, Landeskog 6, 13:30 (sh). 5, Dallas, Whitney 4 (Jagr, Eakin), 15:56. PenaltiesStastny, Col (tripping), 3:01; Bordeleau, Col (roughing), 12:14; Nystrom, Dal, major (fighting), 14:37; Roussel, Dal (unsportsmanlike conduct), 14:37; Parenteau, Col (unsportsmanlike conduct), 14:37; Hejda, Col, major (fighting), 14:37; McLeod, Col (roughing), 20:00.

Third Period6, Colorado, O'Reilly 3 (Olver, Hejda), 6:20. 7, Colorado, Kobasew 4 (Hunwick, Olver), 16:31. PenaltiesDillon, Dal (hooking), 11:09; Palushaj, Col (high-sticking), 12:27. Shots on GoalDallas 10-12-10—32. Colorado 13-14-7—34. Power-play opportunitiesDallas 0 of 6; Colorado 0 of 2. GoaliesDallas, Lehtonen 10-7-2 (34 shots-30 saves). Colorado, Varlamov 9-13-3 (32-29).

NHL wants to downsize goalie gear 03/20/13 [Last modified: Thursday, March 21, 2013 12:27am]
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