The NHL has made it clear that they aim to increase scoring by reducing the size of the equipment worn by its goaltenders. One new change, set to debut in 2018-19, is a smaller chest pad that has less padding along the shoulders and neck. As you might imagine, the decision has already caused some controversy.

Below is a quick video of the new padding being worn by Ken Appleby, a goaltender who has appeared in just a few NHL games. Here, he looks mostly comfortable, though serious NHL fans will notice the smaller profile along the collarbone.

Appleby noted the differences between the new padding and the old padding.

Unfortunately, things didn’t end very well.

And that’s why some goalies are concerned and that’s why this kind of testing is necessary.

Shrinking goaltender padding always carries with it an increased risk of injury, especially when said goalies are used to playing with equipment that has different coverage. As the NHL tries to shrink padding to answer a scoring problem that doesn’t exist (more on this later), players are using sticks that allow for harder and more accurate shots. That’s a scary combination.

The Twitter thread from the video above has several goaltenders chiming in with their opinion on the change. Many claim that the one spot they receive the most bruises and injures is the shoulder/collarbone area – the very area that’s about to have an alteration in padding.

Back to scoring. Is there actually a problem?

That’s a divisive topic, but I’d argue there isn’t. The 2017-18 season had an average of 2.97 goals per game. That’s the highest average in over 10 years, dating back to the 2005-06 season that had a 3.08 average. Scoring is on the rise and some of that can be attributed to the league actually calling stick infractions as they’re written in the rule book. There have been previous goaltender padding alterations, but those thankfully haven’t been tied to any known rise in goalie injuries.

Then there’s the argument that scoring in the NHL is fine as is. Not every game needs to be a 6-5 affair. Some of the league’s best, and most memorable games, were two teams struggling to score. Why abandon those low-scoring contests?

Regardless, let’s hope the NHL and its equipment makers figure this situation out before anyone gets hurt.

About David Rogers

Editor for The Comeback and Contributing Editor for Awful Announcing. Lover of hockey, soccer and all things pop culture.

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