In 1967ers "Leaf of the day" post on October 7th, 2009 there were a few comments made - notably by DGB and HockeyAnalysis about possibly increasing the size of the nets. I totally disagree and I think we need to go another way. I started to write a response, but soon realized this would stand better as a fan post.
I have had this argument a few times.
We have vests that are less than 3cm thick that can stop a bullet, yet we need tons of padding for goalies.
Why? Because up until recently there has been no money in developing smaller safe goalie pads. Millions get poured into R&D every year for skates, sticks, helmets etc but there has been little to no progress on making safe(but streamlined) padding for goalies.
Don't need to increase the net sizes...who says you can't make smaller equipment that is just as safe as the Michelin man crap they wear now. Also, no arguments about how this will negatively effect the stats of all the current goaltenders - it will, let me explain why it is a good thing:
Yes, GAA will be one stat that will go up, and also save % may also decrease. There will be less shutouts...
EVERYONE will be affected equally except for the truly exceptional goalies. This will separate the 'positionally good' and 'system strong' goalies from those who can think and anticipate the game better than everyone else. Athleticism will again become important. Goalie styles will change and those who can adapt the quickest will come out on top.
Nike Bauer and all the other companies need to get on board... but mostly it needs to be a top-down initiative from the NHL and NHLPA. Commission these companies to create goalie equipment that is comparable safety-wise to what they have but greatly reduces their net profile. Experiment for a year, then once the safety tests come back positive force a rule change in the AHL for the following year.
After the one year trial (and a record amount of goals scored in the A) bring it into the NHL.
If you take away the so-called safety concern, team doctors will have to accept the fact that the only increased injuries will be to the goalies' pride. The NHLPA may raise some minor concerns, but since less than 10% of their members are goalies I would think the 90% on the offensive side of the puck would like to see this change.
The last time this debate came up on TSN(I think about 2 or more seasons ago) I emailed them something similar to the above. I firmly believe this option needs to be explored further and the NHL needs to be aggressive with it.
Let's be honest...do we really believe that the technology doesn't exist to keep the goalies safe AND reduce the size of their pads? Come on, NHL, get your butt in gear on this instead of wasting your time talking about making bigger nets. Why are we talking about throwing the traditional 4 x 6 in the garbage when we can make changes elsewhere to greater effect?
If you have a rebuttal, feel free to post it here but this is one position I will defend to the death.