I was a goalie. In the age of saw dust, horse hair and leather. My chest protector was a glorified catchers chest protector. My arm pats were not much better. My leg pads just rose to the bottom of my quads (and I was considered a cheater for that in my day). In my pads and gear I was about 3 inches wider at the shoulders or across the chest. Fast forward 30 years. The equipment is 100% better at protecting. It is lighter, doesn't absorb sweat/water the way the old gear did. It is also 100% bigger...and for no reason.
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Garth Snow has a lot to answer for. He was the first "pumped up" goalie that I can remember. He intentionally wore oversized pads to make his already considerable frame larger and take up even more of the net. It helped make him an NHL goalie. It lead to oversized gear being the norm. Tiny goalies look like the Pillsbury Doughboy. There is no goal to shoot at if they are even marginally capable of covering angles. Add in the butterfly and the overlong leg pads and the catching glove that is the size of a a picnic basket and shooters don't have a chance.
The sad thing is that the equipment is so good it doesn't have to be oversized. That is a matter of choice. Chest/shoulder and arm protection doesn't need to be over 1.5". Leg pads don't need to extend three inches up the thigh .... 1 " over the knee joint is sufficient to offer protection. It is time that the league stepped in and mandated that goalies equipment not over augment their size. The modern equipment is so good that the only reason to oversize the equipment is for the goalie to have an unfair edge. Like MLB after the season of the pitcher lowering the mound, the NHL has to take a long hard look at the size of goaltending equipment and reduce the allowed size of pads.
I am not suggesting that the league do anything to make goalies less safe, I am suggesting that they enforce the dimension rules that are on the book and then work with equipment companies to get more and more goalies to downsize their gear. We will see a greater separation between the mediocre goalies and the great goalies. And shooters will have that extra 1-2" to shoot at/sneak the puck through.
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