The NHL has been cracking down on headshots when it comes to the players skating on the ice. That is the right thing to do, but they seem to be forgetting something. There are two goalies on the ice as well.
Goaltending is arguably the most important position on the ice, and it has been said many times that you can’t win a Stanley Cup without a great goalie or a good goalie on a hot streak.
Same thing goes for quarterbacks in the NFL. The NFL realizes how important their quarterbacks are to the league and they have protection. Defenders have to get through an entire offensive line before they reach the quarterback.
Not so with goalies in the NHL. They’re just standing there, with only two defensemen guarding them who can sometimes completely miss a player streaking to the net.
Here are four reasons the NHL should protect goalies more than they do.
Alright, not just star goalies, but just imagine with me for a second.
What if Martin Brodeur was hit by a player early in his career and he could never play again? That player would have effectively ended the career of arguably the greatest goalie of all time before it even got started.
The Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs have both lost their starting goaltenders for a good amount of time because of players being reckless around them. What if Ryan Miller can never play again?
For me, that question would give the NHL reason enough to protect its goalies.
Now, I don’t mean to put all the onus on Patrick Kaleta alone, although he does give out his fare of cheap shots, but players that are almost expendable to a team and can miss a few games because of a suspension and not be missed that much need to be punished.
These players can take a cheap shots at goalies, get suspended and then come back into respective the lineup and potentially do it again without having to risk another suspension. However, the NHL hasn’t suspended a player for hitting a goalie this season, so, potentially, they could get a get-out-of-jail-free card, like Milan Lucic got for his hit on Miller.
Until the NHL says goalies are off limits when it comes to hits, the possibility is always out there.
Before the lockout, the padding that goalies wore was much larger than it is now, and they could take a hit and it would not hurt all that much. Since the lockout, the NHL has made smaller padding mandatory, therefore making the possibility of a goalie being hurt more prevalent.
The three reasons that I have listed to this point can all be assembled into this next one reason.
The NHL has been preaching for players to respect each other on the ice, and now it’s time to get the message to the players to respect the goalies.
The NHL has already lost Sidney Crosby for pretty much an entire season, Marc Savard’s career is probably over and there have been several more injuries that have happened in the past years that have happened because of a lack of respect. The NHL needs to fix this problem now and not make it worse by not suspending players who take liberties with goalies.