As NHL goalies get prepared to face a new set of perils that almost all of them have never been through in their careers, I had a debate with a friend of mine on the impact of these rules changes on GAA (goals against average). He thinks the GAA will only go up .50. I say it is going up a lot more than that, in part because of the trauma factor on goalies having to deal with new sources of stress and having to devise new strategies to cope with attacks not previously allowed on them.
In addition to goalie padding being reduced 11%, goalies will be required to keep their asses parked in a trapezoid shaped area, which is not only going to create more scoring chances in front, but they are not going to be able to leave the trapezoid and intercept dumped in passes. Note that Ron Hexthall, former Flyers goalie, made a name for himself handling pucks in these situations and now these situations don't even arise. If a goalie leaves the trapezoid, it's a penalty!
Not only that, but with the removal of the red line, two line passes may be completed. The goal scorers can now camp out at the opposing blue lines for long passes that previously would have been whistled offsides. Goalies will have to watch for these plays developing, rather than ease up when they see an attempted two line pass.
On top of this, linesmen will have DISCRETION to wave off icing if the puck is sent from one zone across the opposite goal line because a home run pass missed its target. Players will still have to touch the puck on the traditional icing call, but the goalie cannot leave the trapezoid. Teams called for an infraction will not be able to change lines prior to the next faceoff. Meaning that goalies simply cannot relax anymore in these situations, especially if someone hustles on the other team and is able to get to that puck before the goalie's teammate. There will be terrible stress on these goalies.
The one thing I don't understand is if you are going to have a shootout, why bother with the overtime. If regulation ends in a tie why play an overtime? Go right into the shootout.......there is no point in having an OT.
Anyway, my predictions is that individual GAAs will go up by well over a goal, possibly as much as 1.5 goals per game.
The sarcastic Bettman was quoted as saying "We are going to let our offensive players, our skilled players, do what they do best." He didn't say anything about Brodeur and Theodore showing off their talents. It does seem like goalies are being treated like shit, both by the rules changes and the league's official comments. I interpret this as a response to the infamous Sport Illustrated cover story before the last NHL season which exposed how goalies were exploiting league indifference to the amount of padding and how the league officials were not calling penalties for obstruction and other rules violations that were making games unwatchable clutch and grab exhibitions.
I compare these NHL rule changes to Major League Baseball lowering the pitching mound after the 1968 season when Denny McLain won 31 games for the Detroit Tigers and Bob Gibson had a 1.12 ERA for the St. Louis Cardinals. In the lower pitching mound era, nobody has approached McLain's 31 wins nor Gibson's 1.12 ERA.