The NHL has an Injury problem, and it’s time to ask is the equipment to blame? The game is faster, and the players keep getting bigger; the same can be said for the equipment. The problem is it may be time to bring back some old school pads, and start using a few wooden sticks again.
In today’s NHL fans want scoring, and hits. It’s really a very hard combination for the NHL to achieve. That style of game takes keeping players on the ice and out of the trainer’s room. As we have seen during this year’s NHL Playoffs the hits are coming, and the players are going, and more often than not the player that delivered the hit has not intended to do the damage. But, with a few inches of padding between his shoulder and the top of his jersey there is only so much that can be done. A player can only control their body; they cannot always judge were the pads are going to hit.
The Players are a bit reckless with the timing of the hits, but if the NHL brought back the old “shoulder cap” style pads players would need to think twice before delivering the “BIG” hit. It would eliminate the fearlessness that is ruling the game. The new equipment is meant to keep players safe, and healthy, but I think it really may be working agents the game. Players know that they will not be injured after delivering a hit or diving in front of a puck.
That very fact, leads to more careless play and lower scoring; the two things the NHL says it wants to fix. Is it time to reconsider the size of the equipment? Yes, I believe it is time for a little old school to make its way into the new school game. Sure, the sticks look great, and from a sales point of view changing back to wood or the smaller pads could hurt companies, but that’s not our bottom line. As fans we want to see our players play, not watch them lying on the ice.