Saturday, March 12, 2011

JAMES REIMER: STRAPPING YOUNG MAN



God bless Hockey Night in Canada.

The 113 (or so) cameras they have covering a game makes the typical 4-camera TV coverage look utterly craptastic.

During Saturday's Leafs-Sabres game, HNIC once again proved why they televise hockey better than anyone when they zoomed in on (apparently just for the joy of it) the maze of leg straps on the back of Leafs goalie James Reimer's pads.

A few things stood out to me about this borderline upskirt view of his undercarriage:

(1) Reimer, like most modern goalies, wears his straps so loose that it's no wonder they don't just fly off to the main concourse snack bar every time he kicks out his leg. Of course, this is a dirty little secret to the New Age Equipment that makes it as easy to get your pads down flat as it is to get down to that funky "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack that was released right around the same time I strapped on my first pair of brown-leather pads and fastened them tourniquet-tightly to my leg.

(2) There are enough straps there to restrain creeper Hannibal Lecter. Scary stuff.

(3) Is the Puff Daddy knee pad puffed so far out that it is illegal? Fans of Stop da Puck are aware of my obsession with the little advantages NHL goalies try to get with equipment alterations. Like, perhaps, Luongo?

Rather than me tell you why Reimer's knee pad extending out from the edge of his pad may be illegal, I am going to direct you to the official NHL rules on the topic of goalie equipment and then, in the comments below, YOU TELL ME if you think the NHL needs to re-measure his pads.

We all know the league office measures all equipment before it is worn, but I'm told by several league insiders that they rarely re-measure once the pads are "approved" and a goalie has had a chance to alter them. This is where the "cheating" takes place. In other words, you don't steal that pack of gum from 7-Eleven until the clerk has gone back to stock the beer fridge and can't see you lift the Big Red.

Specifically, the rules states: "Layering at the knee is permitted to add protection but not to add stopping area. Any layering to protect the knee, whether across the front or along the sides, shall not exceed nine inches (9”)." Read the entire NHL Rule 11 right here and hit me up in the comments section.

Does Reimer's pad (and so many others like his) "add stopping area" to the existing pad? I'm not sure. So you be the judge.

And remember what a famous golfer once said and what, perhaps fairly or not, is a quote also ascribed to Leafs goalie coach Francois Allaire: "If you're not cheating, you're not trying."

Judging by what I see on a nightly basis lately, not cheating more and more means you're not a big league goalie.

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