Monday, October 24, 2011

HALAK'S GIANT PADS MIGHT BE GIVING HIM THE BLUES



There's a reason why goalies wear long pads: They provide more area to stop da puck.

Likewise, there's a reason why goalies don't wear pads that are too long. That reason is the same reason why I don't borrow Yao Ming's size 18 shoes: I'm only a size 11 1/2. Meaning, when it comes to leg pads there is such a thing as too big. Yes, size matters.

How this all relates to St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak is that the 5-foot-11 netminder appears to be wearing pads that are at least 1-2 inches too long for his body. Granted, Halak has always worn stiff, long pads that made him look like a bubble hockey goalie, but when I got to see him play in person last week I was shocked that his infamous Twin Leg Towers looked bigger than ever. And his performance of late (3.47 GAA and .835 SV % in five starts) has been among the worst stretch of his career.

When pads are too big, it can limit your mobility, slow down your reaction time and make it all around more difficult to maneuver your body. You also can lose "the feel" of your pads -- notably from the knees up. Look at these recent video highlights and judge for yourself. This goal indicates he isn't "feeling" the ice with his pads properly, as does this goal that snuck under him. And, as for this one that ended up chasing him out of the net, it proved that even a giant pad isn't going to act like the Great Wall of China.

And while Halak's early-season slump certainly involves many other factors, we think wearing pads that appear to be roughly the same length as 6-foot-5 Pekka Rinne wears is hurting more than helping.

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