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Johnson, Elliott ready for equipment changes

NHL-mandated changes have goaltenders reducing the size of their pants from Feb. 4 onwards

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY -- Chad Johnson doesn't mind slimming down.

The Calgary Flames goaltender is all for it, in fact. 

And with the National Hockey League mandating Monday that all puck-stoppers must be sporting new, trimmer pants by Feb. 4, Johnson is well on board.   

"I'm all for changes and shrinking gear," said Johnson, who sports a 16-10-1 record with a 2.24 GAA and a .923 save percentage in 27 games this season.

"I think it's good for the game. 

"Everyone knows there's guys around the league that are wearing gear that's bigger than they should with how they're built.

"I'm all for the changes and in the pants, too." 

New, narrower-legged, proportionally sized pants are just one step in the plan to reduce excess bulk.

Truth be told, it might not be much of a change for Calgary's netminding pair. 

"No change," Brian Elliott detailed after taking his for a test-spin in practice Wednesday. 

"Better than before, so that's good."

The pants will change.

But scoring, figures Flames goaltending coach Jordan Sigalet, shouldn't.

Not with such a minor modification.

"Pants are pants," Sigalet said. 

"I think once you see them start to cut down on the upper body stuff you'll see it affect guys a bit more. There are guys that abuse the rules there with the size of the upper gear. Once they start tweaking that stuff we'll see some more goals and we'll see guys affected more than with just the pants. 

"They're a little more streamlined. You go back to when they changed the size of the pads originally. It's something guys just adapt to. I don't think we'll see much difference in goal scoring or it affecting the goalies.

"Looking at them today, the pair Elliott had on almost looks bigger than the pair he had on before. Every company has their way of making them and some look bigger than others. 

"I don't think it'll make for a big adjustment."

The biggest adjustment, suggested Sigalet, comes in the timing of the change.

"It'd be nice to have in the offseason, get used to it, get comfortable in it, but guys aren't going to complain," he said. "It's affecting everybody the same way.

"It's not like it's just affecting our guys."

Johnson knows the whole goaltending fraternity is in the same boat.

But the Calgary-born keeper is still a little curious about how the league settled on a Feb. 4 start date.

"Timing … it is what it is," Johnson said.

"It's quick. But I think the league wants to prove a point and get it in there and get it going.

"It's like anything. You deal with it.

"I don't want to question the league, but it is a little … a month and a half, two months left. There's a push to get it done. They made a point that they want to get these pants approved. 

"You've got to get it in."

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