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Campbell Responds To Goalies' Grievance

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
October 1, 2003

TORONTO (CP) - Colin Campbell rolled his eyes when asked about the NHL Players' Association grievance against the new limits on goaltender equipment.

"That's pretty lame,'' Campbell, the NHL's director of hockey operations, said after league GM meetings Tuesday. "We worked hard on this, and then you hear about a grievance.

"Is it all the goaltenders? No. It's a couple of guys that don't like it.''

The NHLPA accused the league of declaring new measurement policies for goaltenders equipment without input from its members.

Two of the changes, which were announced during the summer, included the height of pads set at a maximum 96.5 centimetres (38 inches) and removal of the plastic flap many have sewn onto the top of the pad.

Designed to protect butterfly-style goalies' knees when they drop to the ice, the league determined that those plastic flaps could be manipulated to stop pucks going through the five-hole. But some goalies, including Garth Snow of the New York Islanders, already claims to have been hurt by a shot because he can't wear the plastic flap.

"I'm still working on that,'' Snow said. "I'm still going to make the save, it's just how much pain there will be making the saves.''

Campbell stands by the league's decision.

"We did a lot of research on this,'' said Campbell. "We certainly don't want to expose goaltenders (to injury) but when you have things hanging down between your legs in the five-hole, what are you supposed to do?

"We only had one other alternative, leave the goalies alone and make the nets 10 feet by 10 feet.''

Snow has gone back to wearing pads that are similar to those he donned while playing for Vancouver and Philadelphia.

"I've gained more mobility, and if anything it's probably made me quicker getting from Point A to Point B and playing pucks,'' Snow said. "When I had longer pads, I wasn't as active (playing pucks).''

The new equipment rules will be fully enforced until an independent arbitrator who rules on the grievance decides otherwise.

Canucks GM Brian Burke says his colleagues around the league are completely behind the league's goalie equipment crackdown.

"On this issue, clearly it's gotten out of balance between protecting the goaltenders and cheating,'' Burke said. "And what the league is doing we support 100 per cent.

"The union should, too. It's out of hand, it's out of control.''

As part of the new limits on goalie equipment, the NHL will also revise the way it monitors goalies around the league. In previous years, the league would call ahead and warn goalies of visits. No more warning, Campbell said.

"Now we'll make random checks,'' he said.

Any goalie found to have violated any of the equipment rules will be suspended for one game and his team fined $25,000 US. A second offence will result in a two-game suspension and $50,000 team fine and a third offence would cost three games and $100,000 team fine.

"We have support from a lot of veteran goaltenders who were encouraging us to be more strict with the enforcement and reduction of goalie equipment because goalies don't stop pucks anymore, they just block them,'' Campbell said.
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