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Goalie Bowling?

by Staff Writer / Dallas Stars

Contrary to Sean Connery's archaic beliefs, a man should never strike a woman.

With that in mind I'd like to hear 007s thoughts on hitting goalies, everyone else has weighed in.

Of course the genesis of this hot button issue was Boston's Milan Lucic' collision with Sabres netminder Ryan Miller on the weekend. Since that run in (or run over) the opinions have flown. "A goalie is not fair game" the rule-mongers state. "They should be treated as another player when they leave their crease" the haters suggest. Which side is right?

As a former goalie you'd assume I'd be in the "not fair game" camp, and I am, sort of, but I'm not as sure as I once was. (I believe this is known as waffling which is not to be confused with "waffle-padding" - a Mike Emerickism).

Today's goalies are protected from virtually any and every harm. It's like they are the toddler offspring of the most worrisome, helicoptering parents that have ever existed. They're padded from the pain of pucks, cushioned by the rule book from the occasional crease crasher, told they don't have to pay the consequence when penalized, and are shielded from contact like school children being ushered by a crossing guard. Bubble-wrapped. Egg-cartoned. Coddled.

Here's my suggestion: Continue to protect them from players that recklessly drive the net and of course heavily penalize players who "charge", "board", or "attempt to injure" them, but also put some parameters on the protection. They shouldn't be allowed to just roam between the goal line and the blue line with total autonomy. That's unfair. They aren't called "goalplayers" they are "goaltenders" - tend the goal, and leave the puck play above the goal line to the guys employed to do so. To me this would send a clear message to all - especially the goalies - that if you play the puck above the goal line you will be viewed as "a player".

I think a lot of current goalies would be fine with this. They would be forced to make decisions quicker and brace themselves for contact if they did choose to momentarily "be a player". Most of them are now 6-2, 6-3 220 not the diminutive 5-9 of yesteryear when these rules were first authored and therefore could handle a little paint rubbing. Currently it's kind of a joke that a goalie can skate out, handle the puck while shielding it from an oncoming opposing forward, then make a pass to a teammate without ever worrying about being bumped off that puck in what is supposed to be a full contact sport.

Bottom line, they seem to be having their cake and eating it too. Maybe its time to cut their calories. They should feel free to look - with saliva in their eyes - but do so knowing full well that if they go touch it they might in turn get touched - with vicious enthusiasm.

Should I mail my Goalie Union card in, or merely rip it up?

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