Monday, September 18, 2006

Dangerous Curves Ahead...

for goalies and their GAA's.

By changing the curvature rule on sticks the NHL just made it legal for many european players, like Alexander Ovechkin for instance... to now use their #1 offensive weapon of choice. The one they're most experienced, comfortable and talented with. All I can say is...

It's just a fraction of an inch. But the difference for Alex Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals' star winger, could be immeasurable.

On Thursday, the NHL approved a rule change that increases the maximum curvature for players' stick blades to three-quarters of an inch, up from the traditional half inch.

Although it may not sound like much, Ovechkin predicts it will give him and other Europeans an edge. They grew up playing under International Ice Hockey Federation rules, which permit a curve close to the NHL's new standard. (The IIHF measures in centimeters.)

"You will see this season when my new sticks come," Ovechkin said, grinning mischievously.

Increased curve allows Ovechkin to put more velocity on his already hard shot, launch the puck higher from close range, and control it better in traffic [...]

Capitals General Manager George McPhee also welcomed the increase, saying it was the fair thing to do.

"It's good for Alex and it's good for European players because that's what they grew up with," he said. "It didn't seem fair to have these players, as kids, get accustomed to these sticks, grow up with them, develop with them, then come here and have to cut back. We want more scoring in the game and it didn't seem right that we would penalize players like Alex."

(my emphasis)
Yeah, right on dude, we don't want to be doing anything to penalize or hold back the Michael Jordan of Hockey. Smart move... good call.

Man, I can't believe how exciting it could be this year with players like Alex using their natural sticks. It might even top what we saw last year now that he and others have even more control and velocity on their shots...

With changes like stick curvature happening it's goin to be hell on the goalies again this year.

Poor goalies...

...sniff, sniff.

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