Proposal on nets has twist

The NHL is considering making the nets bigger, with one outlandish proposal calling for curved...

The NHL is considering making the nets bigger, with one outlandish proposal calling for curved posts. The league's general managers will get together next week in Detroit to discuss a number of possible rule changes. (Toronto Sun File Photo)

AL STRACHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:15 AM ET

Curved nets? Larger nets? In the current hockey climate, nothing is beyond the realm of consideration.

When the National Hockey League's general managers meet in Detroit next week, they will do so with open minds, and one of the options under review involves a change to the size of the net.

It could be bowed or it could simply be larger.

The GMs will also look at changing the configuration of the pipes, which have been round as long as there has been a game.

But it has been suggested that if the pipes are made almost triangular, shots that hit the post would be more likely to bounce in than is presently the case.

The principle behind the bowed net is that because it is wider at the sides, the league's shooters would have a bigger target, even though the traditional six-foot width at the base would be unchanged.

But some feel that a change of that nature is simply a step along the way to what is inevitable -- nets that are wider and higher. That's another one of the proposals that the general managers will discuss.

However, changing the dimensions of the net, while garnering some support, is a move that the purists don't want to make for the time being, and as a result, it will probably fail.

Even though the GMs want to increase scoring, they don't want to make a travesty of the game and many of them feel that before they change a standard that has been in place for as long as the game itself -- a net that is six feet wide and four feet high -- they should exhaust all the other options. The most obvious method would be to return to the kind of goalie equipment that was in place throughout most of the game's history.

In general, the principle is that goalie padding should be something that is functional -- in place to stop injuries, not shots.

In the meantime, changes in goal configurations, no matter how innovative, are not likely to receive approval. But they will be heard and given serious consideration.


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