SUN Hockey Pool

Goaltending great has issues with NHL

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:46 PM ET

Goaltending great Glenn Hall has a few issues with today's NHL.

He doesn't understand, for instance, why members of the Chicago Blackhawks wouldn't pitch in financially to keep the Stanley Cup winners intact for another season.

Hall, who helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 1961 and captured another as a goaltending coach of the Calgary Flames in 1989, said the onus is partly on the players to keep potential dynasties together.

"I'm a little surprised the top players on the Hawks wouldn't take a pay cut in order to keep the team together (and remain under the salary cap)," Hall said recently at an athletics reunion in Edson, Alta.

To get under the salary cap, the Blackhawks had to shed millions of dollars in salary this summer. They did so by letting goaltender Antti Niemi go as a free agent and trading key players such as Kris Versteeg, Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd.

Hall, who lives in Stony Plain Alta., also wondered why so many players reject playing for the Edmonton Oilers.

"I cannot believe hockey players wouldn't want to come to a team (whose management and fans are) really, really behind them," he said.

Hall is not a fan of practices, especially for goalies. He's not too crazy about punishment practices either.

"It's meant to prove the manager and coach are doing a wonderful job and they've got poor players," Hall, 78, said.

"A good team gets better because they get a day off; a poorer team gets the punishment practice so they're tired at game day."

Hall rarely watches the NHL these days, saying it has become a "goon game."

"These players are 10 times better than we were when we played. They're skilled players but for some stupid reason they're saying it has got to be 'goon' -- you've got to be tough."

He blames that on coaches. Hall also blames officiating for overlooking obvious infractions.

"Until we educate the officials the game will never improve," he said.

Hall said the most skilled player during his day was Gordie Howe but the hardest shooter was Hall's teammate in Chicago, Bobby Hull.

"Everybody used to tell me how lucky I was I didn't have to look at (Hull's) shot. I said the other goaltenders look at him 14 times a year -- I look at him 14 times a week, so please don't tell me how lucky I am."

Goalies during that era didn't have near the protective equipment they do now.

"I played scared," Hall said. "We all did."


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