Tim Panaccio breaks down the Flyers' preseason
Ray Emery believes the Flyers will benefit from the changes to the net. (USA Today Images)
There are two changes this season in the goal crease that will affect the goaltender, and both are changes to equipment.
First, goalie pads have been reduced from 11 inches above the center of the knee to nine inches. Less pad means more shooting room and a higher percentage to score.
The second change comes to the net itself. Although the overall dimensions of the net have not changed, the netting itself is now four inches shallower, allowing more room for players to maneuver behind the net.
If you go back to the 1960s when the net had two large circular bases, you can clearly see a difference in the space players now have to move around behind it.
This will be veteran goalie Ray Emery’s 10th season in the NHL, so he’s accustomed to changes in the crease and to his equipment.
Regarding the nets, Emery didn’t see it as problematic.
“You need to get your butt in there and move around and see if you are gonna hit the back bar or how your feet go in the net,” Emery said. “I think it’s good. There will be more room behind the net to generate plays around the net.
“Especially, with this team. We’ve got guys who can wheel and deal. It works as long as we figure out how to stop the other team.”
Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov had great difficulty with shots directly in front of him when the play itself developed behind the net.
“I guess that is what [the league is] trying to encourage,” Emery said. “Maybe there will be more plays generated from back there. We’ll see how it works. I got a system I play from back there. I’ll rely on that and maybe tweak it a bit when I figure out the new nets.”
As for losing two inches on his pads, Emery didn’t think that was a big deal, either. The last time the league changed pads was prior to the 2010-11 season.
“Pad size? Not really,” he said. “I got an inch taken off mine. As a goalie, you want to cover as much net, but it feels kind of good. You can move a bit. I’m not rubbing. You get used to it. You stay a bit tighter and don’t open up as much.”
Emery said he often makes adjustments to his pads even when the league doesn’t mandate them.
“I’m always kind of changing things on my pads every year,” he said. “There’s a few adaptations I have to make. When I tweak something to get more coverage a certain way, I have to get used to that. This is vice-versa. I have to get used to less coverage.”