For this week’s edition of McKenna’s Musings, I decided to stay in my lane. All goalie. During the Stanley Cup playoffs, there’s never a shortage of crease-related topics. So here’s a closer look at two of the major goaltending storylines.

 

Goalies all know that a hockey stick might get through the cat-eye cage, but they’re willing to take the risk.

When Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper took a stick to the face from Nashville Predators forward Ryan Johansen late in the first period of Game 3, the hockey world collectively gasped. 

Any time something gets close to a player’s eyes – be it a stick or puck – it’s worrisome. There’s potential for a career-altering injury.

It was scary, and it will happen again. The way most goalie masks are built, enough room exists for a stick to work its way through the cage and impact the netiminder’s face.

Most goaltenders use a cateye cage, where the bars arc around the eyes. That allows for optimal vision. No bars obscure sightlines. But there are several vulnerable openings in the cage.

The solution would be to go with HECC-approved goalie cages that feature vertical and horizontal bars. Several goalies – John Vanbiesbrouck and Kelly Hrudey immediately come to mind – have used the approved cage with success in the NHL.

But it’s not the norm. The last NHL goaltender I can remember to use a non-cateye cage was Drew MacIntyre back in 2014 when he suited up for the Toronto Maple leafs.