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Crawford: Better ice, not smaller goalie gear, increases scoring

Geoff Burke / Reuters

It's no surprise that many of the NHL's goaltenders aren't fans of the less bulky equipment being rolled out across the league, but one netminder has a different method in mind to boost offense.

Corey Crawford says ice conditions play a larger role in determining quality of play than the size of goalie gear.

"I've always thought the real issue isn't goalie equipment,” he told Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times. "The issue is ice. If you can make ice like the way it is in Colorado, the way it is in Washington, Edmonton - you make the conditions like that for every game in every rink, guys are going to score."

Crawford has played in his fair share of outdoor games, and he drew on that experience to further his point.

"Look at the Winter Classic, where plays are so much harder to come by," he said. "Guys are struggling with the puck on the ice, where they have to get their head down, to make sure the puck's (settled) down. If those top players have their heads up, and don't have to worry about where the puck's going to be … it's a massive difference. Massive difference between battling with the puck and making sure it's going to be on the ice, and just playing."

The veteran goalie pointed specifically to Tuesday's 6-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center in Denver, an arena known for having favorable ice conditions.

"I don't care how big your equipment is, if you can't react to it, you're not going to stop it, anyway," Crawford said. "Like, how fast was that game in Colorado? How fun was that game to watch? That was a fast game. You watch a game where the ice is just horseshit - it makes a huge difference. It's way more fun to watch."

Crawford tried out the new tighter goalie pants last Friday against the Washington Capitals, and the experiment didn't go so well, as the netminder allowed five goals in a 6-0 defeat.

"Tough one to try them out in," Crawford said with a laugh. "I wore them in practice, too. They're definitely thinner. It's not going to make a huge difference, but there are some little tweaks to be done with the equipment."

Smaller pants or not, Crawford has been inconsistent since returning to action following appendix surgery last month, posting a save percentage just north of 90 in the 10 games since he was forced to take a three-week absence.

The new equipment standards will become mandatory on Feb. 4.

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