To be a goaltender in the National Hockey League is tough.

One must have not only the physical abilities, quickness, lateral movement, reflexes, conditioning to withstand playing upwards of 70-games a season, but also the mental capacity to withstand playing the only position in hockey that is individual. When a team wins it’s a team win, most of the time, but when a team loses it’s the goaltenders fault.

The worst part of a goaltenders job is the traffic he has to battle through to make saves. How would you like it if you had someone like Detroit’s Tomas Holmstrom parking his backend in your face, and you had to fight through that to make a save? How about Dustin Byfuglien?

There is no doubt that goaltenders have the toughest job in hockey. However, I have a problem with them.

Goaltenders expect to be protected to the max, they’re like quarterbacks in football, lay of finger on them and expect to get a penalty. Yet, goaltenders stand in their crease and hack at the players standing in front of the net.

Steve Downie was hacked in the back of the legs by Penguins goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury in a game earlier this month. Downie responded by turning around and giving Fleury a cross-check. Downie was then given a shot by a Penguins defenceman for touching the goalie. If that had been a defencman who had originally slashed Downie there wouldn’t have been a problem, the two might have dropped the gloves and settled their differences, but since a goalie slashed him, Downie is seen as a bad guy for retaliating. Why though? Fleury should be seen like every other player on the ice is. If he doesn’t want to be touched then don’t slash the player, who wasn’t in the crease, in the back of the legs. Downie had every right to turn around and give Fleury a little shot back.

Another example of this is from last seasons Stanley Cup Final, when Tim Thomas body checked Daniel Sedin. Thomas was credited with making a smart play, but if Sedin can’t hit him, why should Thomas be allowed to contact and hit Sedin.

Another problem I have with goaltenders is how much they complain about getting bumped when they come outside their crease.

Now, I’m not talking about what Milan Lucic did to Ryan Miller, that play should’ve resulted in a suspension for Lucic. What I’m talking about is when a goalie comes out to challenge a shot, but comes a foot-and-a-half outside his crease to do it. A player has every right to screen the goalie, as long as he isn’t in the crease, and has just as much right to that ice as a goalie does. Why does the goaltender automatically get the right to that ice if he comes out to challenge the shot. If the player is already standing there screening, why should he be given a penalty for goalie interference, if the goaltender makes contact with him.

Finally, the last, and biggest problem I have with goaltenders is how much they flop, and how they are credited for being crafty and smart for drawing penalties when they flop.

A prime example of this happened this past weekend in the Penguins Senators game. Senators goalie Ben Bishop maybe had his skate brushed be Matt Cooke’s skate, and I mean the steel might have just barely brushed, but Cooke received a penalty.

Now, on that play, Cooke probably got a penalty for being Matt Cooke, even though he’s cleaned up his act considerably this season, only 34 PIMS this season, but he received a penalty for the most part because of the acting job Bishop did.

Bishop went down like he had just be shot, arms flying, head snapping back, and when a goaltender who is 6′ 7″ falls down like he’s been shot, a referee is going to notice that.

That is the part that bothers me the most, Bishop was applauded by the CBC’s Greg Millen as being clever for drawing the penalty on the play. Millen is a former NHL goalie, by the way.

Why should Bishop be applauded though. If he had been someone like Max Lapierre, or Alex Burrows, of the Vancouver Canucks, who flopped they would’ve been roasted by all forms of media, but because a goalie did it to draw a penalty, it’s a smart play. I just don’t understand.

In my opinion, the worst offender in the goalie profession is Tampa’s Dwayne Roloson. He complains the most and flops the most, yet is rarely called out on it, but rather applauded for being a crafty veteran for his ability to draw a penalty.

The NHL needs to start giving these goalies diving penalties for flopping all over the ice, and the referees need to talk with the goalies and tell them to lay off the hacking and stick work with guys standing in front of their net, and if they don’t, then maybe the goalies can come to expect a few more hacks and slashes on their gloves after the whistle go uncalled.

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