While many goalies are now wearing "ski boots" Marc-Andre Fleury is still rocking antiques
On goalie skates, cowlings, and the future of the positional footwear
DETROIT — Neither goalie played on Saturday, when the Detroit Red Wings beat the Minnesota Wild 2-1.
But watching from the bench, the footwear of Alex Nedjelklovic and Marc-Andre Fleury told a story.
Nedjelklovic, 26, is part of a growing group — roughly a fourth of NHL puck stoppers — that are using Bauer KONEKT skates. The KONEKT skates starting showing up in NHL locker rooms last season, first with most notable Bauer clients — including Andrei Vasilevskiy — before becoming more common after several NHL goalies tested the skate in the offseason.
The skate, and this is coming from someone who played the position, looks weird.
It looks more like a ski boot or speedskating boot than the traditional goalie skate. The laces have been remove, it’s just two straps, and there is a removable liner, which can be both customized and changed quickly.
According to Nedjelklovic, the process of changing in and out of skates take seconds. He can put the inner-liner on the rack players use to dry gloves, too, so any soggy feet are a thing of the past.
The skate is also designed with more flex to move with the body along the achilles tendon. According to Bauer it’s officially 22 degrees more flex in the ankle, which can create a more comfortable position and one that potentially limits some wear and tear.
“It took a bit to get used to at first,” Nedjelklovic said. “But it’s quick, and around the posts, things like that, you feel a bit of the advantage of extra movement you have on your ankle.”
There are some goalies that have tried the KONEKT and decided it wasn’t for them, Ville Husso for example, but as the skate gains popularity, and picks up traction with younger goalies — which Bauer has focussed on — the ski boot-looking goalie skate will become the norm for the sport.
Get used to seeing this.
And if Nedjelklovic is wearing the equivalent of space boots, Fleury is still wearing antiques.