Montreal forward Max Pacioretty might still be perturbed by the NHL’s decision to not suspend Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara for his March 8 hit.
But Pacioretty can take solace that now that he’s recovered from injuries sustained in that collision, the league has made a decision to try to prevent similar incidents.
According to Dan Rosen of NHL.com, the padded turnbuckle near the player benches will be replaced by curved glass. Rosen writes:
After hundreds of hours of testing that included the use of crash-test dummies, the NHL has developed a curved-glass system that will replace the padded turnbuckles, which were set on the stanchions at the end of each player bench.
The curved glass flows from the glass above the boards and runs away from the ice. It is designed to eliminate the solid termination point that used to be in place due to the 90-degree angle that was created by the two sections of glass coming together at the end of each player bench.
NHL Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig explained further to Rosen about the benefits of the curved glass and the reason it won’t be padded. According to Craig:
“That’s because it’s free-flowing. The curve itself is a continuation of the straight line from the glass and then it bends around. There is no place to put a pad. If you put a pad there, you create a hazard of having a shoulder stick and twist because this is a free-flowing system. If you’re coming down the wall at the players’ bench and there is contact, your shoulder will deflect off of that and you’ll continue into the play.
“So, if by chance we do have a player hit that curved glass, it collapses about an inch and a half and then comes back into position. Not only do you deflect, but you deflect and there is a cushioned impact.”
The Chara/Pacioretty hit has officially changed the way a NHL rink is built.