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Darling: Goalies ‘punished for getting better at our position’

Scott Darling said there's nothing goalies can do about the league targeting their equipment in an effort to boost scoring. (Getty Images)

DALLAS — The Blackhawks’ Scott Darling knows that the NHL is going to keep targeting goaltenders in its effort to boost scoring. But that doesn’t mean he has to like it.

“We’re pretty much being -punished for getting better at our position,” Darling said Saturday, the first day the league is mandating goalies wear the new, thinner pants. “While the forwards get better and stronger equipment and better sticks, they’re taking away protection from goalies. There’s nothing we can do about it. You’ve just got to deal with it and adjust and get used to it and then try and stay safe.”

Darling has worn the thinner pants for a little more than a week now, and Corey Crawford has worn them in some games, including the All-Star Game in Los Angeles.

“They’re definitely thinner,” Crawford said. “It’s not going to make a huge difference, but there’s some little tweaks to be done with the equipment.”

One of those tweaks is just to make them safer. Darling said that goalies certainly can feel shots more with the thinner padding but that new models with better protection, while still conforming to the new guidelines, are expected to arrive shortly.

Darling didn’t expect them to make much of a difference in scoring, saying most goalies already have adapted, but future changes to chest protectors and other padding could have the desired effect.

“A lot of the goalies have been using them, so I don’t know if that’s the reason why goals have been up across the league [lately],” coach Joel Quenneville said. “These are minor changes. The goalies over the years, whether you call it a cheater here or there, they’re enhancing their size in the net. That’s what this is all about.”

Roster report

Vinnie Hinostroza was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game. But it didn’t sound as if he was headed for a stint in Rockford, like Nick Schmaltz and Tyler Motte earlier in the season.

“We don’t expect him to be out too much longer,” Quenneville said.

Follow me on Twitter @MarkLazerus.