Nothing uniform about LaBarbera

Times Staff Writer

Hockey players sweat.

So, tell us something we don’t know.

Except not all sweating athletes are created equal, and some perspire more than others. Put Kings goalie Jason LaBarbera squarely in that latter camp, which has created some interesting challenges for this season.

The new Reebok Edge uniform system may be too efficient in repelling sweat from jerseys, so much so that it is wreaking havoc with LaBarbera’s gloves. He said that he probably doesn’t shoot the puck quite as well at the end of the period because of his slippery hands.

“I sweat a lot. I’m kind of known for it,” LaBarbera said recently. “I’ve always been like that. I’ve noticed it more so in my gloves this year than anything. You can feel it dripping into your gloves.”


Not that it has affected his statistics.

This season, LaBarbera is 4-2-0 with a goals-against average of 2.06 and one shutout, which came against Nashville on Oct. 23, earning him the NHL’s No. 1 Star award for his work in the last week.

The Kings have won four straight -- all with LaBarbera in goal -- and he has allowed four goals in that stretch and two in his last three starts.

Back to the equipment. Players throughout the league have registered their concerns, with some saying the sweat is dripping through the equipment and into their skates and gloves. League officials have been quoted as saying that modifications have been made in certain situations.

LaBarbera has his own rotation going, and switches gloves after each period.

“I leave one on the dryer for the whole period,” LaBarbera said. “I don’t mind switching gloves.”

“It’s probably better that I do. In years past, I would get it dried and then it would still be kind of wet. Then by the third period, it was mush.”

Still, there is one side benefit to the new uniform.

“I will say this: When you’re wiping your face, it’s a lot softer on your face than the old jerseys,” LaBarbera said. “It used to be like sandpaper.”