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"Quasi GM"
Moncton, NB • Canada • 37 Years Old • Male

*sigh* Bigger nets...

Posted 11:01 AM ET | Comments 1
Is the NHL even watching the same game I am? (I know you guys miss me and my blogs, admit it).

Brian Burke has been a loud advocate of fixing a true problem in the game: scoring chances.

Watch a game... really closely. Teams are so obsessed with possession and collapsing defense these days that most shots are boring ones from the perimeter. Bigger nets and fixing goalie equipment is going to fix this boring possession hockey? More goals?

The answer is a big fat NO. You're not going to increase scoring that much, and the magnitude of the effect on the game is not a tinkering, but pretty much sets fire to the history of the game. You don't tinker with a legacy, you tinker with the components of the game that are killing it.

And if you say "increase the size of ice", that is an equally stupid suggestion. Size of ice slows the game down because the passes are longer. This will not make it a more skilled game, nor will skaters be better in that form of hockey.

Scoring chances: that's all. That's all the game needs. A good sniper can still rip one on the goalies. And you want more goals? Weigh down the equipment again? The problem with sizing down the equipment is what you have in today's NHL; you happen to notice that all the goalies are six foot forty? Smaller goalie equipment doesn't make the goalies smaller. They'll still cover perimeter shots better! The smaller the goalie equipment gets, the taller the goalies get; you're really just cutting careers short.

1. Neutral zone: A change I've suggested for two years now is simply unlocking the neutral zone: make body checks illegal in the neutral zone.

2. Road hockey offside: consider a road hockey offside rule (where the puck has to pass the red line before players need to leave the zone once entry is established). That way, zone pressure can tilt the game a little more.

3. Address the clogged areas in front of the net: You also want to open up the front of the net when you're playing zone pressure. When you watch the playoffs, it's just a bunch of bodies they throw in front, so teams default to try to score what I call "chaos" goals that take two deflections before going in. It's lame.

Take basketball for example (though it's not the most interesting sport, it's a popular one): you see players making plays all the time in order to score. They don't try to bounce balls off of player heads to get it in the net. If they did, the game would start to become as lame as hockey is becoming with all this possession/cycle hockey/zone collapsing/chaos goals crap that we've been watching for the past 8 years.

4. Tame the blocked shots: you address concussion issues and what not, so you're looking at fighting (where at least fights are entertaining), but you don't address blocked shots even though it's the most dangerous part of the game. Try to mitigate these: in the NBA, there's a rule called goaltending. In soccer, players are not allowed to play the balls with their arms. So what do you do in the NHL? I can think of one: don't allow forwards to block shots with any part of their body except for their stick. Otherwise, give them a penalty. It might not be THE solution (because ref discretion and because players might shoot it at forwards), but at least it's addressing part of the problem.

TL;DR: Addressing goaltending and nets to increase offense in the NHL is like trying to eat lighter meat to get skinnier when you're eating cake for breakfast every morning. Address the scoring chances by opening up the neutral zone and allowing more pucks to go through the slots before you address the goaltending.

(Response to comments: calling more penalties has been revived three times and has died three times, largely because players know what they can get away with; doing something over and over again and expecting different results isn't going to improve the game. I do agree that the brodeur zone needs to be removed now that he's not playing the game anymore, but they can't make it look too obvious)
Filed Under:   bigger nets   bettman   nhl   more scoring  
October 24, 2022 11:49 AM ET | Delete
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