Changes to the Game
I read an article from Bob McKenzie and Scott Bowman about some changes that Scott Bowman suggests that the NHL should make. Bowman is a hockey genius and those people that are old enough to remember the Detroit vs. Philly finals, knows that Bowman watched everyone try to stop Philly physically and fail miserably against Lindros and company. So the genius instructed his defense to just play the puck and avoid body contact. This sounds insane but it worked so well that Philly never got rolling as Detroit literally took them apart. So as a Philly fan, I really respect the genius of Bowman. This was not the only time he “got Philly” in the Finals. In 1976 he also beat the Bullies at their own game to stop the Flyers in their attempt to win 3 straight Cups.
Remove the red line for 2 line passes. This is a subtle change as Bowman says he doesn’t like the defense just slapping it around the wall to a forward at the other blue line to tip it into the zone. Bowman suggests making that a 2 line pass unless the defenseman clears the top of his circles in the defense zone.
Analysis: While I agree that the play Bowman described requires little ability for the defenseman, but his rule would prevent the stretch pass that so many great defenseman (Chris Pronger) makes from the side of his goal and hits a forward in stride for great offensive chance. For this reason I will accept the wrap around play for the chance to watch the great passers make the stretch pass.
Remove the trapezoid and let goalies play the puck everywhere. Bowman says the goalie playing the puck provides safety for the defenseman.
Analysis: I agree with this on one condition, and that would be that the goalie cannot pass the puck across the blue line. This would be effectively like a hand pass in the defensive zone. I like the protection of the defenseman, but I don’t like the goalie passing the puck all over the rink.
Remove the automatic call for playing the puck over the glass. Bowman contends that the referee can determine intent of the player.
Analysis: I have said this very same thing many times. Please incorporate this rule ASAP!
Remove the tag-up offside rule. This prevents the slap of the puck into the zone as the players are in the zone.
Analysis: On this rule I disagree. Bowman wants the defense to have to make plays at center ice with the puck and while that is a great idea, the real result will be that the puck will be played in and an offside whistle will be the result. This would simply slow the game down.
Readjust the zones to be 60 feet each (taking 10 feet from each offensive zone. This would create more play in the neutral zone. He said that the sheer size of the zone makes the players at the point less threatening and thus the forwards collapse more.
Analysis: This idea has merit especially when you see the amount of blocked shots that are occurring in the game now. I don’t like this idea. There is always the possibility to limit the number of defenders below the top of the circles, but that starts to get too much like basketball. Let’s just leave this one alone.
So that was Scott Bowman’s ideas so let’s look at a few of my ideas. I definitely have less of a degree than Mr. Bowman, but I watch a lot of games and have a few interesting ideas.
• Change the configuration of the benches. I really dislike the “long change” in the 2nd period, OT, etc. This is a simple change. Put each bench centered on the red line with the penalty box on the side of each bench. This standardizes all line changes throughout the game and also spreads out the traffic along the benches during line changes. This would require that the scorer’s bench would be on the side of the home team.
• Stop the instantaneous celebration spotlight and foghorn. I really hate when these guy jump the gun and turns it on for a non-goal.
• Allow goals to be scored off the foot in any matter. This stops the controversy and while I know you don’t want players kicking with skates on, the defenders are already kicking at it.
• Make Diving a penalty that can be called without a trip, hook, or hold. This puts pressure on the referee, but once the calls starts, the game will look less like soccer with all the embellishment.
• Make the opening faceoff in the defensive zone for penalties that cover periods. This would assist the attacking team by not having to reset from center ice at some point during the penalty.
• Finally to equipment. Get rid of the fragile composite sticks. These things are awful. And remove the gladiator coverings on the shoulder and arm pads. These coverings are the main cause of concussions in my opinion.
The last thing is the schedule. The schedule needs to be balanced if you rank teams against each other as a conference for playoff position. There are only 2 options that are fair. Play each team in your conference 6 times (3 home and 3 away) for total of 84 games. Or play each team in your conference 4 times (2 home and 2 away) and 2 times against the other conference (1 home and 1 away) for a total of 86 games. I know this means more games, but the unbalance in the schedule really is not fair to all teams.
Good Night and Good Hockey!
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