This is this story that brought about this little rant...
Scott Burnside is a good hockey guy, let's get that out of the way. But of course there is a 'but' here. He claims that since players can pass the puck with the skates why not allow them to deflect it with their skates? My first reason on why not to is because this is not soccer... but he addresses that:
"We know it's not soccer, but players are allowed to kick pucks to each other. They can kick the puck to safety. Why not kick it into the net? If they can, more power to them."
No. Not more power to them. As a goalie, my job is to stop the puck as it is shot at me, not as it's freaking kicked at me. I realize we are in this new age, where scoring is paramount and I approve of this... but really Scott, you want players to kick a puck into the net? First of all, they are wearing this minorly significant thing called a skate, i.e. sharp blade. Not to say I'm gonna get drop kicked by someone but the idea that someone is kicking a blade at me, not so comforting. But that's not even my main problem. This game is played with a stick. The primary use of a stick is to pass and shoot with the objective being to score a goal. If we allow kicking, or at least deliberately deflecting a puck with a skate, we take away the whole point of using the stick, or at least using a stick down low. Battling in front of the net to get your stick on the puck is an essential part of the game... you really want to just make it easier on people by allowing them to kick it? I'm no purist, but there's no cheaper goal then one that's kicked in. If you're going to beat a goalie, beat him like a man (or woman) and shoot it past him, don't kick it like friggin' Pele.
I've never heard more of a ridiculous argument in this sport. Honestly, if this doesn't happen to the Rangers does it even get brought up? Stop right here, right now: I AM NOT SAYING THERE IS A CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE SABRES. We lost that game with or with out that goal, the Rangers wanted it more that game. But we've never had an uproar about this until now, on a national broadcast that is so obviously pro Rangers its disgusting and no I don't need to back myself up on that, its a fact, and really I don't blame them at all... The cast is out of NY city, I don't blame them at all. But really why else would this get brought up if it wasn't for hockey analyst desperately hoping for the largest market to move forward? Again this has nothing to do with the Sabres, it could be the Rangers playing any team really, even the Devils.
I feel like people who think like Scott here aren't really rationalizing at this point. I know the game is going through changes, but the stick was made as the only tool used to score goals with because otherwise you'd have people chucking the puck into the net... that's a reach, I admit, but you take away a huge part of the game by allowing kicks, all in an effort to score more goals... Gretzky, Howe, Orr, Perreault, Richard, Lemieux,LaFontaine, etc didn't need to kick the puck in the net. I don't think Crosby, Jagr, Ovechkin, Thorton, and the like need it either. Let's keep a few things pure here kids, and that's simply one of them.
To me if you allow kicking then you will open up flood gates to clutching and grabbing again, at least in front of the net. Part of the beauty of this game is D-men must play the puck more and have to use their stick creatively to get a hold of it. If players can kick or even legally deflect pucks with their skates, how is a defensman supposed to stop that? You lift someone's stick legally to stop him from shooting... what are you going to do to stop a kick? Trip him? You don't think refs will be lenient to D-men for grabbing a guy when he deliberately tries to kick one in because that's really all he could have done? And if the refs don't, then what we have is a game of playing shorthanded, because how else are you supposed to defend that? That may be fun for some, but takes away from the most exciting thing about the game: the rushes. More players in the box = Less 5 on 5 = less transitions = less excitement. Just 60 minutes of overcrowds and boxes.
This is all extreme, but the argument being given by Scott is extreme, so here's the the other angle, find the middle and make a call... Maybe we allow the goal being debated because he went hard to the net like he was supposed to and wouldn't have stopped had he not angled his skate like that. Maybe we accept that fact that most goals in this game don't come down to situations like this and we keep the rule the way it is...
I will say this much.. Brett Hull is right: even if it does take 4 minutes to get a call in, it is better to be right then be fast. As time goes on and we tweak the rules and understand them more, and also gain more experience judging these things (after all the Toronto Review station is a pretty new idea) it will get faster and more clear.
NBC's announcers were terrible for this game, and not because of the pro NY thing, but because they feel way too generic. It really seems like they don't truly know who is who aside from the staple players and they are so concerned with highlighting the big names and teams that they don't really take the time to tell the whole story. I've noticed this all year, again, this isn't just a Sabres griper whining because they didn't say our poo smells like flowers. But they seem to not be very educated on the game as much as people on these very blogs are. I don't refer to myself, I'm an idiot (yeah ok, spare me the "yes you are" comments, I am at least man enough to admit it), but really these national announcers on Versus and NBC are too generic and too stuck to an agenda that is not for the betterment of the game but for a quick fix by trying to showcase the most known names to trigger the casual fans memory... guess what? the non fan watching the game, doesn't know or care who Jagr or Drury is, just cares about the overall game and if its cool to watch or not... if they get hooked then they'll decide on their own who is good and bad, not you guys. That's how fans work ya see... they pick who to root for, not you.
I said it before, I said it again, and I'll say it yet another time... the Sabres will live or die by special teams. No one is better then them 5 on 5 in the long haul, but you can not win a cup with a 1-9 power play. You can't. Period. Because eventually you will have nights like this where you will spend a huge chunk of the game playing special teams. They must get the puck in deep, gain control down low and cycle back, that way they get the defense running and the clock cycle working. This game should have been a blow out, but a 1 - 9 powerplay causes a loss of momentum and thus you can't generate effectively 5 on 5, and so you lose.
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