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Slightly bigger nets in hockey


VancouverFan69

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One of the things I find extremely frustrating about today's hockey is the lack of scoring. Otherwise known as the return of the "dead puck era". There are a number of factors. Ie, over-expansion leading to a watered-down product, over-coaching, clutching and grabbing, or today's goalies being so good. Actually, you have to really wonder if today's goalies are THAT GOOD. Not to take credit away from guys like Tim Thomas, Roberto Luongo, or Ryan Miller, but today's goalies are huge. They take up a lot of space in front of their nets.

If you go back to the 1992-93 NHL season, there were 14 50-goal and 21 100-point scorers. Even bad teams had 50-goal and 100-point guys. I find it ironic that Rick Vaive, who was an excellent goalscorer in his day, could score 50+ goals for a lousy Toronto Maple Leafs team for three consecutive seasons, while a skilled guy like Daniel Sedin cannot manage a 50 season on a highly skilled Canucks team. Even Alex Ovechkin, a one-time 65 goalscorer has been having trouble scoring. When Lionel Messi scores 5 goals in a 7-1 soccer game, yes, SOCCER folks, you know hockey is in big trouble. Forget about Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, those were generational players. But what ever happened to the Guy Lafleurs? The Mike Bossys? Even the Dennis Maruks and the John Ogrodnicks?

It is a "chicken and egg" theory. Are today's NHL players not as skilled as players from the 70s to the early 90s? We know they are far better conditioned athletes who train year-round and not just in training camp in September like in the old days. Or are today's goalies that much better than the likes of Billy Smith and Pelle Lindbergh(RIP)? Or is it that today's goalies are better due to their enormous size and not their actual skills?

There is one way to change all that. Make the nets slightly bigger. And I said 'slightly'. I don't want to see hockey turn into lacrosse except on the odd night or two. I always enjoyed a well-played end-to-end game with great goals, amazing saves, and clean bodychecking. That's what has made hockey a great game. Now, it's completely boring. If Sidney Crosby were concussion free, I cannot even see him scoring more than 110 points. What the NHL should do is calculate the average size of all the starting goalies and their respective backups and then calculate the size of goalies in the 80s and early 90s. The difference is day and night. But the size of the nets are the same. Make the nets bigger based on the average difference in the size of today's goalies and yesterday's goalies. This would make hockey more enjoyable. I would much rather see a 5-5 tie in the 80s than a 2-1 or 3-2 game that ended in today's gimmicky shootout. (Shootouts are a discussion for another day.)

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I think there are two key differences between now in hockey and 20+ years ago: improved defensive systems, as opposed to just good defensive players, and goaltenders and goalie coaches analyzing the position much more thoroughly, and perfecting the butterfly style.

Also worth consideration is just the size out goaltending equipment. It's not as bad as the days when Garth Snow was wearing a refrigerator strung across his shoulders, but I do think they should be limited all the way down to what is absolutely necessary to protect themself, and not an inch that is solely to take up extra space. Don't expand the nets; shrink the goalies.

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Bigger nets may create more goals, but that may not make the game more exciting.

I remember on this board after the strike (yeah, I've been around that long), someone said something that really stuck with me. Something like: "Don't try to simply create more goals; create more scoring chances." Scoring chances are what make the game exciting. A 2-1 game with a lot of action is much more fun than an 8-5 game during which the last 5 minutes are anything but nail-biting.

I think most hard-core hockey fans would get more out of "more chance" than simply a larger goal (though the OP is clearly a hard-core fan and is calling for a larger goal).

I think there could be some validity to examining how much of the goal the goal takes up and determining whether that needs to be addressed. I agree with aci, though, that you start with the goalie equipment. Regulate the heck out of that. I needs to protect the goalie, but not the goal. If somehow you're right that the people playing in goal are now larger then they were a few decades ago (however you may determine what "extra" portion of the goal is now being "covered", then maybe a slightly larger goal is needed; but we're probably talking an inch in width and no height.

But I'd rather that be a last resort. A larger goal is essentially the same game with more stoppages to hear the horn. I am not as hard-core as some people, so I could get flamed for this, but I'd rather the game be called a bit tighter...less "clutching and grabbing" and a bit more freedom for offensive players to advance the puck.

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Goal scoring since the lockout:

2005-06: 7445 (all obstruction results in public beheading)

2006-07: 7082 (okay, fine, the beheadings were gratuitous and messy)

2007-08: 6691

2008-09: 7006

2009-10: 6803

2010-11: 6721

2011-12: on pace for 6543 (let those boys trap play out there!!!)

So while this isn't the biggest year-to-year drop we've had yet, the fact remains that it's going to be the lowest-scoring year since the dark ages. The last season before the lockout had 6317 goals, and I wouldn't be surprised if the final figure were closer to that than the projected sum. This league is in trouble.

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Sure, you could widen the nets, make them higher, but goalies will adjust, and you could see a dip in scoring when they do, then what do you do, make the nets even bigger?

I know a while back they supposedly regulated the size of the Goaltender's equipment. I don't if they enforce that as much as they should or at all, nor if it did any good. That might be one "fix"

I kind of like the Olympic/International sized rink better. I think if the NHL could ever adopt that size it would clear up some crowded areas and provide open space. I know there are not many, if any current arenas in the NHL that could easily transition to the Olympic style rink without a big facelift, but who knows.

I'm not sure why the NHL went with a smaller rink or why the Olympics went with larger rink, if you know - please fill me in. Thanks!!

- I wonder if it has to do with the 5 skaters instead of the 6 skaters in olden days - the fact that Rover no longer existed, but maybe I'm just wildly guess here.

I'm not a fan of the goalie trapezoid, nor am I real big on the shootouts. They shootouts I know were implemented after the lockout to bring in fans and eliminate ties, but I'm okay with ties.

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Other rather CRAZY ideas to increase scoring chances:

-They're not going to modify NHL arenas to have Olympic ice, so make the game 4 on 4 all the time. Add 2 expansion teams to calm down the NHLPA.

-Power plays should be played out to their entirety instead of until a goal is scored. Would make players think twice about taking a penalty.

-If someone is waved out of a faceoff, the other player takes the faceoff unopposed. Would speed up the game and allow for some quick passes and scoring opportunities off faceoffs.

-In the last 5 minutes, a shorthanded team will be called for icing for icing the puck. Sometimes I feel like it's almost better to take a penalty once a team has pulled the goalie so you can shoot for the goal with no risk of icing. This would give the trailing team a better chance to catch up.

-eliminate off-sides completely...Blue line would only apply for hand passes and delay of game

-goalies cannot play puck at all behind the icing line

-A team with the puck in their own zone with no opposing players around them must attempt to bring puck out of their own zone within ten seconds or they incur a face-off in their own zone. This would eliminate the standing around since the other team is trapping garbage we saw with Philly/TB earlier this year.

-shorthanded goals count for 2...teams could elect to play shorthanded to try to catch up late in the game

-only two players may change during a stoppage...this would lead to more line changes during play and screwed up line changes can lead to scoring chances

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Outside the stars (Gretzky, Bossy, Mario, and later Hull) the 80's was arguably the most watered down and least talented era of the NHL. The skill in defensemen and goaltenders far less that what it is now (not to mention goaltending equipment at the time lagged behind the technology for the skates ans sticks at the time). That is what led it to being a higher scoring era, which in hockey history was the exception. Sure there has been expansion since, but there are also more Americans and Europeans in the league now to more than offset it and raise the level in skill.

Again the 80's and early 90's as far as offense is an historical anomaly up there with the WWII era. Outside of that era hockey from a goal scoring standpoint has been closer to what it is now than what it was then. The Original 6 era for instance the average gpg was what is about currently.

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-A team with the puck in their own zone with no opposing players around them must attempt to bring puck out of their own zone within ten seconds or they incur a face-off in their own zone. This would eliminate the standing around since the other team is trapping garbage we saw with Philly/TB earlier this year.

Congratulations, you've eliminated forechecking. Now everyone will have no choice but to skate right into the teeth of a stacked blue line. Correcting the Lightning/Flyers incident by eliminating what the Flyers did is sort of like tackling drunk driving by insisting that everyone would loosen up about who's out there if they'd just have a few first.

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-A team with the puck in their own zone with no opposing players around them must attempt to bring puck out of their own zone within ten seconds or they incur a face-off in their own zone. This would eliminate the standing around since the other team is trapping garbage we saw with Philly/TB earlier this year.

Congratulations, you've eliminated forechecking. Now everyone will have no choice but to skate right into the teeth of a stacked blue line. Correcting the Lightning/Flyers incident by eliminating what the Flyers did is sort of like tackling drunk driving by insisting that everyone would loosen up about who's out there if they'd just have a few first.

Whoops...not the intent. But I do know that fans will get pissed if incidents like that one happen on a more regular basis.

I researched it a bit to find some ideas from people who clearly know more about hockey than I do, and I found a few reasonable ones:

-make the blue line a bit wider

-one player may enter the offensive zone ahead of the puck (the blog I found referred to it as a rover...was this the same rover that was in the early days of hockey)?

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I researched it a bit to find some ideas from people who clearly know more about hockey than I do, and I found a few reasonable ones:

-make the blue line a bit wider

-one player may enter the offensive zone ahead of the puck (the blog I found referred to it as a rover...was this the same rover that was in the early days of hockey)?

The rover was a sixth skater who played between the forwards and defensemen (who were then called the point and the cover-point). I think the existence of a seventh man on the ice predates the forward pass, so no. And you can't send a man over the blue line before the puck is there, or else I'd have had Byfuglien's ass in Luongo's face before he even saw the play coming.

Elwood's got it. Occam's Razor, people. Enforce the rules on the books, and the game opens right back up again. Against premier athletes and deep passes, the NZT, left wing lock, "commitment to conscientious team defense with the patience to exploit the opposition's mistakes"--whatever the hell you want to call the system crap that's gunking up our fair league, it can't exist without coloring outside the lines, so to speak. Without unpenalized obstruction, traps have no teeth. So penalize it again. That will either yield more power play opportunities, or force teams largely composed of replacement-level organizational soldiers to take a more finesse-based approach (not that I'd stoop to naming names, but they could also stand to take a move-to-Quebec-City approach or a stop-wearing-yellow-sweaters-with-guitar-strings-on-the-numbers approach, too).

The reason hockey can never be the greatest game in the world is that it lies too often. You can't run a trap in baseball; you either succeed or fail at every event of a game. You can't fake it in tennis. Even basketball, for all its glitches, generally allows for superior talent to prevail at its highest level. But if your non-elite players can flourish with regularity against and amidst elite players, then you don't have a very legitimate game on your hands. No, the race is not always to the swift, but the swift doesn't have someone tugging at his shirt the whole time, either.

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Other rather CRAZY ideas to increase scoring chances:

-They're not going to modify NHL arenas to have Olympic ice, so make the game 4 on 4 all the time. Add 2 expansion teams to calm down the NHLPA.

-Power plays should be played out to their entirety instead of until a goal is scored. Would make players think twice about taking a penalty.

-If someone is waved out of a faceoff, the other player takes the faceoff unopposed. Would speed up the game and allow for some quick passes and scoring opportunities off faceoffs.

-In the last 5 minutes, a shorthanded team will be called for icing for icing the puck. Sometimes I feel like it's almost better to take a penalty once a team has pulled the goalie so you can shoot for the goal with no risk of icing. This would give the trailing team a better chance to catch up.

-eliminate off-sides completely...Blue line would only apply for hand passes and delay of game

-goalies cannot play puck at all behind the icing line

-A team with the puck in their own zone with no opposing players around them must attempt to bring puck out of their own zone within ten seconds or they incur a face-off in their own zone. This would eliminate the standing around since the other team is trapping garbage we saw with Philly/TB earlier this year.

-shorthanded goals count for 2...teams could elect to play shorthanded to try to catch up late in the game

-only two players may change during a stoppage...this would lead to more line changes during play and screwed up line changes can lead to scoring chances

These are very crazy, but it would be interesting to see a couple of preseason games played like this.

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Why does the NHL have such trouble calling the rules properly on a consistent basis? It seems like every season we hear about an intent to call obstruction consistently, it lasts a little while, then falls apart.

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