Discussion in 'Hockey Talk' started by Christoph, Jun 4, 2012.
Sorry, I missed this. Dead Puck Era. We seem to be going back to the pre lockout era. I mean, Darryl Sutter... DARRYL SUTTER... is having success as an NHL head coach & he was supposed to be a dinosaur from another era. We all thought the game had passed him by. Think again.
Sutter & most of his oachimg bretheren are defense first coaches. Defense wins championships. Offense sells tickets & it will always be that way. Look at the Montreal Canadiens of the 70's & their goals against. They won a lot of games with a smothering defense as well as goaltending. The difference was that they had plenty of goal scorers. They were more than capable of winning games 2-1 but they had guys could put the puck in the net. They also knew how to take care of the puck as well. So, things haven't changed that much today. Coaching may be different & systems may be different but it is still a defense first philosophy.
What I see as the major difference betweeen today & the 1970's is skill. Guys can skate & even stick handle but they can't score goals. I believe that goals are down because most players today have hands of stone. Tonight for example, Dustin Penner was sent in all alone on a breakaway on Marty Brodeur & he ompletely missed the net with his shot. With a player like Guy Lafleur, he'd have been money in that situation instead of chump change like Penner.
How many times have we seen missed wide open nets or glorious scoring opportunities missed because today's player can't get his stick on it or the puck does a funny bounce off their sticks? Guys like Cournoyer, Shutt, Lafleur, Bossy, Hull, Gretzky, Messier & others would have found a way to at least get their shot on the goalie. And either he makes the save or it goes in.
Penner missing the net when he was wide open is symptomatic of the way the game is today. Players who can't score if their life depended on it & for the most part a snorefest. It's all about defense. Goal scorers who can't backcheck can't play in the NHL & so we are stuck watching boring 2-1 games like we were pre lockout 2004.
To me the big difference between now and the 70s or 80s is that the goalies cover so much net that they often force shots to go wide because there's nothing to hit. I can't fathom why with how much the technology of protective equipment has improved over the years they can't reign in that equipment back to the size it needs to be to protect the goaltender, not seal off every inch of net.
It used to be that getting a shot off on net was a good scoring chance. Now that shot has to be perfect or you have to get the goalie out of position with a pass or a rebound or it'll just be swallowed up in a sea of paraphernalia. With how hard guys can shoot these days you'd think flying down the wing and unleashing a slap shot would have some chance of scoring, but it really doesn't 99.9% of the time.
Why do pads cover 4 or 5 times the thickness of a guys leg? Why are gloves 10 times the size of the goalie's hand? Does none of this seem a little excessive? Why not make the goalie's mask 10 times the size of his head? Oh yeah because it's there for protection. When did we lose site of that with every other piece of equipment he wears?
As for the Sutter not being passed by todays game like we once thought, well for one thing officiating has regressed back to exactly where it was in '04, pre-lockout. Referees routinely swallow their whistles. Sure the players adapted somewhat to the obstruction crackdown, but then the crackdown ended and now we're left with a league full of fantastic skaters who suddenly have one extra defensive tool in their toolbox: the ability to obstruct and get away with it. Really, are the refs actually going to call it when they'd have to regurgitate their whistles first? Probably not. If this continues we'll probably be more goal starved than we were in the last dead puck era. The goalies are better, defenders skate better... didn't St. Louis just set a record for fewest goals against this year? Jonathan quick was surrendering fewer than 1.4 goals a game during this playoff run last I checked. Don't get me wrong he's been great and seemingly shows no holes, but I can count the number of quality chances he's faced on one hand in any of the games I've watched. This is a far, far cry from the fantastic Hawks-Flyers final or even the Oilers(shudder)-Hurricanes series, which lets be honest was fantastically entertaining hockey. If the NHL does nothing to address the way things are going, well, my interest in games will plummet faster than the shrinking goal totals. And I'm sure I'm not the only one.
Here's what I would do if I was the Little Lord (Bettman) - widen the nets by approx. 3 to 4 inches and make them 4 inches higher (slight compensation for enormity of goaler equipment).
Also, make the blue paint more goalie-safe. State that an opponent skates into the blue-ice he's levelled a penalty. If he runs over the goaler in blue-ice the goaler's team is awarded a penalty shot. Other fines and penalties to give the goalie protection. However, if the goalie strays out of his blue ice zone he's fair game and only protected as if he was a regular skater.
I think a 4" x 4" increase to net size would add a little bit of scoring and the blue ice zone immunity would give goalies the protection they require. I might even shrink the blue ice zone by 10 or 15%.
When you think about how many posts we see every night it wouldn't take widening the net much to turn those into an extra 2 or 3 goals (or more) on a nightly basis. It still wouldn't correct the muddiness of obstruction but it's a step in the right direction. Goals add drama.
Crack down on obstruction (for good this time) and the game should be in great shape. Sure it would still have it's flaws, ones the NHL for the most part isn't progressive enough to fix, but it would be enough to satisfy me and hold my interest.
As it is they they are losing it fast.
Just anchor the nets back into the ground like they used to. First idiot that crashes the net and goes off on a stretcher will take care of that.
I think they should just rig the posts with explosive fireworks set to go off if impacted too hard.
Just paint a pic of Bettman's crack on both posts - that'll scare away most tough guys!!!