“Bettman has only a marginal interest in the weaker teams. He only wants the NHL to make a bigger profit as a whole.” -- Dominik Hasek

May 2, 2007

It Never Ends

Just two days ago I wrote an entry about the growing tendency of hockey columnists to complain endlessly about fairly insignificant annoyances in how NHL games are played. Don't like something that happened in one game? Change the rules for everyone!

Well, the soul-searching continues. It seems that goal-scoring has dropped considerably in the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs, to an average of 4.9 goals per game compared to 5.9 in the regular season. Is this a sign that teams are tightening their defensive lines, shooting their goalies full of steroids or otherwise just upping their games? I mean, it IS the playoffs.

NO! It's a sign that the NHL is broken again and will probably need another sweeping rule change. Duh!

Damien Cox is the latest whiny baby to lament the apparently sorry state of pro hockey. Teams just aren't scoring enough goals for him, and he can't foresee many solutions, just a bunch of reasons to complain. Players are faster, he says, so defense is more efficient. The refs aren't calling all the penalties they should, he says, so pucks are easier to clear. Everybody and their mom blocks shots nowadays, he says, when almost nobody used to. The goalie pads are still too big, he says, and the goalies have an annoying habit of staying fit and athletic. Bastards. And finally, the coaches all learned their craft in the 1990s, when the puck was dead and the scoring was non-existent, he says.

He's not entirely wrong, but really, who cares? If the game is still exciting to watch (and it is, with the exception of anything involving Vancouver), then what difference does it make if the teams score 4.9 goals a game or 7.9?

I do agree that the officials have been lax on calling some penalties. You want to open the ice for offense? Start calling too-early and too-late hits as roughing penalties. If the player being hit does not have the puck, and didn't have it when the hitter started in his direction, call a roughing penalty. Those late hits will end pretty quickly. Do I support this idea? Not necessarily, but it's an option. That's not a rule change, it's a tightening of existing rules, which is always better than some kind of revolving-door rule change orgy which everyone seems to support these days.

Next thing you know the goaliphiles will try to ban the offsides call and make the goal eight feet by twenty-four. When does it end?

6 comments:

Teebz said...

I agree. Fix the problem by enforcing the current rules, not changing the entire rulebook for the third year in a row.

Damian Cox should shut his trap.

B_Washington said...

Agreed

Mike Thompson said...

Ugggh, this lazy sportswriting will never end!!! It's the playoffs. They're supposed to be tight, defensive games.

BTW, "Damion Cox" sounds like a stagename for a bad porn actor to me...

hockeychic said...

Just because they are not high scoring games does not mean they are not exciting games (well, Anaheim excluded). Is it impossible for sportswriters to just enjoy the playoffs or do they have to have something to complain about? You don't hear this kind of noise about the NHL and NBA playoffs.

hockeychic said...

Whoops, I meant NFL in that last sentence.

Dear Lord Stanley said...

hockeychic, I knew what you meant.

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