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Great Talent Held In Check

from Damien Cox of The Spin,

The drop in the standard of rule-calling in recent seasons has contributed to the drop in goal-scoring, producing Dead Puck Era II with the usual excuse-makers and apologists making the same excuses and apologies as was the case prior to 2004. If one suggests an endless procession of 2-1 games isn't particularly enthralling, one is told to like it or watch something else, and the conversation gets only dumber from there.

The NHL game isn't designed for the Crosbys, David Krejcis etc. It has once again fallen into the hands of the lowest common denominator as a failure to take care of the game has again shown itself to be the Achilles heel of Gary Bettman and his long tenure as czar of the NHL.

It's up to the great players to wade through the muck and try to produce the odd moment of creativity and skill. They are treated as interlopers, rather than as the unique talents they are.

It won't change anytime soon, not with the NHL in denial once more. The players can do something about it if they like through the competition committee or they, including Crosby, just have to accept it.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

redxblack's avatar

Damien Cox is living up to his reputation. I prefer to watch a defensive chess match to an all out scoring contest. Maybe Cox should stick to all star games or switch to basketball if he’s so intent on seeing big scoring breaks.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 06/03/13 at 09:24 AM ET

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The only way officiating increases scoring in anything approaching a short term is by increasing powerplays, and come on.  Watching a game that’s played half on the special teams is excruciating.  All teams do is play catch with the puck at ES and wait for the next PP.

Offense is down because a) NHL goalies are far better and far deeper than they were even 10-15 years ago and b) coaches at every level have been preaching defense for 20 years now.  There are vanishingly few offensive coaches in the NHL as head guys anymore.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/03/13 at 09:57 AM ET

Evilpens's avatar

HockeyinHD NO!! Cox is right for once The Goalies look like the Michelin Man & grinders & Plumbers Hook, Hold & interfere with offensive players & dare the incompetent Refs to call it

Posted by Evilpens on 06/03/13 at 10:19 AM ET

SnLO's avatar

I def agree in part with both HiHD and EP on this one. Players do so much holding and grabbing, the refs aren’t going to call them all on top of all the chincy little stick-tap for hooking and slashing penalties already being called. It’d be three periods of specialty teams to determine a winner. No thanks.

Posted by SnLO from beyond the M-1 on 06/03/13 at 10:31 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

HockeyinHD NO!! Cox is right for once The Goalies look like the Michelin Man & grinders & Plumbers Hook, Hold & interfere with offensive players & dare the incompetent Refs to call it
Posted by Evilpens on 06/03/13 at 11:19 AM ET

Yep. The size of the goalies is crazy and the size of their equipment is rediculous. Make the players use wooden sticks and the goalies smaller pads. That just fixed half the problem.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 06/03/13 at 10:32 AM ET

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Yep. The size of the goalies is crazy and the size of their equipment is rediculous. Make the players use wooden sticks and the goalies smaller pads. That just fixed half the problem.

That doesn’t fix anything.  For starters, goalies (everyone really, but goalies too) are naturally bigger now than they were 10-15 years ago.  Yes, they have somewhat larger pads, but they’ve had somewhat larger pads for the past 10-15 years as well.  It’s not like that’s a new thing.  And now pretty much every goalie in the NHL uses some form of modified Butterfly.  And now teams very often in the playoffs block more shots than they let through.

Every significant advance in terms of hockey strategy the past 15 years has happened on the defensive side of the ice.

All wood sticks would do is take 15+ mph off the shots and give goalies who already stop 99% of shots outside of 15 feet even more time to react, and defensemen even more time to block.

When you look at charts which show where the HUGE majority of ES goals are scored, they’re all right in front of the net.  Within 8-10 feet, tops.  A weaker stick and 5% less padding isn’t going to do anything to change that.

In order just to keep goalies physically safe the equipment can’t be cut back too much, and their basic size and speed takes care of the rest.

The only ways to increase scoring involve creating situations where there are either a) many more odd man rushes, b) more area a goalie has to be able to cover, to the point where they have to come out from the net far more aggressively to have a chance at stopping slapshots, c) changing the parameters of the league to lessen the reward for passive play or, d) all of the above.

That means some combination of changing the dimensions of the net, the ice, the offsides rule, or the way points are awarded for losing.

And this entire discussion presupposes that less scoring is necessarily a problem which needs to be fixed, which hasn’t been proven to my satisfaction yet.  Is a 4-3 game inherently better than a 3-2 game because each team gets to cheer one ‘extra’ time for a red lamp?

A one goal game is a one goal game and overtime is overtime.  Those are the places the NHL shines.

IMO the issues the NHL has with their on-ice product isn’t scoring, it’s pace of play.  Too many needless whistles, too many pointless stoppages that are exacerbated by the refs not having control of the flow of the game.  That’s where I think officials are screwing up in a manner the NHL might actually care about.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/03/13 at 11:30 AM ET

awould's avatar

If the refs called all the holding and grabbing, it would result in more PP. But over time it would result in players doing less of that to avoid being on the PK 10 times a game. Maybe it would result in some of the 4th line ‘agitators’ getting demoted and replaced by more skilled players.

The goalie equipment is ridiculously large, partially because it is based on the size of the goalie, and they’ve gotten bigger in recent years.

I’d like to see a slightly larger rink - not olympic sized but larger - and a bit more consistency in the reffing, all the way from october to july.

Posted by awould on 06/03/13 at 11:35 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

In my opinion the major problem with the rules is that forwards no longer have to achieve their own separation from their defender: the rules do it for them.  I’d like to go back to a game where we let defensemen play defense, and force forwards to get open for shots.  (It would reduce injuries too.)  I’m so tired of the shoot and tip game that I’ll openly admit the Red Wings/Holmstrom pioneered.  It’s just bad hockey.  The game during the nineties made a lot more sense and was a lot more entertaining.

Give me a Brett Hull one timer or a Brendan Shanahan wrist shot goal over the garbage goals we get (on average) in the modern game any time. 

Also…. I wish people would learn how to properly spell the word Tsar.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 06/03/13 at 11:47 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/03/13 at 12:30 PM ET

You loves to hear yourself talk, don’t ya?

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 06/03/13 at 12:01 PM ET

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Also…. I wish people would learn how to properly spell the word Tsar.

Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers, usually considered by western Europeans to be equivalent to king, or to be somewhat in between a royal and imperial rank.

Czar is an informal political title adopted in the US in ther 1920, used to describe an appointed official.

So, since Gary Bettman is not the king of the NHL but rather an official who was appointed by the BOG o the NHL, he would be a czar.

Posted by Garth on 06/03/13 at 12:16 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Posted by Garth on 06/03/13 at 01:16 PM ET

.

.......and arguing for the sake of arguing reaches a new low, and fuch me for taking the bait…. 

Somehow I don’t think the US government has anything to say about proper spelling of Russian words.  The word “царь” is most properly rendered “Tsar” when anglicized/written in the Latin alphabet.  I studied the damn language for two years thank you very much.  Semantic quibbles aren’t really relevant.  Simply because an American used a wrong spelling in 1920 doesn’t make it right later…. man.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 06/03/13 at 12:59 PM ET

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When you look at charts which show where the HUGE majority of ES goals are scored, they’re all right in front of the net.  Within 8-10 feet, tops.  A weaker stick and 5% less padding isn’t going to do anything to change that.

It probably would. actually. Modern goaltending doesn’t so much involve making saves as it does getting to the position that maximizes net coverage and playing the odds that the puck will hit you. The amount of net they cover is the only reason goaltenders make so many saves through screens. The only reason they can stop a 95 MpH shot that could be going anywhere.

A 5% difference in net coverage is the difference between Craig Anderson and Brad Thiessen (former Hobey baker winner in college). These two goaltenders play identical styles. Key reason one gets Vezina talk and the other won’t ever have an NHL job is the 5% disadvantage in size Thiessen has (relative Anderson) gives NHL shooters just enough room on the edges to pick him apart from range.

Posted by larry on 06/03/13 at 01:11 PM ET

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.......and arguing for the sake of arguing reaches a new low, and fuch me for taking the bait…

It’s funny that the Spelling Police (who was both condescending and WRONG) is trying to pretend he wasn’t trolling.

Posted by Garth on 06/03/13 at 01:34 PM ET

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You loves to hear yourself talk, don’t ya?

Oh good grief.  Make up your mind, will you?  You whine about me ‘trolling’, and now you whine about me posting.  Do yourself a favor, goof.  If you can’t stand a substantive discussion about anything, just filter my posts and go splash in the kiddie pool.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/03/13 at 03:04 PM ET

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The amount of net they cover is the only reason goaltenders make so many saves through screens.

I disagree.  Goalies make saves because goalies now are so good the only way to score on them more than 1% of the time is to throw 2-4 bodies in front of them and pray it ping-pongs in.  If the size of the pads were reduced 5% all we’d see is a tightening of posture.  There wouldn’t be a pucks’ width of difference in net coverage, but pucks would have a harder time penetrating multiple impacts in front of the net due to the lost velocity, and rebounds would be a lot less juicy due to the same.

[quoteA 5% difference in net coverage is the difference between Craig Anderson and Brad Thiessen

Really?  That’s the difference?  There’s not, maybe, something like skill at play here?

Here’s the thing: it used to be that bigger goalies were a little slower and less athletic than the smaller guys.  Those days are OH-VAH.  Now instead of just making the kid who can’t skate the goalie, actual top-tier athletes are taking up the position and have honed it to an incredibly precise level.

In addition to just being bigger, modern goalies are also much better much further down league wide depth chart.  Just 10 years ago, not 15 or 20, the #11-20 of goalies in the NHL had guys like Cloutier, Tugnutt, Johnson, Snow, Dunham, Weekes.  Nowadays it’s Elliott, Hiller, Fleury, Rinne, Vokoun.  That’s not even a contest.

I don’t think there’s a modern day Roy or Hasek in today’s game, but I’d give the nod to today’s goalies all the rest of the way down the depth chart.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/03/13 at 03:15 PM ET

igrover's avatar

All you have to do with goalie equipment is reduce the length of the leg pads so that it only rises a few inches above the knee like in the old days instead of rising up to the crotch area like the current pads.  This would result in an open 5 hole and would make goalies adjust their stance instead of automatically dropping into the butterfly and covering the entire goal mouth across the ice surface.  Also, reduce the size of the catching gloves.

Posted by igrover on 06/03/13 at 03:29 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Perspective:

- The highest average combined goals per game in the modern era for the playoffs was in 1980-81 at 7.941

- The lowest was 4.04 in 02-03 when Babcock and the Ducks squared off with the NJ Devils

- In 09-10 we were at 5.978 and 5.607 in 10-11

- In 86-87 we were at 6.276

So what this comes down to for Damo Cox is 1 goal a game being scored for he and his wife to have fun at their cheese parties.

If you want to showcase skill better, grow the rink a bit.  You might not get more than a goal extra a game, but you can certainly market your young superstars to grow your brand identity.

If you want to create an orgy of goals and fun for the folks who can’t have fun watching strategy translate to 1 to 2 less goals scored a game, start a league based on the Strange Brew formula.

Goals per game source: http://www.quanthockey.com/TS/TS_GoalsPerGame.php

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 06/03/13 at 04:08 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

It’s funny that the Spelling Police (who was both condescending and WRONG) is trying to pretend he wasn’t trolling.

Posted by Garth on 06/03/13 at 02:34 PM ET

#1. So does that make you the spelling police police?

#2. I am to believe then that dismissing me without evidence is neither condescending nor unconvincing?  Or was that best effort of someone who was corrected and can’t admit it? 

#3 Who did I troll?  Damien Cox? 

I’d like to introduce you to my friends the pot and the ketlle Garth.

 

 

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 06/03/13 at 11:09 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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