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Is The Game Just Too Fast?

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

The speed of the game has changed everything, to the point where it is becoming time to ask the question: Has the game become TOO fast? If Gretzky-like magnificence is rendered moot by the speed and size of checkers, is the game better off? Or worse?

Sidney Crosby could, for argument’s sake, be even better than Gretzky. But the fact he is forced to perform every skillful act at top speed makes his failure rate far higher. Bouncing pucks at 2013 speed, compared to 1980s speed, are two entirely different things. And we wonder: Have individual skills risen at an equal rate to the speed of the overall game?

We have plenty of time for that debate when it comes in accordance with scoring points and making plays. Where the speed of the game and mounting injuries are concerned however, the NHL is quickly approaching critical mass. “[It] is something that needs to be taken into consideration when we make rule changes, or equipment changes,” Steve Moore, whose 2003 injury at the hands of Todd Bertuzzi had nothing to do with the in-game dynamics, said on Wednesday. “At times, the speed of the game does require that players are not going to be able to perhaps think about the long-term effects of a body check that they’re making in a split second.”

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Comments

Red Winger's avatar

The Mickster said last night he believes the game has become too fast, and Kenny agreed with him.

Personally, I love the pace at which the game is played now. NHL hockey almost lost me pre-2004 lockout. Someone described the game at the time like watching players skate through wet cement, and it was true.

But there is no denying the amount of injuries today are not occurring at a ‘normal’ rate; something above and beyond the regular rate of hockey injuries is precipitating the current roster of walking wounded.

We have amazing speed in the game today. Perhaps that is too much of a good thing.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 12/18/13 at 05:54 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

So…again…do we need larger rinks?

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 12/18/13 at 06:25 PM ET

Avatar

So…again…do we need larger rinks?

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 12/18/13 at 06:25 PM ET

Yes. The players have gotten bigger and faster and need more room out there to operate. Go Olympic.

Posted by A II R on 12/18/13 at 06:35 PM ET

SYF's avatar

The ECHL’s Alaska Aces play and practice on Olympic-sized rinks.  The last time I saw those guys play, whatever they did on that rink size completely overwhelmed the Las Vegas Wranglers.  And the Aces were awesome.  They played keepaway for about 85% of the game because they were faster and smarter on the smaller NHL-sized ice at the Orleans Arena.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 12/18/13 at 06:41 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

The costs of retrofitting (if that’s even possible) larger rinks into the existing barns (practically all of them) will obviously make this idea impossible but…

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 12/18/13 at 06:55 PM ET

Avatar

The costs of retrofitting (if that’s even possible) larger rinks into the existing barns (practically all of them) will obviously make this idea impossible but…

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 12/18/13 at 06:55 PM ET

when people stop showing up to watch Pro Clubs’ farm teams play because half their roster is injured, then maybe it will get their attention.

I’m flying back to Michigan this wknd for Christmas from Los Angeles. Had always planned on going to DET v NYI on the 23rd…starting to seriously question if I want to shell out 150 bucks for the lower bowl to watch half of our team.

Posted by A II R on 12/18/13 at 07:03 PM ET

Savage Henry's avatar

It would be interesting to see the individual teams be given the option to go to olympic-sized ice when they build a new building.  That way, teams aren’t forced into costly retrofits of exiting buildings.

I realize that teams are concerned about giving up expensive seats that they tend to sell.  In an existing building, that’s true, but in a new building, it isn’t.  A larger ice surface has a larger perimeter, meaning more seats on the glass.  It’s the distant cheap seats (if any) that will be squeezed out.

Posted by Savage Henry on 12/18/13 at 09:25 PM ET

phillyd's avatar

Posted by Savage Henry on 12/18/13 at 09:25 PM ET

I do think they should be given the option. Quite a few of the arenas the seating, particularly in the ends, are retractable, movable, so they can extend them for concerts, basketball or bring them in for things like monster truck rallies. What I could see them do is move back on say the player bench side and put netting and/or high glass up behind the benches like they have on the ends of the rink. This way the fans can see over the player benches but still be protected by the glass. Yes, they’d definitely lose a handful of rows on one side of the arena but I think it is getting close to that tipping point to seriously consider doing it.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 12/19/13 at 10:26 AM 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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