Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 01/10/08 at 04:39 PM ET
From James Deacon at AOL Sports Canada,
Still, most fans agree the pace has quickened and there is more excitement. And the fact is that the current goal-scoring rate, while down, exceeds the 5.14 goals-per-game average from the last pre-rules change season, 2003-04.
So if the game’s moving in the right direction, why are goal totals heading the other way? Some rarely cited stats offer insight: the difference in the last three seasons is entirely made up by a drop in power-play goals. There have been eight fewer penalty minutes per game this season compared to the same period in 2005-06, and the current number of even-strength goals through 637 games is 2,434, exactly the same total as two seasons ago.
To some, that suggests referees have eased up. But players and refs say the big difference is that players’ behaviour has changed. Four years ago you practically had to draw blood to be penalized for hooking, so water-skiing was the defensive technique of choice.
Not any more.
more… on the “new” NHL and its unlikely poster boy, Brendan Shanahan
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