Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/05/13 at 11:55 AM ET
from Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated,
... The nagging pebble in the NHL's skate remains scoring. As former Sabres president Larry Quinn told SI last winter, "The U.S. is looking for offen-sive hockey. So is TV. People became hockey fans because of Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Gilbert Perreault." Despite rules changes and reconfigurations after the 2004-05 lockout—new officiating standards for obstruction fouls, the installation of the trapezoid behind the nets (which limited how much goalies were able to handle the puck) and the removal of the red line for purposes of two-line passes—offense has been sclerotic. Since 2000-01 there have been 22 50-goal seasons. In 1992-93 and '93-94 combined there were 23. While the flow of the game has improved since the '04-05 crackdown on hooking and holding, hockey's red-light district (the red goal light flashing, the siren, the roar, the celebration) is not the fun place it was in the not-so-distant past.
"The NHL has been getting fans to the edge of their seats," says former goalie Glenn Healy, now an analyst for Hockey Night in Canada on the CBC. "It wouldn't hurt if they could get fans out of their seats a couple of more times a game."
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