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Where Did The Scoring Go?

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

So this is the new NHL. Huh. Not exactly as advertised. It is Year 7 now since the lockout ended, which was supposed to usher in a new era, featuring more offence, more attack, and more of the stuff that lifts fans out of their seats. So what happens? Goal-scoring, in that seven-year span, on a per-game average, is slip-sliding away. From a high of 6.1 in 2005-06, it dropped to 5.8 the next year, and then had seasons averaging 5.4, 5.7, 5.5, 5.5 again - and this year, the league is on pace for a new low, 5.3.

Part of the reason is power-play chances are down, also at a seven-year low (6.9 compared to the over-refereed call-crazy 11.7 in the first post-lockout year). But mostly, the NHL isn’t about offence, except when you get a crazy 7-0 Winnipeg win over Florida (those Jets periodically come up with some quirky entertaining doozies).

But on Thursday night, in a matchup of the league’s two top teams, St. Louis and Vancouver, it was 0-0 until five minutes into the third period when Alex Burrows scored against Elliott in a game that finished 2-0 with an empty-netter from Chris Higgins. St. Louis-Vancouver is a possible playoff match-up and though the compete level of the game was high, the idea that every game is going to be this close-to-the-vest style. Maybe time for a second Shanahan Summit. Something’s gotta change.

read on for a look at Erik Karlsson among other hockey topics…

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

Comments

George Malik's avatar

The league’s allowed obstruction in the forms of moving and stationary “picks” and lots of body contact on players attempting to go for the puck—as long as it doesn’t involve horizontal stick fouls—to creep back into the game. Clutching, grabbing, wrestling for position, impeding the progress of players away from the puck, it’s all become more or less legal again barring a few “fill the quota” or “if he falls, it’s a call” calls.

Itruly believe that the NHL’s decision to relax its standards of enforcement, perhaps with an unwritten desire to make the game “safer” as a subtext, is radically reducing the number of scoring chances we witness in a game, and regardless of whether a game finishes with a 1-0 score or a 7-6 one, Scotty Bowman had it right when he said that scoring chances make the game exciting, and when the league’s allowing players away from the puck to be picked off, allowing rugby scrum rules (i.e. nothing’s called, go ahead and play football on ice) during board battles for the puck, and especially allowing players with the puck to be literally wrestled off the puck or wrestled to the ice, you’re not going to witness many scoring chances.

The league’s calling obstruction and interference penalties at playoff levels, and I shudder to think about the amount of old-school, pre-lockout cattle-roping that we’re going to see let go this spring.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 03/02/12 at 04:46 PM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

Bang on as usual George.
Luckily, the rulebook is already written, so the remedy only lies in applying it.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 03/02/12 at 04:50 PM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

“so the remedy only lies in applying it.”

With the referees currently being used in the NHL? Good luck with that.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 03/02/12 at 04:58 PM ET

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The PP are down, but also the SV% are way up.  Record highs for most goalies and it’s looking like the all time, single season SV% record is going to be beat for the second year in a row.

There are multiple reasons for the scoring drought.  Allowing hits to the head knocks the top talent out for long portions of the season….See Crosby, or just about any other super star that has been sidelined most of the season due to a no talent goon.

Goalies are as big as ever in the equipment.  There is no need for the pads to be as wide as they are.  The league should try to maintain an average SV% of .900 year to year.

The refs have been terrible on average since the all star game as stated above.  They aren’t calling any penalties.  Hooking - that’s OK, Holding - OK too, roughing - OK as long as you don’t knock a guy down.  Interference - What’s that?.  Where did Shanaban go?

Combine these all together and you get the bad NHL product where skilled guys are either in the pressbox with headaches, or trying to drag a player on their back to the goal to get a bad shot on an oversize goalie.

Posted by William Knestrick from United States on 03/02/12 at 05:05 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

The solution seems to be more Shootouts.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 03/02/12 at 05:22 PM ET

calquake's avatar

The league’s calling obstruction and interference penalties at playoff levels, and I shudder to think about the amount of old-school, pre-lockout cattle-roping that we’re going to see let go this spring.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 03/02/12 at 02:46 PM ET

If that’s the case George then I see Nashville as a contender for coming out of the West.

Posted by calquake on 03/02/12 at 05:25 PM ET

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I actually like the low scoring games. Much more fun than the high scoring slug fests.

Posted by pharena on 03/02/12 at 05:32 PM ET

Avatar

So this is the new NHL. Huh. Not exactly as advertised. It is Year 7 now since the lockout ended, which was supposed to usher in a new era, featuring more offence, more attack, and more of the stuff that lifts fans out of their seats.

I see all of that since the lock out. Skilled guys have more room and have been doing some fancy footwork.

Posted by Globeblows from hell on 03/02/12 at 05:49 PM ET

Link_Gaetz's avatar

1) Drastically cut back on all goalie equipment - pads, glove, blocker, chest protector. Make them the exact same size they were in the early 80s. With advances in technology (kevlar and such), the goalies can still be very protected.

2) If goalies bitch about not having enough protection due to the velocity of all players’ shots, ban composite sticks in the NHL. Make it like baseball - you can use composite until you are in the Majors.

3) ????


4) Profit.

Posted by Link_Gaetz on 03/02/12 at 06:57 PM ET

Avatar

1.  half the most skilled guys are currently in the press box suffering from some form of head injury.

2.  the other half are currenlty being mugged by career AHLer’s who are too slow to skate and resort to nearly anything that would have been called an interferance 3 years ago.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 03/02/12 at 07:04 PM ET

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1. New refs who actually call the game according to the rule book. Hooking players are back in fashion.  2. Goalie pads 10 inch wide and nothing higher than 35 inches high. Blockers one inch smaller and goalie gloves reduced from 18 inches from wrist to top of web to 15 inches.  3. No defensive zone hand pass.  4. Penalty shot for any player beside the goalie covering the puck with any part of his body, not just his hand, and with any part of his body in the crease even if puck is not in the crease.  5. Maybe try those experimental posts, it seems that whatever angle the puck hits even the inside of thepost italways bouncesout never in. This is just a thought though i dont know enough aboutthem.

Posted by pat on 03/03/12 at 12:41 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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