Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 03/27/12 at 05:23 PM ET
from Rory Boylen of The Hockey News,
Is goal scoring down from what it was after the lockout? Absolutely – the numbers show that clear as day. But the numbers also suggest this development is in direct correlation to the fewer numbers of power plays being handed out. And just because there are fewer penalties called does not mean obstruction is at the level it was in 2003-04.
The one common ground where we can compare these three years is at even strength, where there are actually more goals being scored now than there were in 2005-06. In fact, only 108 more goals were scored at even strength in 2005-06 than in 2003-04. This year’s even strength markers have already surpassed the first post-lockout season by 144, with a few games to play.
Is obstruction creeping back into the game? When you compare it to how obstruction was handled fresh off the lockout, yes. But, again, when you watch a game and look at the numbers, the NHL is not in danger of reverting to what it was in the dark ages. Too many penalties for inconsequential plays were being called in 2005-06 (i.e. minor, unobtrusive stick taps) and there’s now a happy medium between that and the overwhelming pre-lockout levels of obstruction. What we have now is a good balance of goals, difficulty level and, in turn, entertainment value.
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