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Why Goal Scoring Is Down

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.


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



I’m too lazy to crunch the numbers to follow up on this, but it is a seriously flawed conclusion to draw from the data displayed. There is a higher ES Min/60, so you would have to look at ES GF/60 (ES Min)...not ES GF/ G.

The article does show PP%, which tells us that if power plays were as effective this year as 05-06, we would only see 20 more goals.

It’s kind of stunning that an editor didn’t point this out.

Posted by Dave on 03/27/12 at 05:46 PM ET


Or the editor doesn’t think the readers actually care enough (or worse, educated enough) to think.

Posted by Kel on 03/27/12 at 05:52 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

there’s now a happy medium between that and the overwhelming pre-lockout levels of obstruction.

Bull. Shit.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/27/12 at 06:14 PM ET


Your so right, do they think we are fools. Even strength goals go up when you have more even strength time. Funny but the last 30 games the league averaged 6 goals a game, and if you look at the box scores or just watched the games you would see that almost every game the refs called a hooking penalty. Just enforce he rules, the players know if your willing to call penalties then they stop obstructing.

Posted by patrick oniell from yonkers ny on 03/27/12 at 06:34 PM ET


To Hockeytownoverhaul.  I couldnt agree more. The goalie gear is an absolute joke and needs to be streamlined. And yes scoring would no doubt go up. But if it makes sense the NHL probable wont do it.

Posted by patrick oneill from yonkers ny on 03/27/12 at 09:58 PM ET


To hockeytownoverhaul and patrick: I agree that reducing the size of goalie equipment would be better than not reducing it, but I really doubt that it would have a huge effect on scoring. Maybe 10 more goals per team per season, at best (which corresponds to a drop in league-average save percentage from about .912 to about .908).

Again, I would do it for whatever benefit it would provide, but it’s not like today’s goalies with 80s-style pads would get lit up like the old stand-up goalies from 80s used to. I think improved technique and athleticism makes up like 90+ percent of the difference between goalies today and goalies of yesteryear—pad size is probably a pretty minor factor, in my opinion.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 03/28/12 at 02:35 AM ET


To Sven22 : I agree to some extent that goalies would not be lit up like the 80’s or for that matter the 70’s. I guess im showing my age a bit but the 70’s averaged something like 6.3 goals per game without an overtime. Anyway i disagree that smaller gear would result in only 10 goals per team per year. I believe that it would be more around 20 per team per season. That may not seem alot but that would be like a half a goal a game more in a season, making this years average of 5.3 more like 5.8. Throw in better officiating and we would see an average somewhere near 6 goals a game. Thats why it makes so much sense in my opinion to streamline the gear because goalies are so good it will never become a lacrosse game. 7 goals a game is to much, to many blowouts and to few close games. On the same hand 5 goals a game has to few lead changes and too many boring minutes, not to mention skill players cant show off their talents. Some of the best Hockey I ever saw was the 05/06 season, 6 goals a game and the 07/08 season at about 5.75 goals a game. But alas Gary Bettman and company always find a way to ruin this game.

Posted by Patrick Oneill from Yonkers NY on 03/28/12 at 04:24 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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