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How To Stop The Shot-Blocking

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

In the mid-1990s, during the NHL’s original dead-puck era, former coach and general manager Pierre Pagé floated a unique idea that may have merit again as scoring shrinks and the game has turned into an exercise in shot-blocking, where the majority of goals are scored on ricochets, deflections or other happenstance.

What’s on display in these playoffs isn’t hockey, it’s pinball.

Seeking a way to enhance offence, Pagé proposed that the NHL introduce a modified version of basketball’s three-in-the-key rule. The rule states that an offensive player shall not remain in the key for more than three seconds. Pagé’s application to hockey would affect both offensive and defensive players, with the primary goal to keep the area in front of the net unclogged.

It’s an idea worth considering, given how established the shot-blocking trend is today. Teams all collapse back toward the goal, with every player instructed to get in front of shots, even if they happen to screen the goaltenders. Under the Pagé plan, hockey could create a zone in front of the goaltender that perhaps only three, or even two, players a team could enter at the same time.


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