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Talking Devils/Coyotes Stanley Cup Final

from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,

Of all the teams remaining in the 2012 NHL playoffs, the New Jersey Devils are the most offense-minded. I’ll pause for a second while that sinks in.

You heard me right. The franchise least associated with a thrilling brand of hockey has become the lone on-ice answer to the drone-like defensive systems employed to varying degrees by the Washington Capitals, New York Rangers, L.A. Kings and Phoenix Coyotes.

It’s like Darryl Sutter suddenly being named Mr. Congeniality at Burning Man. But that’s where the growing menace of shot-blocking has taken us – and that’s why the league could have a TV ratings disaster of a Stanley Cup final on its hands.

That’s correct – New Jersey vs. Phoenix. Or as forcefully sedated NBC executives are calling it, “as many as seven roundhouse kicks to the groin with a knife-tipped boot.” It’s an absolute worst-case-scenario situation and it lurks in the background in large part because the league has regressed into a state where offense and skill are devalued at the expense of shot-blocking and defensive schemes.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

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It’s an absolute worst-case-scenario situation and it lurks in the background in large part because the league has regressed into a state where offense and skill are devalued at the expense of shot-blocking and defensive schemes

The disdain for the Phoenix Coyotes by some north of the border is awe inspiring. Obviously they haven’t watched the heart and desire this team has shown to get this far. While I love offense oriented hockey, you can’t ignore the monumental effort the Coyotes are showing. It is amazing!

Posted by timbits on 05/11/12 at 03:10 PM ET

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The disdain for the Phoenix Coyotes by some north of the border is awe inspiring.

Yeah, all those xenophobic Canadian NBC executives who are dreading a finals between two teams who have among the worst attendance in the league need to shut up.

Posted by Garth on 05/11/12 at 03:52 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

Gary’s parity bowl!

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 05/11/12 at 03:53 PM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

Posted by Garth on 05/11/12 at 01:52 PM ET

I see what you did there.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 05/11/12 at 04:14 PM ET

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The goalies are too damn big. Pucks still get to the net, so no need for new rules when the most obvious problem in the game is stareing us right in the face. The size of the goalie gear is making a mockery of the sport and spits on its tradition. Shrink the goalie gear already. Its as simple as that!

Posted by patrick oneill from yonkers ny on 05/11/12 at 04:52 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Gary’s parity bowl!

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 05/11/12 at 01:53 PM ET

Gary Bettman’s Honda Parity Bowl, brought to you by Comcast.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 05/11/12 at 05:05 PM ET

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The goalies are too damn big.

the size of the goalies pads has nothing to do with the 15 shots per game on average blocked by skaters.  Shrinking them probably just encourages more shot blocking and more defensive zone collapsing in front of the net to keep more pucks from getting through.

Posted by jwad on 05/11/12 at 05:33 PM ET

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The disdain for the Phoenix Coyotes by some north of the border is awe inspiring.

Yeah, all those xenophobic Canadian NBC executives who are dreading a finals between two teams who have among the worst attendance in the league need to shut up.

Posted by Garth on 05/11/12 at 01:52 PM ET

You can look at a story two ways or more, continually choosing the one that trashes a franchise makes it pretty clear what the intent is.

Posted by timbits on 05/11/12 at 05:48 PM ET

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So a bigger net wouldnt create more more goals either. Already teams place 5 guys in front of the net as is,  so how much more blocking can they possible do. To understand that the same amount of shots reach the net as they did in the previous year is to understand that its the goalies that are the problem to scoring. If you cant see that your blind. Give shooters and teams that want to shoot and create offense something to shoot at.

Posted by patrick oniell from yonkers ny on 05/11/12 at 06:17 PM ET

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and why should I give two shits what an NBC exec wants or Proteau for that mattter? If it is so terrible an idea that it is not an original six or heavily promoted team in the Finals, then just fold the league and start all over. I am sick of this media nonsense that a team is deserving or not deserving depending on whether it serves the economic needs of the league. Or that we should root for teams based on what is best for promoting the NHL.

I don’t care how many people watch the game, I don’t care if a lot of goals are scored, I don’t care which market is the biggest draw and don’t care which players are the most telegenic or media savvy.  I want to watch good hockey and hope the team that play the best hockey wins.  If you are still using the Devils-trap cliche, you are just lazy at this point and I stop reading after that. When the Devils were trapping, they were still also one of the highest scoring teams in the league so it never made any sense.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 05/11/12 at 06:28 PM ET

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If you cant see that your blind.

No, what i’m suggesting is that if you make the net bigger, or goalies smaller, you might increase the number of goals, but will have very little impact on the overall style of play.  And could in fact have the opposite affect that your looking for, as teams find new ways to slow the game and try to limit opponents chances.  As were seeing now, with post lockout rules designed to increase offensive, resulting in more teams playing extremely defensive hockey.

If you are concerned about “creating offense” is there any difference if games end 2-1 with 5 defensive players standing in front of the net and 40 blocked shot attempts?  or if they end 4-3 with 5 defensive players standing in front of the net and 40 blocked shot attempts? 

Thats not “creating offense”, its just inflating scores.  I think there is a difference.

Posted by jwad on 05/11/12 at 06:30 PM ET

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The point is to reward teams that play offense. Why not stand 5 guys in front when your subpar goalie will stop most shots that do get through. The point is to create conditions that reward shooting the puck. The other problem is that shot blocking teams play so deep in their own zone their transition game is equivelant to starting at their own 10 yard line. If your teams goal is to block shots for 2 1 games, how will that work when pucks keep finding its way to the back of the net. They may be ugly goals but the defensive only team willl have no choice but to take chances and hence open up the game

Posted by patrick oniell from yonkers ny on 05/11/12 at 07:12 PM ET

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Also I apologize for saying you are blind, that was not my intent. Its just the fact that i,ve been watching Hockey close to 40 years now and the most glaring change in the game is the size of the gear. People keep saying the game has changed but I disagree. Yea players are bigger and faster yet the way the game is played is remarkable the same. But the revolution with goaltenders is different. The butterfly changed the game forever.And now its aided by goalies who “get big”. All I ask is for the league to shrink the gear. Maybe it will not have the effect I envision but whats the harm in shrinking the gear and finding out. Also I dont believe for one minute that smaller gear will endanger goalies. I’ve watched seasons with 7 goals a game and seasons with 5 goals a game. Yet the year after the lockout with 6 goals a game average was one of the best seasons. Even if Carolina and Edmonton meet in the finals, I didnt care about their small markets. All I remember was the Hockey was terrific.

Posted by patrick oneill from yonkers ny on 05/11/12 at 07:35 PM ET

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Players too big Rink too small.  Watchthe worlds the other night.  Big rink lets guys get to net.  More room to show skill.  At least try it out.  Head injuries would be reduced as well.  The small rink stifles the skilled players.

Posted by 13 user names on 05/11/12 at 08:32 PM ET

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All I remember was the Hockey was terrific.

Agreed, thats whats most important.  My concern with any changes is the unintended consequences.  There have been several rule changes limiting and then reducing goalie equipment over the last ten years, but not to 1980s or earlier size but still reductions.  But improved technique has been as important if not more so.

Post lock out, there were a bunch of rules intended to increase offense, eliminating the two line pass, smaller neutral zone, increase in obstruction penalties and increase in power plays.

There was also a number of rules intended to limit or punish defense: delay of game for puck over the glass, more defensive zone starts for violations, no line change on icing, trapezoid.

Goals went up for a season or so, then back down to level they were before.  As a whole, i think the style of play is more conservative and defensive now then it was before the lockout.

I think any change will bring similar adaptation.  I also dont care about the average number of goals, as long as the hockey is good.  I can appreciate amazing defensive play as much as dangling with the puck and blistering shots.

I am with 13 usernames though.  If there must be a change, i think larger ice is the way to go.  I think it solves the main issues people are talking about; more open play and speed, not just/necessarily higher goal totals or less blocked shots, with the least risk for messing up the game with silly rule changes.

Posted by jwad on 05/11/12 at 09:05 PM ET

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Thank you hockey1919 . Best comment on here. Granted, I’m a devils fan so I naturally would appreciate anyone willing to stick up for them. But regardless of that fact, I agree with everything you had to say. And I too had to discard the article as soon as I read the unnecessary comment about not being able to confuse any of the teams left with the penguins. Oh no, what a tragedy…

Posted by Jamie on 05/12/12 at 12:30 AM ET

calquake's avatar

I am with 13 usernames though.  If there must be a change, i think larger ice is the way to go.  I think it solves the main issues people are talking about; more open play and speed, not just/necessarily higher goal totals or less blocked shots, with the least risk for messing up the game with silly rule changes.

Posted by jwad on 05/11/12 at 07:05 PM ET

Unfortunately because the NHL is a business and increasing the size of the ice would be very costly plus would take away seats (income) from the owners so it’ll never happen.  An alternative would be to play 4 on 4 the whole game but the NHLPA would never go for that.  So make the nets bigger or the goalie gear smaller are the only solutions.  Again I doubt that will happen.

Posted by calquake from a.k.a. Uniquake, workin' on my manifesto on 05/12/12 at 01:15 AM ET

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Timbits (and others): I’m wondering if you even read the article. One of the points Proteau makes is that New Jersey and Phoenix were both around the bottom of the league in attendance this season. So it’s not a Canadian thing - people in New Jersey and Phoenix didn’t care about these teams all season long, why should anyone else buy in?

Posted by dzuunmod on 05/12/12 at 07:24 PM 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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