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Ten Observations After Two Months Of NHL Play

from Daryl Reaugh at the Dallas Stars website,

• Blocking shots is the “obstruction” of the post lockout NHL. It’s killing creativity and offense.

• No NHLer has the right to complain about increased travel ahead of next years realignment. Chartered and catered first class planes, five star hotels, and door to stairway bus transit IS NOT what the millions of other business travelers ‘endure’. Nor is it anything close to what past generations of NHL players fought through.

• When the NHL and NHLPA get together and hammer out a new CBA (This is the final year of the existing agreement) I emplore them to change the practice of having agreements expire just prior to training camps, and instead switch to the NFL, NBA and I think MLB models where the agreement ends at the conclusion of their championships. Use the offseason to negotiate, not posture.

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Comments

dickshilling's avatar

my goodness, this is drivel

Posted by dickshilling on 12/12/11 at 11:29 AM ET

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• Blocking shots is the “obstruction” of the post lockout NHL. It’s killing creativity and offense

I can’t even bring myself to read the rest of the article after that…

HOW THE EFF IS BLOCKING SHOTS KILLING CREATIVITY? A shot from the point is real creative huh? If anything, knowing that a point shot might get blocked will CAUSE MORE creativity…

And to compare a shot block to a penalty?...who in the world is paying this man money to write???

Posted by pstumba on 12/12/11 at 11:54 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Razor is always entertaining.  I’d like to see him flesh out more about the shot-blocking problem that plagues our fair game, but read the rest of the points.

Hell, read the other point that Paul posted; it’s a good one.  His ten per week usually has six to eight good ones and I find it rare that there’s a hockey columnist that I can agree with more than 60% of the time.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/12/11 at 12:12 PM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

I actually agree with Razor about the shot blocking but I wouldn’t necessarily call it obstruction. What I don’t like about it is the fact that when there is any sort of sustained pressure in the offensive zone created by any team, the defending team usually ends up just collapsing and having 3 or 4 goalies back there just waiting for pucks to hit them.

The other thing I don’t like is the fact that defenders are allowed to leave their feet and lay in front of someone shooting the puck. Guys should have to block shots the way Stevie used to do it, standing straight up with their pads together and about 5 feet from the shooter. It doesn’t take any real skill to lay in front of a shot.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 12/12/11 at 12:29 PM ET

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Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/12/11 at 10:12 AM ET

I agree with him about the CBA, but the travel thing just smacks of “When I was your age I used to walk to school uphill both ways” garbage.

Posted by Garth on 12/12/11 at 12:30 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I agree with him about the CBA, but the travel thing just smacks of “When I was your age I used to walk to school uphill both ways” garbage.

Posted by Garth on 12/12/11 at 10:30 AM ET

Fair enough. He probably could have slapped a #DanEllisProblems tag on that one and called it a day, too.  I personally don’t know a lot of business travelers who fly coach, have to take late-night taxis to two-star places, and pack whatever snacks they can get who also have to play a grueling hockey game in front of thousands of fans who (rightfully) demand absolute perfection for the price of their ticket.

There are ways to make traveling for work suck less, but there aren’t ways to make it not suck at all.  I agree with you, Garth.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/12/11 at 12:35 PM ET

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Also, it’d be nice if he actually extrapolated on his thoughts a bit.  What has been so admirable about Shanahan’s wildy inconsistency?  On what basis does he claim that concussions have to have more at their root than on-ice play?  What about the way the Canucks carry themselves makes him think they relish the hatred?  Does he know that $9buckpucks reads as “Nine dollar buck pucks”?

Posted by Garth on 12/12/11 at 12:36 PM ET

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1) Razor is dead on with regard to complaining of travel. For one they do travel First class. Its not like hockey players are running through airports lugging their bags. Also geography is what it is.  Can’t change that 15 NHL teams are within 2 hours flight of NY while NONE are that close to Colorado. Live with it!
2) He’s just filling space with regard to his CBA idea.  Its not going to change how quickly/slow the negotiations proceed whether the CBA ends in June or September. Having a “lock out” 2 months BEFORE September is meaningless
3) Blocking shots is NOT a new skill.

Posted by Fauxrumors on 12/12/11 at 12:54 PM ET

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Razor is dead on with regard to complaining of travel.

Then why did the NHL make changes for next season so that the travel is more balanced?  Seems like the league itself recognized that travel was a problem and did something to remedy that.

Posted by Garth on 12/12/11 at 12:58 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Blocking shots is also costing teams a lot of injuries ! I have always been of the mindset that that is why Goalies are paid pretty well, when they excel & also why they wear all that equipment

Posted by Evilpens on 12/12/11 at 01:00 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

3.) The Minnesota Wild are more Jacques Lemairey under Mike Yeo than they were under Jacques Lemaire WTF does that even mean? Yeo is in the camp of Bylsma forecheck the hell out of teams

Posted by Evilpens on 12/12/11 at 01:02 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

I’ve been blasting shot-blocking for a while now. I hate it.
At the same time, you can’t oulaw it completely.
That’s why I think they need to make it illegal to leave your feet in order to block a pass or shot.
As long as you’re standing on two feet, it’s fine, but anything else is a penalty.
Heck, I’ll take it one further, make it a penalty shot.

pstumba, I agree that there’s nothing more uncreative than the blast from the point.
The problem is, with super goalies (size and skill) as well as coaches preaching the ‘turtle defense’, there’s nothing much else teams can do.

You can work it around the parameter all you want, but you can’t pass through 5 guys standing in the crease.
The NHL has turned into the NBA in that teams give up the middle of the ice (court) and just let the offensive team move the puck around.

So teams crowd the net, blast from the point and pray for a rebound, screen or deflection goal.
Cycling is only used to draw penalties to score a PP goal of the aforementioned variety.

Realistically, the ice is simply too darn small and goalies are too darn big/good.
If the NHL could rectify either problem, you wouldn’t have to think of silly rules like illegal shot blocking.

Posted by Hank1974 on 12/12/11 at 01:12 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I would absolutely hate a rule that made it illegal to go down to block a shot.  I would hate that more than the trapezoid and intent-to-blow.

I think fans in general would hate it ten times more than they hate the delay of game puck-over-glass penalty.

I would continue the quest for either an Olympic-sized surface or constant 4-on-4 before I would call for a penalty for shot blocking.

Here you go:

Four-on-four hockey, the defensive team is trying to get set up to continue forcing play to the outside like Hank mentions.  One fewer skater per side gives all the room hockey players need to make this happen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CzH48eAFu0c

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/12/11 at 01:24 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

J.J. from Kansas, I would LOVE IT if the NHL went to 4-on-4 full time.
But that is probably the most radical of all the ideas (illegal block shots, bigger nets, bigger rink).

Anytime a game has 4-on-4, I think to myself “This is what hockey should look like”.
There’s a lot more room and the traps and turtle defenses aren’t nearly as effective.

I bet the NHL would be all for it, but the PA would have something to say about losing a good chunk of jobs.

That’s why maybe the NHL can compromise by expanding to 2 more teams to make up for lost positions.

It’s a total pipe dream, but hockey was once played 6-on-6 but reduced that amount because of lack of space. Why not do it again? I’d be all for it.

Posted by Hank1974 on 12/12/11 at 01:42 PM ET

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Posted by Evilpens on 12/12/11 at 11:00 AM ET

On the one hand you’re absolutely right, but on the other hand try convincing a good defensive player to be less defensively effective and see how he replies.

As long as you’re standing on two feet, it’s fine, but anything else is a penalty.
Heck, I’ll take it one further, make it a penalty shot.

That is one of the worst ideas I’ve ever heard.  It’s even worse than the trapezoid.

There’s no good, rational reason for penalizing players for being better and/or more committed than other players.  Every team that doesn’t employ one or more good shot blockers hates shot blocking but every team that does employ good shot blockers loves shot blocking.

Shot blocking kills creativity?  Shot blocking fosters creativity.  If you want your shots to get through then you have to make sure they’re not blocked.

Posted by Garth on 12/12/11 at 01:44 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

2.) Blocking shots is the “obstruction” of the post lockout NHL. It’s killing creativity and offense.

Actually, obstruction (in the form of pinning guys to the wall after they dump the puck in) is the “obstruction” of the post lockout NHL. And it definitely is killing creativity and offense. It’s time for the refs to start calling the penalties that are already written into the new rules.

I would continue the quest for either an Olympic-sized surface or constant 4-on-4 before I would call for a penalty for shot blocking.

You usually have some pretty good ideas JJ, but those two aren’t among them, especially if they happened together. Increase the size of the ice and remove a forward and you’ll have Holiday on Ice with hockey sticks. It’s the limited rink size and the five skaters per side that make hockey a true contact sport.

I’d never want to see that taken out of the game.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 12/12/11 at 01:53 PM ET

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You usually have some pretty good ideas JJ, but those two aren’t among them, especially if they happened together.

I agree that they shouldn’t happen at the same time but to be fair JJ said Olympic-sized surface or constant 4-on-4 not and constant 4-on-4.

Posted by Garth on 12/12/11 at 01:59 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

You usually have some pretty good ideas JJ, but those two aren’t among them, especially if they happened together. Increase the size of the ice and remove a forward and you’ll have Holiday on Ice with hockey sticks. It’s the limited rink size and the five skaters per side that make hockey a true contact sport.

No way I’d call for both of those changes. I’d take either/or, but definitely not both.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/12/11 at 02:00 PM ET

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Posted by Hank1974

I hear what you are saying, and the solution to a team collapsing around the net would be an NBA like defensive rule. Only a certain number of players allowed in an area in front of the net, or something like that. Nearly impossible to actually call in a game though as the problems would be many(think 3 offensive players in the area but only 2 defensive allowed, etc)

Maybe the solution is a Lacrosse type rule, no offensive players can score with their skates in crease(remember that one?...) and make it so no defensive players cant have their skates in the crease to play the puck. Make the crease the old size as well.

But I would say the best way to make teams stop collapsing around the net to just block shots is to work the puck down low and pass it back out high to the player on your team with the hardest slapper(think Chara). 2 or 3 players going down with broken feet/hands/contusions would change a teams mind on that method of D.

Posted by pstumba on 12/12/11 at 02:25 PM ET

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You want to get rid of shot blocking,
Get rid of the trapezoid, get rid of the delay of game for shooting it over the glass, and let teams change after icing.

The turtle defense is a direct result of all the rules implemented post lockout to increase offense. 

Im sick of all the complaining about defensive strategies and trying to increase offense.  You win games and championships by keeping the other team from scoring, not by having getting into run and gun 15 goal games.  No matter what you do to tweak the rules, teams will find a way to limit the other teams scoring chances.

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

Evilpens's avatar

@Garth I completely understand what you are saying, BUT it has to start somewhere, It is in a way killing creativity because teams just back in & turtle & block every shot they can

Posted by Evilpens on 12/12/11 at 04:08 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

@Garth I completely understand what you are saying, BUT it has to start somewhere, It is in a way killing creativity because teams just back in & turtle & block every shot they can

That’s how I see it too.
And coaches hate it when teams play with the puck too much.
How many times do you hear coaches talk about ‘keeping it simple’ and firing pucks on net and battling for rebounds?
Even commentators go nuts when teams monkey-around.
“Just shoot it!”.

Blocking shots has gotten easier and more and more players are willing to do it in order to earn a paycheck.
It used to be that only Brad Marsh and Craig MacTavish were the nutbars in hockey willing to lay down to block a shot.
But that was without helmets and shinguards that couldn’t protect you from a moquito bite.
I’ve heard goalies from the 80’s comment that today’s shinguards are better protection than the goalie pads they used to wear.
While blocking a shot isn’t without sacrifice, today’s technology has taken a lot of risk out of the equation in the last few years.

Posted by Hank1974 on 12/12/11 at 04:18 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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