There is no doubt that the NHL and its Governors are trying to find ways to make the game more exciting and one way to do that is definitely for teams to score more goals. While some low scoring games are very entertaining, a lot of them are as boring as it gets, especially since the NHL, in its wisdom, decided to get rid of tie games and give an extra point for wins in overtime and/or in skills competitions, which they like to call shootouts.
The league has taken an important step this past season by going with a 3 on 3 overtime format, which has eliminated the need to have to endure players showing their skills on a one on one shootouts. The 3 on 3 is exciting yet, it is still a team concept. Personally, I wish that they would adopt a five minutes 4 on 4 OT followed, if needed, by another 5 minutes at 3 on 3. The winner would get two points and the loser… well, zero. If tied after 70 minutes, both teams would have earned to get a point.
For a while now, people around hockey have hinted that making the nets bigger has become a necessity. The goaltenders are bigger and better than ever and so is the coaching with all of the video review and heavy scouting, resulting in less goals being scored on many nights. Personally, I am totally opposed to having bigger nets.
First of all, players are bigger and faster than ever in the NHL yet, the rinks are still the same size and the NHL refuses to go to Olympic size rinks because it would mean the loss of important tickets sales income, having to eliminate a row or two of prime seats in every rink. This results in players having less room on the ice to maneuver and make plays.
Then, they have added another referee on the ice and that has proven time and time again to contribute to the congestion and obstacles that players must deal with while trying to play the game. Having bigger nets would only take even more space away from players and ultimately, would not solve the issues. As a matter of fact, it would create other problems with a bigger obstacle to go around to chase the puck and make plays.
Goalie equipment is still too big
Has anyone ever wondered why the piece of added equipment between the wrist and the thumb of a goaltender’s catching glove is called “the cheater”? No, it is not for protection and yes, its sole purpose is to stop pucks, or to “cheat”. Same goes for the length and width of the pads and the extra pieces on the chest protector.
Yes, people claim that the new “self-breaking” sticks are better than ever but yet, at (true) skills competitions, the hardest shots are very similar to Al Iafrate and Al MacInnis were shooting back with wooden sticks. Yet, look at the goalie equipment from back then! Even at that, with the improvement in the materials used for goalie equipment, it protects them better than ever. Let’s cut on the cheating part of it. Look at what former NHL goaltender Corey Hirsch proposed. The computer generated graphic is excellent.
As clearly shown in this video, there are easy ways to address the goaltenders’ equipment size without compromising their safety. Now if only someone at the NHL, the Governors and decision makers listened to their fans and did what they want. But if they did that, there wouldn’t be any lockouts either…