NHL fans -- why is scoring so low?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian Perry, Mar 27, 2002.

  1. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    I'm not sure if the overall number of goals is down, but the leaders in points have really dismal totals. The leader is at 83 points, and it is virtually a lock that no player will have over 100 points. Are the defenses much better or are today's players weaker offensively?
     
  2. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    I'm a myopic Red Wings fan, so I thought scoring was up. [​IMG]
    Regards,
     
  3. Tom Johnson

    Tom Johnson Stunt Coordinator

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    Just wait until tonight, Richter is out and the Flyers are in town. Goals will definitely be up.
     
  4. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    I think the players' skill levels are as high or higher than 15-20 years ago. They are certainly better conditioned. Scoring started decreasing back in the early 90's with the first expansion teams. As the talent level was diluted, the expansion teams and previously established teams with weak talent bases decided the only way they could compete was by slowing the game down. At every opportunity, players with offensive chances were being clutched and grabbed and hacked and penalties weren't being called.
    Eventually Jacques Lemaire instituted a system with the Devils in 1995 coined the neutral zone trap that basically attempted to clog up any flow in the neutral zone and prevented fast transitions into the offensive zone. When the Devils won the Stanley Cup that year, many of the other teams began to look at the trap as their way to maintain a competetive balance. Ever since, teams have employed the trap or variations of it to help slow the game down. It may have helped marginal teams stay competetive, but it is boring as hell to watch.
    Can anyone honestly say that the game is more entertaining today than back in the 80's with the high flying (and scoring) Islanders and Oilers teams? I used to attend 20-25 Blackhawks games a year, but the slower pace of the game and lack of action has soured me on the experience. The past several years, I've averaged about 5 games a season.
    I don't think the league could ever eliminate the trap. The best solution would be to contract five or six teams so that unskilled, marginal players would be purged from the league. And give me back the old Norris, Smythe, Adams and Patrick divisions! Those rivalries were awesome. [​IMG]
     
  5. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Michael gives a pretty good synopsis. I think the NHL could do a few more things to open up the ice. They only need to view the Olympic hockey video tapes to find them. (1) Eliminate the two-line offsides pass (i.e. the center red line), and (2) move to a bigger ice surface.

    While I do not believe the NHL will ever consider #2 (they will not give up those 2-3 rows of expensive seats), there is no reason that #1 could not easily be implemented.
     
  6. David Oliver

    David Oliver Second Unit

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    Actually I think the red line suggestion is bad. What will happen (and this is what happens in European hockey) is that the Defensemen take far fewer chances, tend to hang back so they don't get caught. You didn't see this so much in the Olympics because of the generally extremely high skill of the players. But in the NHL with so many more players that aren't so good, where defense is stressed, you will see a lot of what I mentioned above, tenative offense, especiually from the blueliners.

    As for why scoring is so low, compared to the 80's...goaltending. Goaltending is at such a high level nowadays, combined with the equipment they wear, it is just very hard to get the puck in the net.
     
  7. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    I too think the NHL should adopt some of the international rules that they had at the Olympics.

    1. Wider ice / more room behind the goal - this will open up play.

    2. Crack down more on the thuggish play that just slows the game down

    3. Abolish the two line pass - if you're off sides, fine, but I really enjoyed not having that rule in the Olympics. If you want to take a chance and leak out on a fast break, fine, but that could cost your team at the defensive end if they give the puck away.

    Just my opinion.
     
  8. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    I think both Scott and David make valid points. I tend to agree more with Scott than David about the two line pass rule. Whereas I think David may have a point about defensemen hanging back, I think the NHL should at least try the change, even if just for exhibition games next year to see what happens. Even if the result is that defensemen hang back, scoring cannot decrease much more than it has now and can really only go up.

    David really hits the nail on the head in regards to goaltender equipment. Watch ESPN's classic sports network one night when they are showing a Stanley Cup game from the early 70's. The goalie pads are significantly smaller than they are now. Combine that with the increased size of the goalies themselves and the same net dimentions and suddenly you have a much smaller opening for which to get the puck through. I would love to see statistics that show if shots taken are down significantly from the mid 80's. I would tend to think that shots are stagnant, but save percentage has increased significantly due to better quality goalies and larger equipment.
     

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