I am surprised, and not surprised, at the negative response by most hockey fans. Hockey fans are extreme traditionalists. I am too, but while tradition can be an effective check and balance against improper or misguided change, it can also be a drag on progress. I'm surprised more fans don't want a couple more exciting goals per game.
The significant majority of NFL and college football fans love those high-scoring sports. It's difficult to defend the pass and that has resulted in an explosion of offensive creativity and aggression. Ratings and interest are at an all-time high.
My hope is that a bigger net would do the same for NHL offenses and the league's overall popularity. To keep up in college and pro football you almost always have to think and be "explosive. " It would be nice to see more of that mindset in hockey.
No need to keep going. Let's address some of your Twitter reaction.
I DO NOT find the NHL boring. I love the game at every level. As much as I'd like to see high-paying customers get out of their seats more and have something to talk about the next day, it's also about the KINDS of goals scored. I want more payoff from amazing athletic hockey plays, and more goals from distance. I've been talking about bigger nets for over a decade.
I will disagree that chances are more important than goals until the day I choke on my last mozzarella stick. But, I get your point. I believe more goals will change the attitude of players and coaches, and that will result in more aggressive offenses. The collapse-on-the-net-and-play-on-the-edge-of-a-penalty hockey is not serving customers and is probably not fun for the players.
I'm all for that. I don't think that's going to cause a spike in scoring. Maybe a little. But I'm for anything to make the game more difficult to play defensively.
That seems potentially unsafe to me, but I could be wrong. And a 4x6 net seems like it's 4x6 no matter how you slice it. But again, I'm up for anything.
I'll allow a former NHL netminder -- who once had an NHL-record five consecutive shutouts during the 2003-04 season -- to represent the goalie union.
I'm all for trying to reduce goalie gear, but I'll believe it when I see it. Also, will they still be safe? Players shoot the puck harder than ever before. Will there be lawsuits? And my argument isn't just about the size of the goalies, but also the skill and systems they use to simply "be big."
If you missed it, I recommended every power play be a 4-on-3 power play. This would result in fewer blocked shots and more room to be creative. Again, I don't just want more goals, I also want more of the goals we find to be exhilarating, so once the 4-on-3 power play ended we'd go 4-on-4 until the next whistle.
Yes, and the college game needs it, too. St. Lawrence and Quinnipiac played a 0-0 tie last weekend. That is unacceptable. There were seven shots that hit the posts in that game. The game would have been 4-3, still close, but with the payoff of seven goals.
Of the 48 #cawlidgehawkey teams that played this past Saturday, 26 of them scored two goals or fewer. The ECAC's four league games had eight goals TOTAL.
There are no longer any asterisks in baseball. Listen, we understand everything is different in every sport. Lou Gehrig played his entire Yankees career in an all-white MLB. They used to allow spitballs in baseball. They lowered the mound in the late 1960s. They've changed the strike zone 30 times.
Football defenders used to be able to mug receivers until the ball was thrown. Quarterbacks had very little protection. You can't compare today's NFL quarterbacks to Terry Bradshaw's stats. He played with a completely different set of rules, but no one really cares. The game is about winning, competition, excitement, perseverance and thrilling moments.
An NHL GM wondered that out loud to me recently. (There was a time a long, long, time ago that some hockey leagues played 6-on-6.) There isn't much room out there. Not much time and space, usually. Lots of stick contact. I have thought about 4-on-4 in the last five minutes of each period as a way to create an injection of excitement at the end of a period. However, I believe going 4-on-4 full-time is WAY more radical than making the net an inch or two bigger.
What's wrong with three more goals per game? How is that absurd or obscene? Seven more goals per game would be, but three?!?
There are also crappy, frustrating 2-1 games. And during a long regular season when you are trying to grow and sell the game, you want people to experience an explosion of fan involvement, like at a great concert. Tickets to NHL games are expensive. Fans need a payoff for their investment. Let's make the 1-0, 2-1 game rare. What makes it exciting is the close score you described. And that is the ONLY benefit of a low-scoring game. It guarantees a close game. But a high-scoring close game is better for everyone.
I don't think so. It will result in more up-and-down hockey, because the mindset would have to change to keep up.
That is another factor. Are we seeing GOOD hockey? Are there too many "NHL combine" athletes playing? Guys who can skate, back check and block shots, but can't create, don't have vision or can't score. I don't believe a bigger net will make a bad player better, but it will make a more skilled player more productive. Isn't that what we want?
As I've said, more scoring will get players and coaches THINKING offense. If there is a better chance at a payoff, I believe we will see more risky/aggressive offensive maneuvers.
I agree, and I want it to take max effort to score. I just want a player, when he does break free after an athletic, high-speed move, to have a little bigger target to shoot at. There are too many almost-a-SportsCenter-Top-10 plays today. Players deserve more payoff. If Bobby Orr played today, his famous highlight reel would be shorter.
Damn, you could have saved me writing 2,000 words.