The Break Down

Jason Strudwick
January 04 2012 09:55AM

After my article "Robocop" was posted two weeks ago, Ken posted a comment. He made reference to Don Cherry and the old boys club of the NHL maybe wanting to bring back the two line pass rule.

I can't say I saw the Cherry clip, but I imagine he didn't explain why this rule has a direct impact on the speed of the game and on big hits which can contribute to the injuries like concussions.

Let me break it down and explain why he might feel that way.

Prior to the lock-out, clutching and grabbing was happening all over the ice. It slowed down the game the most in the neutral zone as defending players would lock on to a forechecking player with their stick and slow them down. This was called "water skiing".

Water skiing made it very difficult for a forechecker to get any speed while breaking into the offsensive zone. The elimination of clutching and grabbing helped teams to forecheck, but it wasn't going to be enough. NHL teams had gotten so adept at playing a trap style neutral zone forecheck that more space was required. Before the elimination of the redline, a forward stretching at the far blue line was not closely guarded. The two defending dman could hold the red line until the puck crossed the blue line.

With the elimination of the redline, those same 2 dman were required to back off and respect any forward stretching behind them. This opened up the neutral zone a lot. There was now the possibility of a gap between the defending teams forwards and dmen. Players could get a lot of speed going in their own zone which is a great way to get past a neutral zone defense. Ryan Kesler does this very well. He picks up the puck behind the net at full speed and flies up the ice. Most players will back off when a guy with speed is coming at them.

Teams now try to force the attacking team to dump the puck in by funneling the puck carrier towards the boards. He runs out of space and must chip it in, but he usually doesn't lose his speed. This is where the impact of the rule change was felt. The defending dman must now turn to retrieve the puck with not as much speed as the oncoming forechecker. He's a sitting duck.

BAM!!!

It is also affects attacking players. Once they gain the blueline they think it is safer and they won't be hit. But players back check so hard once they stop moving their feet the attacking player is also a sitting duck. A couple of examples are Richards hit on Booth and Cooke's hit on Savard. Both players had just gained the blue line and had stopped moving their feet which isn't abnormal. Back checkers keep coming and then....Bam!!

The elimination of both the redline and water skiing has been great for the game but it has had side effects. All the speed in the game now will only continue to compound these issues.

So don't go to hard on good old Grapes! He has some good ideas every now and then but maybe Ron should break them down during the segments.

5cf6b487166aced0cd781e41bfef915e
Jason hosts the Jason Strudwick show from 9pm to 12am, weeknights on the team 1260. He is an instructor at Mount Carmel Hockey Academy and loves working with the kids. Having played over 650 games in the NHL, Jason has some great stories and unique takes on life in the NHL. He loves Slurpees and Blizzards. Dislikes baggy clothes and close talkers.
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#51 Wanyes bastard child
January 04 2012, 06:36PM
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Spydyr wrote:

That rooster also protects his hens.Put a hen in goal and no more worries in front of the net.Can't be more soft then Gilbert in front of the net.

Unless that rooster's first name is Andy, then you lose him quite often to suspensions :(

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#52 geoilersgist
January 04 2012, 09:00PM
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@Spydyr

You don't even need them to be able to sub in that still kind of defeats the purpose. 1 of those 3 guys waiting to come in could be a goon that is fresh and ready to take someones head off. Just do away completely with the 4th line would make for more competition for those 3 lines and you get better hockey. I would leave the official roster still at 23 players because as it has been stated fatigue would come in to play through the vigorous 82 game schedule and playoffs. A goon wouldn't make it into the line up and cost his team even more playing 5min/game and having someone constantly double shifting to take his place because the coach cant trust him out there.

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#53 Gretzkin
January 04 2012, 09:12PM
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I like the idea of the re-addition of the red line. As struds put it, it lets forecheckers get so much speed, etc. Also, Mike Babcock made an excellent point about the trap that so many people hate. Adding the red line back shifts the D further up (also notes by Struds). I dont mind the trap at all, it's a defensive strategy that works. But without the clutching and grabbing, the more space to gain speed and the fitness and growing size of hockey players, it's way more dangerous.

Comparing Rugby to Hockey? My first thought was why are 10 year olds playing Rugby. Even playing hockey when I grew up, we werent allowed contact until I was 12.

As for someone mentioning the elimination of the hit stat. As someone who played D for a long, long time. I didnt and wouldnt care how many hits i made, just how many were good and effective, regardless of the impact level. I also must note. I loved getting absolutely drilled from time to time.

The game doesnt need changing moving forward with 4 on 4 or whatever. perhaps sone stuff can be put back to where it was. I do like the idea of bringing back the red line. I think today's gane would be somewhat safer. That said. It's hockey. There are risks and every ater that plays is willing to take them to do what they love. Look at Brian Berard. Freak accident when Hossa swiped carelessly at a loose puck. Blinded and disfigure him. He gave back his lucrative insurance settlement to give it another go. Thats a hovkey player. Fans need to soften up. The players love it, why shouldnt we? Some things can be tweaked, but quit suggesting turning in to another sport.

And Strudwick. Thank you for your input, we much more rhan appreciate it.

Gretzkin

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#54 Wanyes bastard child
January 04 2012, 10:46PM
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Dave wrote:

Mr. Strudwick please don't get fooled by this "jock sniffer". He comes on here daily ranting like he is smarter than everyone. Had someone else written this he would have been all over them.

He hates Brownlee because Brownlee put him in his place and is now trying to suck up. Seriously childish and embarrassing.

Interesting article, but you never mentioned if you think it would be good for the game. Would you make this rule change if you were on the competition committee?

Well said Dave, I'm glad I'm not the only one that noticed this too.

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#56 Stan_the_Caddy
January 05 2012, 03:07PM
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http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/nhl/story/2012/01/05/sp-burke-orr.html

I've never liked the guy but he seems to have some good points IMO.

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