Is it time for larger nets?

Jonathan Willis
May 14 2013 11:46AM

NHL goaltenders have been improving, year-over-year, in nearly every season since the league started tracking save percentage. In the early 1980’s, an NHL team could expect to score 13 goals for every 100 shots it took; today, they can expect to score on less than nine.

Are bigger nets the answer?

League Average Save Percentage

The chart above shows the rise in save percentage over the time the NHL has recorded the statistic (data courtesy of QuantHockey).

The term “dead puck era” gets used a lot for that period in the mid-1990’s, but really it’s defined the Gary Bettman-run NHL. Bettman took over the league in February 1993; at the time the league-average save percentage was 0.885. It was up to 0.895 within one year, over 0.900 the next, and aside from a slight dip in 1995-96 it’s been going up ever since. In 2003-04, league-average save percentage hit a high at 0.911; it dropped following the lockout but matched that figure again in 2009-10 and has been that high or higher in every season since.

Larger Nets

Photo: Elliot/Wikimedia

Goal-scoring is a complex item that has to do with a lot of things – power play opportunities, the standard of officiating, coaching, player ability, player equipment and a host of other things. The 2005-06 dip was mostly a result of tightened officiating and increased power play opportunities, but either NHL teams have adapted or the standard has slipped because those power play opportunities have gone away and teams aren’t scoring more frequently at even-strength.

Larger nets address only one part of the problem, by making it easier to score once a player gets into shooting position. But addressing that one problem could help with the rest.

Part of the reason scoring has slipped is the prevalence of defensive systems. With modern goalies being so capable of stopping pucks, teams cannot consistently score their way out of trouble. What they can do is keep the other side from scoring, so my belief is that a low-scoring NHL is in some ways self-reinforcing; the rarer goals become, the more the emphasis is placed on preventing them.

Larger nets would allow teams to become more confident that getting shots will lead to getting goals, and should allow coaches to be more offence-focused – as well as placing more of a premium on guys who can score goals rather than guys who can prevent the other side from scoring goals.

Adaptation

The league adopted standardized nets (designed by Art Ross - he's the fellow on the far right in the front row, posing with the rest of the Kenora Thistles and the Stanley Cup) in the 1920’s, in the same season that forward passes were legalized in the neutral and defensive zones (but not the attacking zone). The NHL has fiddled with supports and the shape of the frame, but the basic dimensions of the net – 6’ by 4’ – haven’t changed since then.

What has changed is goaltenders, and goaltending equipment. Goalies are bigger than ever; goaltending equipment is both larger and weighs much less than it did in years past. Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock made this point recently as he voiced his support for larger nets:

If the goalies [are] getting bigger than the net is getting smaller. By refusing to change you are changing. Purists would say you can't do it because you're changing the game but by not changing you are changing the game.

Goaltending equipment has received lots of attention over the years, and rightly so, but for a 6’4” goaltender it doesn’t matter how form-fitting the equipment is – he’s going to take up a lot of room. Additionally, at some point cutting into goaltending equipment introduces injury risks – something that isn’t true with larger nets.

In general, I’m a traditionalist. But the game has changed in the slightly less than 90 years since forward passing was the league’s biggest hot-button rule issue, and changing the size of the net to help compensate for the tremendous increases in goaltender size, equipment and ability seems a logical step to take.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 Eddie Edmonton
May 14 2013, 01:06PM
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StHenriOilBomb wrote:

This change may actually be the best possible solution to the Canucks' cap woes.

http://www.canada.com/topics/sports/hockey/story.html?id=11079269-aa0e-431a-a50f-423e9847edb1

#@$% the Canucks.!..

Take that garbage elsewhere.

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#52 Spaceman Spiff
May 14 2013, 01:10PM
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Is it time for larger nets? Actually, here are some follow-up questions to that question... Is the NHL ready for the increase in goal-scoring? Are goalies prepared to be victimized a few more times each year? Are coaches/GMs prepared to see their goalies victimized a few more times each year? Are fans going to be OK watching their goalies give up goals that they know would have rang off the post or crossbar a few years ago?

In other words, is the league ready, in terms of its “culture” (for lack of a better term) to accept that goalies aren’t going to be able to get to shots in time?

For old-timers like me who remember the goal rush of the 1980s, the past 20 years of steadily declining offence has been a bit, well, disconcerting. It’s pretty amazing nowadays how VITALLY important the goaltending position has become, in terms of survival in an 82-game season.

That’s not to say that goaltending wasn’t important in 1985 – it most certainly was – but you didn’t really need GREAT goaltending to get you to the playoffs. Of course, a big reason for that was because 16 of 21 teams got in each year, but I do think that teams focused more on their offence back in the day. You didn’t really “need” great goaltending until the playoffs ... and, fortunately in Edmonton, the Oilers always had it.

But now, with the steady erosion of the offensive talent pool due to expansion to 30 teams ... plus bigger stronger, players ...plus better training for goalies ...plus a playoff format that had made almost every game of an 82-game schedule almost NFL-level in its importance, the NHL has slowly morphed into a goalies’ league. And, as an entertainment commodity, that ain’t good.

Make the nets bigger. Make the ice bigger. Make it a scorer’s league again.

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#53 westcoastoil
May 14 2013, 01:10PM
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Watched the Oil in Denver near the end of the season and also flipped to the game in Calgary - I'm not sure what the difference is, but the ice surface in Colorado was marginally bigger than Calgary's and it did make a positive difference. Point being I don't think you need to go all the way to the Euro size, but even a marginal increase of taking the first row of seats would make a big difference, but still keep the contact aspect of the game.

Not opposed to changing the net size, but the question then is at what level do you bring it in? I can't expect coaches/gms are going to want a goalie's first taste of a bigger net to happen at the NHL level.

Equipment can be downsized without increasing injury - eg. take the cheater out of the glove and have it taper at the wrist.

Q: If you change the points awarded in a game to 3 for a reg. (awarding more points from an OT game vs. a reg. win is ridiculous anyway) will coaches press for more offense, or will they be even more inclined to get the 1-0 lead and then try and lock it down for 2 periods?

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#54 Gerald R. Ford
May 14 2013, 01:11PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I'm actually not a fan of larger ice, for two reasons:

1) Expense means it will never happen and

2) KHL games use the larger ice surface and tend to be much more passive than NHL games.

I like hitting, I like the high-event game the NHL is. I just think there needs to be something done to counteract the downward trend in goal-scoring.

They HAVE to make the ice surface bigger, eventually. It's not an option. Players are only going to keep getting bigger and faster. Lanes are smaller than ever, and get closed faster than ever. If the size of the ice remains a constant, eventually you could be playing with empty nets the size of stately Katz Manor, and you'll still see 0-0 games.

The NHL has to get over the expense argument of lost revenue. Yes, in the short run, it would be expensive. In the long run, the game is a better, more watchable, product that you can sell more easily.

There would still be a lot of hitting. Just less offensive inertia. I kind of feel there's an inherent passivity to the KHL that is separate to the ice size issue...

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#55 Truth
May 14 2013, 01:11PM
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No to bigger nets. There is nothing wrong with the game as it is currently played. Goalie equipment size is currently limited by the NHL, according to the NHL, to be "constructed solely for the purpose of protecting the head or body, and he must not wear any garment or use any contrivance which would give him undue assistance in keeping goal." Therefore, we know equipment sizes likely isn't going to change and shouldn't become an issue.

Just because goaltenders now are far superior to their predecessors shouldn't mean the game gets changed. Goalies are obviously more skilled now then they were 20 years ago. All it takes is to watch a taped game from two decades ago to realize this. Teams are using bigger goalies because they are more effective at stopping the puck than smaller ones, it's as simple as that. That will only be more prevalent if the net changes, less emphasis on goalie skill, more on size.

What concerns me is this being a change solely to fabricate more scoring into the game. A 2-2 game with 30 combined scoring chances is just exciting as a 6-6 game with 30 scoring chances, IMO. The increasing difficulty in scoring is forcing the game to be more skilled.

Lacrosse can be used as an example of skill necessary to score; goalies are gigantic and cover approx. 95% + of the entire net when standing stationary in it but combined goals in a game often reach 20 and above. This is due to the fact that lacrosse players have an extremely greater ability to control the ball in their stick and to make plays with the ball than hockey players.

If Lacrosse was to institute NHL size nets the game would be much less entertaining. The high skill passing plays and dekes required to get goalies moving in order to score would be reduced and an increase in perimeter shots would be seen. Same goes with Hockey, let the players adapt to the better goalies so that better plays and greater skill will be required to score the goals.

I would guess that the advocates of bigger nets are the same that were for the implementation of a penalty for a puck flipped over the glass in the defensive zone and penalties for getting kicked out of the faceoff circle twice consecutively. Horrible rules that are solely made to fabricate more scoring. In no way do they better the game of hockey, IMO.

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#56 westcoastoil
May 14 2013, 01:15PM
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StHenriOilBomb wrote:

This change may actually be the best possible solution to the Canucks' cap woes.

http://www.canada.com/topics/sports/hockey/story.html?id=11079269-aa0e-431a-a50f-423e9847edb1

It's interesting that that article came from 2007. It's nice to see how much the NHL strives to always improve their product for the fans. No wonder the have lousy tv contracts in the states.

more goals = more excitement = more fan interest = more revenue

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#57 Rob...
May 14 2013, 01:16PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I'm actually not a fan of larger ice, for two reasons:

1) Expense means it will never happen and

2) KHL games use the larger ice surface and tend to be much more passive than NHL games.

I like hitting, I like the high-event game the NHL is. I just think there needs to be something done to counteract the downward trend in goal-scoring.

I like hitting too, but the hits I like are the ones that cause the opposition to cough up the puck. Too many teams couldn't care less about the puck and just go in to crush somebody.

I'd be curious to know if the concussion/injury rates are as high on the European ice surface. If the increased size means marquee players are more likely to end their careers on their own terms instead of being forced out by injuries I'm sure the revenue gained from sources other than seats will compensate for the loss.

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#58 westcoastoil
May 14 2013, 01:19PM
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Gerald R. Ford wrote:

They HAVE to make the ice surface bigger, eventually. It's not an option. Players are only going to keep getting bigger and faster. Lanes are smaller than ever, and get closed faster than ever. If the size of the ice remains a constant, eventually you could be playing with empty nets the size of stately Katz Manor, and you'll still see 0-0 games.

The NHL has to get over the expense argument of lost revenue. Yes, in the short run, it would be expensive. In the long run, the game is a better, more watchable, product that you can sell more easily.

There would still be a lot of hitting. Just less offensive inertia. I kind of feel there's an inherent passivity to the KHL that is separate to the ice size issue...

Totally agree - this is where the league is short sighted: believing the revenue lost by 1 row of seats can't be made up through greater merchandise sales and better tv contracts.

When only a fraction of your games are entertaining, there aren't many folks in the US that will convert to watching and enjoying the sport.

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#59 madjam
May 14 2013, 01:20PM
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Changing net size might change goalie dynamics and ones like Luongo would rather not play if they do . Maybe just do away with goalies altogether ? It should have been slowly increased already in correlation to equipment size alone . Opening up the game is not necessarily adding more ice surface to do so . Start with 2by2by2 for starters . 2 inches each way . Secondly do away with the additional padding and webbing catching glove( fish net size ) and blocker gloves . Now , game on .

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#60 Funman
May 14 2013, 01:22PM
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Here's an idea from left field; what if you get 2 pts for a win, 3 pts if you score 3 or more goals - overtime included and 2pts for a shootout win and 0(zero) pts for a loss?

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#61 Rob...
May 14 2013, 01:45PM
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Funman wrote:

Here's an idea from left field; what if you get 2 pts for a win, 3 pts if you score 3 or more goals - overtime included and 2pts for a shootout win and 0(zero) pts for a loss?

Take it one step further. -1 pt for any game you lose where you generate less than 20 shots on net. It'd screw the Oilers over, but think of all those high draft picks.

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#62 Quicksilver ballet
May 14 2013, 02:02PM
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The current ice surface at Rexall is 85 x 200, but the existing ice surface capable area is atleast 90 x 210. All Northlands would have to do is remove one row of seats all the way around and move back the boards. The freezing beyond the boards is very apparent well beyond the existing boards. There's unmaintained frozen areas already under the first row of seats if you look underneath the retractable seats closest to the glass. A facility built back in 1975 already has it in place for a minor change such as this.

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#63 Truth
May 14 2013, 02:24PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

New Rule. Cannot be a Goalie if you are taller than 6'

Problem. Solved.

In all seriousness, I think a rule like that in the NBA would drastically increase the skill and entertainment value. Maybe make it 6'2" height maximum and drop the net by 14".

Or, for the NHL (not so seriously)...

New Rule: Opposing team gets to pick which player plays goalie each game.

Increased scoring, people are apparently happy.

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#64 Quicksilver ballet
May 14 2013, 02:43PM
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@Mannificent

Holy War and Peace Manny!

How much time you think we have?

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#65 vetinari
May 14 2013, 02:45PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

New Rule. Cannot be a Goalie if you are taller than 6'

Problem. Solved.

Isn't that the rule that the Oilers follow when it comes to forwards???

Fine. If we are just throwing out possible rule changes, here's mine-- every game should start with the shootout to determine the winner if the game is tied at the end of the third period. Imagine how hard teams would press if they knew that it was 3-3 in the last minute of the game and that they were guaranteed to lose if they didn't score... and then keep the nets the same size but increase the size of the ice surface. There. Snuck it in under the wire.

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#66 Factotum
May 14 2013, 02:45PM
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Must-reading for hockey traditionalists would be Ellen Etchingham's blog from March 2012:

http://blogs.thescore.com/nhl/2012/03/05/history-lessons-what-hockey-is/

Unlike baseball, which has been remarkably stable and balanced for over a century (the only really significant change to conditions under which baseball is played that I can recall in my lifetime is when they lowered the height of the pitching mound), hockey has always been and is always evolving. And that's a good thing.

My opinion only, but increasing the size of the nets to compensate for bigger, better goaltenders who wear equipment that is sometimes cartoonishly-bulky - (I mean, have you seen Ryan Miller being interviewed after a game? His "torso" is so disproportionately large that he looks like the victim of an Amazon head-shrinker) - is long overdue.

Thanks for raising the question, Jon.

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#67 Mannificent
May 14 2013, 02:56PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Holy War and Peace Manny!

How much time you think we have?

Sorry I tried to be brief, but it is an important subject. Just read the SI article - very good, when Ken Dryden agrees, who is considered very cerebral and was a goalie - then this should be looked into. Also for all traditionalists, it just doesn't make sense to maintain status quo, when the whole game is changed - nothing status quo about it. Baseball has made changes and Football seems to make changes every year - to increase offence and has been successful - still is Football.

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#68 ubermiguel
May 14 2013, 03:06PM
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See that big jump from around 1992 - 1995? What happened around that time? Expansion. The talent pool was diluted and systems were introduced. Too many talentless forwards in the NHL.

Two part solution to increase scoring:

(1) Reduce the size of goalie equipment which can be done without reducing safety. Pads, gloves, blockers, sticks, everything.

(2) Contraction.

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#69 Spaceman Spiff
May 14 2013, 03:10PM
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Funman wrote:

Here's an idea from left field; what if you get 2 pts for a win, 3 pts if you score 3 or more goals - overtime included and 2pts for a shootout win and 0(zero) pts for a loss?

Not sure what kind of responses you've been getting on this, but kudos for an original idea. First time I've read this sort of idea and it's got a lot of merit.

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#70 StHenriOilBomb
May 14 2013, 03:17PM
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Eddie Edmonton wrote:

#@$% the Canucks.!..

Take that garbage elsewhere.

Thanks for the considerate response.

You obviously didn't bother to look at the article. It's a report from when Luongo said he'd retire if the nets were made bigger.

so #$%& you, and take your garbage elsewhere.

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#71 gcw_rocks
May 14 2013, 03:34PM
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Dryden on bigger nets:

"The real tradition we need to protect is the fair contest between the shooter and the goalie. You want a balance where real skill gets rewarded, and if the balance gets out of whack, the traditions have already been broken. The real traditionalist looks for a situation where the shooter has a chance, and the goalie has a chance."

That isn't the case anymore. The stats JW present clearly show a dramatic shift in favour of the goalie.

And if Luongo retires as a result, who gives a crap?

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#72 StHenriOilBomb
May 14 2013, 03:41PM
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gcw_rocks wrote:

Dryden on bigger nets:

"The real tradition we need to protect is the fair contest between the shooter and the goalie. You want a balance where real skill gets rewarded, and if the balance gets out of whack, the traditions have already been broken. The real traditionalist looks for a situation where the shooter has a chance, and the goalie has a chance."

That isn't the case anymore. The stats JW present clearly show a dramatic shift in favour of the goalie.

And if Luongo retires as a result, who gives a crap?

Canucks fans give a crap. I sure as hell think it would be a funny ending to an embarrassing saga.

I'm not sold on giving points in the standings for scoring a certain amount of goals in a game. The point of a hockey game should be to win, not to score a certain amount of goals. Every game I have ever played (cards, sports, board games) have different strategies based on whether it's win/lose or if there are shades of both within a result. I think awarding 3 points for a regulation win has a similar effect without changing the emphasis of the game completely.

Ken Dryden shows again his ability to think critically about the world. Smart cookie, that one.

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#73 Halfwise
May 14 2013, 03:53PM
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In 1912 they went from 7 players to 6. Presumably the ice was too crowded or the quality of entertainment was too low.

Today's NHL players are too big for North American ice, and so the NHL should adjust by dropping from 5 skaters to 4. Games played on European-size ice can keep the current rules.

The league ought to love it...fewer salaries. Fans ought to love it...more open ice, bigger need for people that can actually skate and pass. And the ice will be in better shape. Hell, maybe you could drop one referee because there are fewer players on the ice.

NHLPA won't like it, but if most members get higher salaries (hey, revenue sharing amongst fewer guys!) they'll throw the guys who couldn't keep their jobs overboard.

Meanwhile, make the goalie use a regular stick, and reduce the size of his blocker and the cheater on his catching glove. ("Why is it called a cheater, Dad?")

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#74 ubermiguel
May 14 2013, 03:57PM
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gcw_rocks wrote:

Dryden on bigger nets:

"The real tradition we need to protect is the fair contest between the shooter and the goalie. You want a balance where real skill gets rewarded, and if the balance gets out of whack, the traditions have already been broken. The real traditionalist looks for a situation where the shooter has a chance, and the goalie has a chance."

That isn't the case anymore. The stats JW present clearly show a dramatic shift in favour of the goalie.

And if Luongo retires as a result, who gives a crap?

Goal posts in soccer and football; basketball hoops; cups in golf; bases in baseball...they aren't changed. Rules are changed, equipment evolves and is regulated...but the purity of the game is the end goal being the same across generations.

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#75 FastOil
May 14 2013, 04:00PM
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The reason goalies are bigger IMO is because they have over-sized equipment. They don't have to be as fast as they once did. They can play the odds and just cover the high percentage areas of the net because they can block so much of it.

Dubnyk is likely hooped if a change was made.

Defensive systems of course contribute, as does obstruction when they don't call it. By reducing the equipment size to safe and reasonable, players would be more likely to score from medium distance which would reduce the effect of better team play.

It might also reduce injuries to skaters if they had more area for high percentage scoring chances.

It definitely would make the games better to watch there being more offense. Nothing more boring than 5 collapsing to the front of the net. I miss the athletic goalies of the past.

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#76 Funman
May 14 2013, 04:02PM
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StHenriOilBomb wrote:

Canucks fans give a crap. I sure as hell think it would be a funny ending to an embarrassing saga.

I'm not sold on giving points in the standings for scoring a certain amount of goals in a game. The point of a hockey game should be to win, not to score a certain amount of goals. Every game I have ever played (cards, sports, board games) have different strategies based on whether it's win/lose or if there are shades of both within a result. I think awarding 3 points for a regulation win has a similar effect without changing the emphasis of the game completely.

Ken Dryden shows again his ability to think critically about the world. Smart cookie, that one.

The basis of this article is how to stop the increase in ave save percentage and the only way to do that is by scoring more goals. Taking away some of the goalie advantages(cheater on catching glove for eg) will help but I think you need to give incentives to teams to try to score more goals and win 5-3 or 4-2 rather than getting a goal and trying to hold on to win 1-0.

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#77 NewfoundlandOil
May 14 2013, 04:07PM
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@ubermiguel

There might be a jump, but it a minor fluctuation on a longer trend of upward SP.

The same trend in the SEL.

This seems to suggest that it is not due to a rule change at the NHL level that affects the overall trend.

So yes expansion had a limited affect, but there is a larger underlying reason for increasing SP with time that is independent of:

NHL rule changes, League and overall skill level, National Development programs, and Ice Size

I am not sure what the explanation is.

Is it a combination of: goalie equipment, rule changes, better fitness, goaltending style (see Patrick Roy), more focus on defensive systems?

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#78 T__Bone88
May 14 2013, 04:08PM
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Increasing the height and width of the net is the only logical solution. Expanding the ice surface to increase scoring should not even be discussed since North American arenas are built for the current ice size and owners would not take away potential income to increase scoring by 1 goal a game. Hockey in north america is a business and must market it self as such, a fast paced game. The 2-1 defensive games are sometimes great but most are boring if watching on TV and if the NHL wants to increase viewership it must allow for more scoring which makes the game more exciting. Increasing the size of the net by a few inches would not even be noticable and is less of a gimmick than the current trapezoid and shoot out.

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#79 Oiler Al
May 14 2013, 04:11PM
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106 and 106 wrote:

"You don't need 6 inch beyond the body for protection."

You've obviously never been hit at full speed, champ. Dust em off, strap em on and see what happens.

Betcha' you'll never say that again from your couch!

212, I dont deny the goalies the depth of padding for body protection, I am suggesting in terms of the width of the pads...which are much wider than the shoulder blades...and the extended parts are there to just cover up the open goal and do not front any body parts.

PS. I've never had liking for wearing goalie pads, will take a pass. Thanks.

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#80 Halfwise
May 14 2013, 04:14PM
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Reduce the goalie's glove sizes and stick size. Enforce the rule book for holding and interference.

Change one rule: Now, any period with fewer than 2 goals scored in it means the next period is played 4 on 4.

The purists keep the purity of the game (the same game that they are currently complaining about because no one can score) and those of us who want to be entertained can be entertained.

Do that for a couple of years and see what the appetite is for going back to the old ways.

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#81 The Soup Fascist
May 14 2013, 04:28PM
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Halfwise wrote:

In 1912 they went from 7 players to 6. Presumably the ice was too crowded or the quality of entertainment was too low.

Today's NHL players are too big for North American ice, and so the NHL should adjust by dropping from 5 skaters to 4. Games played on European-size ice can keep the current rules.

The league ought to love it...fewer salaries. Fans ought to love it...more open ice, bigger need for people that can actually skate and pass. And the ice will be in better shape. Hell, maybe you could drop one referee because there are fewer players on the ice.

NHLPA won't like it, but if most members get higher salaries (hey, revenue sharing amongst fewer guys!) they'll throw the guys who couldn't keep their jobs overboard.

Meanwhile, make the goalie use a regular stick, and reduce the size of his blocker and the cheater on his catching glove. ("Why is it called a cheater, Dad?")

Three words addressing 4 on 4:

NEVER NEVER EVER

It would be a much more entertaining game, to be sure.

But if you think the NHLPA will voluntarily give up 20% of it's jobs, I am afraid you are dreaming in technicolor.

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#82 Eddie Edmonton
May 14 2013, 04:39PM
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StHenriOilBomb wrote:

Thanks for the considerate response.

You obviously didn't bother to look at the article. It's a report from when Luongo said he'd retire if the nets were made bigger.

so #$%& you, and take your garbage elsewhere.

You welcome.

I did look at the article, ok. I don't care for or like the Canucks. I do not care or give a flying #@$% about Loungo, his opinion or his status in the NHL.

Do you work for the Canucks? I didn't know me disliking them was a direct insult at you or a justification for you to insult me. I won't argue or disrespect you, but I will be left to wonder what kind of piss poor parenting raises a man to act like a sensitive female.

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#83 Gergio
May 14 2013, 04:45PM
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@westcoastoil

Are you implying that the NHL isn't attempting to improve their product? That isn't fair, the league brass (along with help from Mike Gillis and A.V.) have been pulling out the stops in trying to get Luongo to retire - just like he promised in the article.

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#84 Eddie Edmonton
May 14 2013, 04:50PM
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Increasing the size of the rink would not only make the scoring better and higher, but it would also make the NHL less boring and showcase more of the actual game of hockey.

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#85 tileguy
May 14 2013, 04:50PM
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Nets don't have to be any wider, the back door play still works wonderfully well, but make the nets a full 6 inches taller and that gets the goalies standing up. One or two inches taller will not be good enough.

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#86 Spydyr
May 14 2013, 04:55PM
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tileguy wrote:

Nets don't have to be any wider, the back door play still works wonderfully well, but make the nets a full 6 inches taller and that gets the goalies standing up. One or two inches taller will not be good enough.

With six inches taller my concern is shots to the head and throat area.I think four inches taller and four inches wider would be safer.

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#87 Spydyr
May 14 2013, 05:01PM
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Knighttown wrote:

Great job JW. I truly don't get the fear about this. As Dryden says, this game is based on a fair competition between shooters and goalies and that competition is out of balance. by NOT changing anything you are in fact changing everything. We're viewed as radicalists but in fact we're he ones who want to stick with tradition...the tradition of a balanced match between offence and defence. At this point a good 80% of goals are scored via some sort of screen, bounce, deflection or rebound.

As in the NFL there should be a competition committee who meets every offseason with the express purpose of keeping scoring in a certain optimal range. The debate can be what that range is...is it 8 goals a game? 7? 9?

So once they decide what that number is everything is on the table as far a changes go until they reach this optimal level. If equipment size, obstruction penalties and ice size don't work then the more radical changes are looked at. Getting to 8 goals per game is non-negotiable. Maybe the next step is larger nets and if you have to you go to 4 on 4.

Sure this is a difficult thing to consider because the changes needed are so huge but once they are implemented it would be tiny, tiny tweaks every year or two. Stop and think before you answer this question...

Do you really think you'd even notice nets that are a few inches higher and wider after about 2 months?

A few of the posters are correct about the long term impact of larger nets. Tiny increases in net size may have beautiful and meaningful effects on the game.

-will taller nets keep goalies on their feet. If so, making a save becomes an action rather than the result of perfect positioning and technique. -since goaltending will now require movement coaches will be forced to change the culture of defensemen playing goalie. Too much net is unprotected and if a goalie can't see the puck they can't move to stop it. Shot blocking will be early (at point of shot) or not at all. -larger nets means more clean goals are scored and more clean goals means the hiring of more players who can score clean goals. In this world Linus Omark can find work and Lennert Petrell can't.

In this world Linus Omark can find work and Lennert Petrell can't.

Now that is something I can get with.Awesome point.

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#88 Spydyr
May 14 2013, 05:13PM
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jake wrote:

To all those who have mentioned contraction as a way to attack boring hockey, I salute you, the few the proud.

I used to think Euro ice size might add to the excitement of a game, changed my mind. A 1-0 game can be electric. It's scoring chances that provide much of the exciting aspect of hockey, if a goalie committs robbery on the SC, so be it, also exciting.

MORE TALENT PER TEAM. CONTRACTION.

Start with contraction, then tinker with other stuff.

I am a broken record on contraction, and will stay broken ;)

Run contraction by the NHLPA.Do you actually think they will go for it? Same with four on four.

Bigger ice is also an no go from the owners stand point.

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#89 Eddie Edmonton
May 14 2013, 06:58PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I don't have the data handy, but I'd be very surprised if shots/scoring chances hadn't dropped over the years - particularly with expansion and the prevalence of defensive systems.

(Another point to keep in mind: we're probably only a few years away from another round of expansion, so scoring talent is going to be diluted further.)

I also doubt SV% has reached it's peak. We've seen single-year dips before, but the overall trend is up, up, up.

I determined the weight of each stone in a bed of pebbles and got an average weight of 145 grams, but this told me very little about the real nature of the pebbles.

Anyone who thought, on the basis of the findings, that he could pick up a pebble of 145 grams at the first try would be in for a serious disappointment. Indeed, it might well happen that however long he searched he would not finda single pebble weighing exactly 145 grams.

The statistical method shows the facts in the light of an ideal average but does not give us a picture of their empirical reality.

While reflecting an indisputable aspect of reality, it can falsify the actual truth in a most misleading way. This is particularly true of theories which are based on statistics. The distinctive thing about real facts, however, is their individuality.

There is too many weak and under-qualified individuals in the NHL at the moment.

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#90 Wax Man Riley
May 14 2013, 07:06PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Run contraction by the NHLPA.Do you actually think they will go for it? Same with four on four.

Bigger ice is also an no go from the owners stand point.

Alternative to larger ice surface:

Make the blue line 2 feet (or even 3 feet) wide instead of the 1' they are now.

It would make each zone longer since the puck or the player has to full cross the line before the are in or out of the zone.

Now:

defensive zone: 75'... neutral zone: 52' (50' + 1 foot each side for the blue lines)... offensive zone:75'

total of 202' actual playing surface.

extended blue line to 3'

defensive zone: 76'... Neutral zone: 54'... Offensive zone: 76'

total of 206' playing surface.

Not a huge difference I know, but having an extra foot (or 2 feet depending on where the lines are drawn) in the offensive zone for world class players and defenders makes a difference.

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#91 TeddyTurnbuckle
May 14 2013, 07:08PM
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Forget about bigger nets. A 5% Goalie pad reduction over the next 3 to 4 years for an overall 15% size reduction. Goalie pads are ridiculous these days from the shoulder pads to the cheaters on their gloves. Most goalies look like the Michelin man out there. I think this would add 15% in goal production. Goalies should look like Bill Randford out there.

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#92 Sliderule
May 14 2013, 07:16PM
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Excellent topic

The 4inchs wider and maybe higher would change the game big time.

How many games have we seen three or four ring off the post.Those would be goals.

Your point about coaches not being able to sit on leads would bring back fire wagon hockey.

Now if you can only convince all the GMs to buy in .

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#93 ubermiguel
May 14 2013, 08:13PM
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NewfoundlandOil wrote:

There might be a jump, but it a minor fluctuation on a longer trend of upward SP.

The same trend in the SEL.

This seems to suggest that it is not due to a rule change at the NHL level that affects the overall trend.

So yes expansion had a limited affect, but there is a larger underlying reason for increasing SP with time that is independent of:

NHL rule changes, League and overall skill level, National Development programs, and Ice Size

I am not sure what the explanation is.

Is it a combination of: goalie equipment, rule changes, better fitness, goaltending style (see Patrick Roy), more focus on defensive systems?

The trend in the SEL (and other European leagues) could still be explained by expansion in the NHL.

Talent would generally move away from the SEL into the North American minor leagues to fill 4 teams worth of players that were not good enough for the NHL previously.

It's not a total explanation, but that 0.015 increase over the same 2 years is suspicious.

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#94 Eulers
May 14 2013, 08:13PM
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How about smaller pucks instead?

[Mind blown!!!]

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#95 Eddie Shore
May 14 2013, 08:16PM
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No, quit trying to change the game and enjoy it for what it is.

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#96 NewfoundlandOil
May 14 2013, 08:24PM
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@ubermiguel

I was referring to a longer term trend in the SEL save percentage average from 0.868 in 1984 to 0.917 in 2012-2013.

I get your point on the shorter term fluctuations from one league affecting the other, but the more significant variation seems a long term trend.

From Post# 25: "Although I like the idea of larger ice I see your point and agree they are issues.

Is there a correlation (or inverse correlation) between the rink size (KHL, SEL, etc.) and save percentage?

Looking at rough Average SP for the SEL I get the following:

1984-1985: 0.868 1995-1996: 0.882 2004-2005: 0.903 2012-2013: 0.917

So it would seem to be a phenomena independent of ice size or league, but something globally changing with the game on an incremental basis (e.g. fitness, better player development/training, equipment, etc.)"

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#97 NewfoundlandOil
May 14 2013, 08:26PM
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@Eulers

You sir have blown my mind!

:)

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#98 Walter Sobchak
May 14 2013, 09:09PM
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Spydyr wrote:

I'm a traditionalist but the game has changed .Watch a game form the 70's or 80's players had net to shoot at.Goals were scored off the wing with good shots. Messier used to beat goalies with a hard wrist shot on his off wing.

Today the best way for teams to score is crowd the net and hope for a screen or a rebound.To me that is boring as hell.Bring the skill back give the shooter some twine to see.

I'm with Dryden on this and if you have never read his book the game give it a go you won't be disappointed.

Spydyr that is well said, could not agree more.

Valid points.

It's a good discusion, constant improvement is not a bad thing.

The NFL is now in the process of widing it's feild because the players literally have out grown the original field.

Would it be so bad if:

The NHL put a moritorium on goalie equipment?

If you were to make the ice surface 89 in width and 202 feet long?

If you were to make the back end boards to the icing line 12 feet in length?

What if goalie nets were 5 feet from top to bottom and 7 feet from side to side?

To me you would see an increased flow to the game, maybe more end to end hockey and less trapping.

players would be able to use there shot again, you may even see a tic-tac-toe scoring play!

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#99 Reg Dunlop
May 15 2013, 12:21AM
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How about standardizing goalie equipment( 20lb horsehair pads and Eddie Giacomin sized shoulder protection) combined with standardized sticks for skaters(straight wood Westars so goalies don't get killed). Better yet, just watch hockey on ESPN Classic. Or still better, leave the damn game alone.

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#100 @Oilanderp
May 15 2013, 12:34AM
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I didn't read the comments since I really can't mentally endure another section dominated by trolls. Bigger nets? No. The answer is no. God no.

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