Thursday, June 16, 2005

USA Hockey Not Making Any Changes

Many hockey pundits and journalists have been talking about how to change the game to promote more scoring. The opponents to this idea are often labeled as a "dinosaur" or a "stalwart" that don't want the game changed.

It's today that I found out that most of the "dinosaurs" are currently involved in USA Hockey. According to these stories, the governing body of competitive play in America have chosen not to make any rule changes. While the NHL is flirting with changing to the "no touch up" icing. USA Hockey has decided that it's not such a good idea.

I am somewhere on the fence on this issue, which is rare, because I always get persuaded to an opinion pretty quickly and stick to it. I do accept the idea that the game can afford changes, but to me, I think the game that I'm used to watching (and I watch A LOT of hockey) is the greatest game on earth already. Why change something that I already believe in.

Proponents of changes like the no-touch icing, goalie pads reduction, and red line removal make a pretty good argument for opening up the ice for faster play. However, the last time the game was changed, it cost the Buffalo Sabres a Stanley Cup. Remember the NHL decided that the goalie area was forbidden to players? Once the game winning goal by Dallas' Brett Hull was scored with controversy, the goalie crease rule was quickly forgotten about the next season. Should any of these new rule changes affect an outcome of a championship game or otherwise, be sure to see it get crossed out the next year.

Proponents of changes also look for assurance that the referees call the clutching and grabbing. I for one thought this is hockey! Hockey is a contact sport. If a defensive player is holding on to you - score anyway! Obstruction should be considered a mild nuisance and not whined about to the press or league offices. So what they had a hold of your jersey! Just pull 'em along for the ride! It's like the "in the grasp rule in NFL football", do we want to put dresses on hockey's star players and prevent any harm to them! Heck no!

My theory is that evolution of the goaltender has caused the goals per game statistic to go down. The real solution here is to not legislate against certain behaviors or punish achievement, but allow for time that the real competitors to evolve.

[From: TSN.com & Yahoo! Sports]
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