[Edit: one other motivation for these posts (other than having not much positive to say on the Ducks thus far) is that in Southern California, with the Clippers now eliminated and the Angels playing horrible baseball, the Ducks should now get more local attention. The way the games are going now, I'm not sure that's a good thing. I have two friends coming over today who know very little about hockey; I'm afraid to try to sell this sport too well lest the game turn into another stinker.]
Just a few more thoughts on this subject, and some related ones. I meant to post these earlier, but was interrupted by the stupid day job.
- I like that there is a rules committee, but I am not sure about the personnel they invited. I don't know if the league's problems were getting Shanahan enough scoring chances, but rather the overall mindset of the game. If I had a rules committee, I would definitely invite Darryl Sutter and pose to him the following questions: "What rules in today's game enables your team to sit on a lead so effectively? What rule changes would encourage you to pursue a 2-goal lead rather than sit on 1?" His input matters more to me than Mark Crawford's.
- It has bothered me all year that the league decided on so many rule changes at once, in that it becomes near-impossible to test what has worked vs. what hasn't. In particular, I still have no idea how to feel about allowing 2-line passes. While once every couple of games it seems to work for something, how much is it costing us to defend? What is the inherent sacrifice that needs to be made on an offensive end to properly (or even improperly) defend a 2-line pass? Had this been the only rule change, we would know the answer to this better.
- To me, a lot of the problem comes from the blue line, even with the addition of tag-up offsides. Defensive systems are very dependent on the rules that dictate that the puck must enter the offensive zone before any player, and once the puck is in it becomes a game of "get it over the line before it gets in our net", which for the most part is a very winnable game. I don't know what the solution is, but if I had the job of making hockey more watchable, it would probably involve a rule change about the blue line. It may even be something very dramatic, like if the puck crosses center ice then one skater is allowed to be offsides. If nothing else, that would change the way things are defended.
- However rule changes happen, there needs to be incentive built into the whole thing. A coach gets hired and fired based on winning and losing, not based on TV ratings. Players get paid for signing a contract, not for delivering anything. A team that plays defense well enough has no incentive to see another goal scored once they get a one-goal lead. Bottom line (no matter how it happens): there needs to be more incentive for a team with a one-goal lead to try to make it two.
- (random question) Remembering that I have never played hockey, I wonder why there is still a rule about the curvature allowed on a hockey stick, especially given the offensive push the league decided to make. What is the danger of having a stick too curved? Too good a shot?