A Way To Open Up The Game Of Hockey

A great amount of talk has been circulating this season on ways to create an “open” game of hockey. By this, I mean, having more scoring chances and goals scored in each game. I have been thinking, and though this idea may be a huge risk, it could create huge rewards.

The NHL is in need of a change. The most recent stereotype of NHL is that there is a lot of checking. The NHL was known for huge hits and fighting. Well, in this new era, I say, we make open ice checking a penalty. Hear me out before you even criticize. If the NHL were to eliminate open ice checking, offensive players like Thornton (boy would he love it), Kovalchuk, Naslund, etc would be able to showcase their offensive skill. Instead of worrying about a defensemen laying them out, they would be focused on their stickhandling and shooting. More offensive players would come to the middle of the ice, and try to deke/juke around the defensemen. In all honesty, eliminating checking, which I do enjoy by the way, would create many more chances to score. I believe the shots per game would increase from 30 a game, to maybe 40-45. Also, goals a game is near what, 5 a game? That would easily increase to maybe 7 or 8. By taking out hitting, you are making defensemen become better stick handlers, and they would have to use skill to defend, instead of the typical grab/pull/push that all unskilled defensemen use.

Now you question, why be radical, and take out a big part of the game, to increase scoring? The NHL isnt working right now. I’m a huge fan, and I realize that on the business side, the NHL is falling apart. The NHL needs to showcase their offensive talent, which they have a ton of, and in this new day, scoring is what excites people. When I talk with people, their favorite players are the Kovalchuks, the Lecavaliers, the Naslunds. The offensive players have taken over, so lets move checking aside, and lets bring on the offensive powerhouse the NHL has.

For the people who are all about hitting, how about a compromise? We will eliminate all open ice hits, BUT, when a player is on the boards, hitting is allowed. This keeps hitting in the game, and it also creates space for the offensive players to work. I know this is a very radical idea, and since this is my first article written for the site I’ll most likely get bashed, but I havent heard anybody write about this way of opening up the game. Please respond, let me know your opinions on my subject, and constructive criticism is welcome, not bashing.

Expect more articles from me, as I enjoy writing about the NHL, and enjoy interacting with fellow NHL’ers.