Time For Change in the New NHL

Some recent events have prompted talk of some rule changes needed to not only improve the game itself but the safety of the players.

The decline in scoring has been of concern to the league. The big boost in offence soon after the lockout has gone by the wayside and a lack of goals and offence continues to succumb to air tight defence.

Also of concern is the rash of serious head injuries. Hitting from behind, dangerous headshots and just an overall lack of respect is something that the league seems resistant to solve to avoid, as Mike Milbury puts it, “pansyfication” of the game.

But there are 5 aesthetic and 5 rule changes that could make a world of difference for the NHL. If the NHL can loosen their archaic feelings on the game, we could finally see some great improvements made in terms of quality and safety.

Aesthetic Changes

1. Goalie Equipment

If there has been changes to the goalie equipment, making it smaller, it has been difficult to tell. Removing extra straps, extra flaps and shaving millimetres off of pads and gloves is just not going to cut it. Significant inroads have to be made in this regard in order to separate the stoppers from the sieves.

The rave of the NHL has been the butterfly goalie. But while Patrick Roy wore massively oversized equipment towards the end of his career, he still seemed to excel in that style when he first start, while wearing small, thin, pads and gloves. The NHL needs to revert back to those ways.

The body armour the goalies wear now has taken away a bit of the fear factor that was part of the position. Only the insane were willing to take shots from rock hard pieces of rubber. Now, goalies could probably withstand a blow from a Patriot missile. Its a joke really.

With the way technology is today, its impossible to fathom that they cant make equipment that is safe for goalies but small in size. Reverting back to Patrick Roy sized equipment, circa 1986 is the way to go.

2. Player’s Equipment

What’s fair is fair. If goalies are going to shrink, so should the players. Some players look like they could like up in the backfield for the Dallas Cowboys with the size of pads they wear. Its time for that to change.

Do players really need to look like a riot squad with all that gear? Thats arguable considering that some players still insist on wearing short cuff gloves leaving their wrists exposed and no skateguards. If safety is such a major issue, then why dont players don proper safety equipment for their hands and feet as they do for their chest and shins?

One player that the league should model after is Brendan Shanahan. He is perhaps the only player who seems like he isnt wearing padding underneath his jersey. The league needs to force all players to wear those thin shoulder pads.

For one thing, it will probably slow down the head hunters and predators out there looking to hurt people if wearing limited padding. The pads they wear now are like weapons. They’ve made some changes but its far from enough. It should also get players to think twice about blocking shots so willingly as they do now. Players are fearless with thick padding worn underneath. Even the league’s softest players are blocking shots nowadays. Time to make shot blocking a courageous art once again.

3. Streamline the Boards and Glass

The different shapes and sizes of the glass and how pucks react off boards will be unique for every arena. But what should be the same is how flexible they are when a player is hit into them. Every arena should have the same amount of give for both the boards and glass. This should be a necessary change for all 30 arenas in the league and no one should dispute this.

With the game and its players bigger, faster, stronger than ever, the league needs to provide the safest environment possible. Its mind boggling how some arenas have boards and glass equivalent to a solid brick wall. What is more mind boggling is how the league has not forced teams to make wholesale changes. Changes to the glass isnt enough. The boards need to equally be as flexible and forgiveable in the name of safety for the players. If a player like Ryan Hollweg is going to be allowed to run people in from behind with little repercussions, then the league should at least protect its big investments with proper safety measures.

4. Wooden Sticks

The league for the time being anyways, needs to go back to wooden sticks for all players. They need to do this until at the very least, they solve this plague of broken sticks that are the norm league wide. The composite/2 piece sticks used today are terrible. Its the equivalent of forcing a baseball player to use a tree branch for a bat or having NFL quarterbacks throwing a deflated football.

While wood sticks are not fallible, they will break far less than these two piece ones. If the league and players are going to invest so heavily in this new type of equipment, they should at least be satisfied that it will be sturdy enough for regular use through the season. Until this problem can be solved, the league needs to step in and ensure the sticks used are not going to be breaking every shift.

5. Madatory Visors

After seeing Bryan Berard get hurt, that was bad enough. But of late, with Yzerman, Koivu, among several others suffering serious eye injuries as well, its perhaps time to grandfather in visors and make them mandatory.

The long argument has been that it impacts performance. Try telling that to 12 of the top 13 scorers currently who all wear visors. Most of the game’s biggest stars, Malkin, Crosby, Ovechkin, Phaneuf, iginla, they all wear visors. If their production was impacted, there is no evidence to prove that theory.

Despite strong proponents against, until the respect factor somewhat returns, there is just no reason why players shouldnt wear visors. Again it goes back to the argument of oversized chest and shin pads. If safety first and foremost is why players need to look like NFL linebackers, then in the name of safety they can agree to wear shields no?

Rule Changes

1. Teams must clear their zone on delayed penalties

An idea put forth by Blues GM Larry Pleau, on a delayed penalty, the defending team must not only gain possession of the puck, but also clear the puck out of the zone. This should help maintain the attack and create more chances.

its foolish that touching the puck is enough to stop a siege in their zone. When a penalty is called that team should pay for it immediately. So many rallies are killed with the current rule in place. But by forcing the team to clear the zone, it will put more pressure on them to not only gain control but get it out and that could cause further penalties and further confusion.

2. No line changes for team that takes a penalty

If players want to take penalties, they should not only be the ones to pay for it. Their team as a whole should suffer as well. When a penalty is called, the player in question should go to the box, but whomever is left on the ice for his team should be forced to stay on.

So say for example these 5 Maple Leaf players are on the ice: Finger, Stralman, Grabovski, Blake, Kulemin. Finger takes a penalty. This quintet have been on the ice for almost a minute and are tired. Instead of the Leafs getting a chance to get their top PK unit on the ice, the team has to stick to the group of 4 that were on the ice when the penalty occurs. It would force the Leafs to not only use 4 guys who dont kill penalties regularly, but also be stuck with 3 forwards and 1 D to at least start the PK.

The hope is that it creates greater confusion defensively leading to more chances and ultimately more goals. Its win win for the team on the PP. They could immediately give the puck away to force the other team to keep the p
layers on the ice, or gain the zone, create havoc and tire out their opponents for the PK while they get to put out fresh troops for the man advantage. This would truly make teams shorthanded.

Penalty killing is far too strong nowadays. The coaching is too good that there has to be a real advantage being on the PP. This, coupled with the Larry Pleau rule is a start.

3. Icing on Powerplays

As a continuation of the first 2 rules, a third rule, icing on powerplays makes sense. This would continue the trend of really handicapping a team on the PK. Coupling a tired group of skaters who couldnt get the puck out immediately on a delayed penalty, with these same skaters being forced to start the PK, and them then not being able to ice the puck when killing the penalty, it could mean an increase in chances and maybe goals on the PP.

The icing rules would stay the same. Teams who ice cannot change.

These 3 rules together would really make taking penalties a killer and that could perhaps lead to players being more disciplined. Maybe then, with such a huge disadvantage to your team, a player will think twice about using their free hand to grab and obstruct their opponent or think twice about taking a selfish, dangerous retaliation penalty.

4. Automatic 5 minute penalties for hitting from behind

There are some dangers to taking away all headshots and with the players nowadays bigger and faster than ever, its almost impossible to completely police split second reactions. But a hit from behind is clear as day and should be penalized severely.

Automatically giving 5 minutes should definitely lessen a player’s desire to kill someone from behind. The discretion for referees would be whether or not the penalty warrants a game misconduct.

And dont think the game misconducts dont matter. If a player accumulates 3, the player gets suspended. Like it is right now, if a player continues to get misconducts for hitting from behind, they get suspended even more. The big kicker though will be the hefty fines. Nothing hurts worse than taking money out of the player’s pockets. a $100,000 dollar fine would really set a high bar and be a pretty big detriment to a player looking to play a bit on the dirty side.

The other key thing for refs is to watch for those players who willingly turn towards the boards to get hit from behind to give their team a PP. But if guidelines are put in place to define what a hit from behind is, then that would make things crystal clear for the refs.

5. Full Time Referee Crews

In baseball, the 4 umpires who work games stay together year round. In hockey, this idea would make perfect sense. The confusion shared by players, coaches, managers and fans alike over some penalty calls has much to do with the fact refs change partners and the people they work with constantly.

Having a crew together a full year will build chemistry. It will also help teams have a better understanding of how each crew works. Lots of times you will see an experience ref, let them play if paired with another experienced ref but call everything the next game with a rookie ref. Players are often left dumbfounded. Working together for a full year will allow officals to get use to eachother and start to understand eachother’s styles and tendencies.

Now its more than likely that all these changes will be brushed off by many for their own selfish needs. Its a shame the NHL is that narrowminded. However all these changes still keep the essence of the game intact. We’re not making the nets bigger here or eliminating shot blocking or changing the size of the rinks or going to full time 4 on 4. All the changes listed above are not radical by any means. Whether or not the old guard NHL agrees is left up to debate.


43 Responses to Time For Change in the New NHL

  1. KingCanada says:

    I really like the first idea you put forth regarding having to clear the zone when taking a penalty, that makes alot of sense.  I dont know if its just me but im seeing more 6-5 this season and that would just increase the total.

    What I dont like and the NHLPA will dislike even more is keeping a PK unit on for a full 2 minutes, that doesnt make sense to me.  If your looking to keep players safe, isnt a tired player more injury prone?  Take a check wrong?  Tweek a muscle or a tendon?  If the point is to increase offence drastically it could work but you also stated protecting players is very important and that might be contradicting your original statement IMO.

    I also like the idea of a full time ref crew!  This would mean that scouts would not only have to scout other teams but also the referee squads to find out their tendencies and see what your team might be able to get away with.  Could make things much more interesting!

  2. nordiques100 says:

    actually, the guys who were on the ice when the penalty was taken by their teammate would start the PK, but they dont have to play the whole 2 minutes.

    if say their goalie quickly freezes the puck, or its deflected out of play or some other stoppage, the team can change. but to start the PP, the defending team will have to start killing it off with the 4 skaters they had on the ice the time of the penalty.

  3. KingCanada says:

    Ooooh I get it, that makes alot more sense.  That will create major havoc if its a defenceman taking the penalty.  1 defencemen and 3 forwards on a kill? haha

    LOL I can just see Kyle Wellwood on the ice while a penalty is taken and then him not being able to do ANYTHING on the PK hahaha

  4. hockey_lover says:

    Hey Nords,

    I really like a lot of your ideas and most of them echo what I have been saying for a long time.

    Aesthetic Changes

    1) I agree 10000%. Those trapper mits can catch a beachball. Its retarded. I agree that with the technology we have today, I refuse to believe that they cant half the size of that mit while still keeping the padding. The chest protectors are getting HUGE. Christ, even Osgoode (who is like 5'4) looks like a giant in net. Giguere is even worse. I couldnt agree more with this change.

    2) Agreed again. The shoulder/elbow pads are way to big. Komisarek is a pretty big dude but he looks freaking ginormous out there. Small those down a bit. I say keep the shin pads as big as they are though.

    3) I have no real opinion on this. It is a good idea though.

    4) The players wont go for it because the sticks are heavier. The new composite sticks are lighter and thus, will always get the nod.

    5) Agreed 1000%. Visors should be mandatory. For everyone. Also, the chin strap should be relatively snug to your throat. Its insane that a player can breathe funny and his helmet flies off.

    Rule changes

    1) I have brought this up with my friends and got mocked relentlessly for it. I think its a great idea.

    2) Same thing. Most of my friends think this is a terrible idea but I think it would work wonders.

    3) Im 50/50 on this one. The fact that they are a man short AND if they go over the glass they get a delayed penalty (which I like), I think the icing on a PK is a good option. They should still be allowed to change. Getting the puck on a PK should be considered a reward considering you are a man short.

    4) I agree and say take it one step further. For a headshot or hit from behind where the recipient is injured, you are automatically ejected from the game. However long the injured player is on the shelf for, the player who hit him is suspended without pay for the same number of games. You hit from behind, injure someone, they are out for 35 games and you get suspended for 5? 7? Big freaking deal.  You dont play for 35 games and your salary doesnt come to you? Thats a pretty big deterrent. At the end of the season, the money collected from those suspensions is given to minor hockey or whatever.

    5) Agree again. People get comfy with people after spending time with them.  Its human nature.

  5. blaze says:

    Suspension equaling injury time is foolish.  If you play hockey, especially aggressively, sometimes mistakes happen. I'm not condoning hits from behind but sometimes a body check with good intent can turn for the worse.

    Say Ovechkin goes to finish his check and the player turns (a relatively common play) and suffers an injury that cause him to miss the season? or worse? What do you do ban Ovechkin for a year or more, please.

    Hockey is a tough sport, sometimes people think all these changes are good but change for the sake of change isn't. Hockey isn't broke it just needs a little tweaking.

  6. hockey_lover says:

    Perhaps I should be more clear.

    I was speaking specifically in cases where "intent to injure" is prevalent. In cases where the player actually gets suspended for a few games (ie. the hit on Bergeron last year – which was an illegal hit). Or the Orpik hit on Eric Cole a couple of years ago. He broke Cole's neck on a hit from behing and he got 5 games?

    Im not talking about hits like Doug Weight on Sutter. That was a legal hit. Sutter had his head down and he got popped. Thats fine.

  7. Strat says:

    I disagree with a lot of those proposals.

    It's incredibly ironic that you mention you'd like to increase the security of the players and then pull a 180 and :

    – Insinuate goalies need to revert back to equipment that isn't as secure in order to instill some fear into them.

    – Wish for players to use smaller pads which would increase shoulder injuries dramatically, among other things.

    – Feel that blocking shots should be something that should normally be painful for things to be good. Listen, buddy… I don't care who you are : if you drop your body purposefully in front of an 80-100 KM/H-shot frozen puck, it's going to hurt. Despite the padding they wear, they still get injured or at the very least carry huge bruises. Stating the equipment's overkill is a really ignorant thing to write.

    Wooden sticks : it's free to the players to choose which sticks they wish to use. Spezza opts for a wooden one, whereas most players go for the 2-piece synthetic ones. However, Ovechkin uses a one-piece synthetic stick that supposedly is more rugged. Nevertheless, you can't start telling players which sticks they can or can't use. What's next? Telling them they can only choose from 2 models? Homogenizing the league's equipment isn't necessary or warranted.

    No line changes for team that takes a penalty? Are you out of your mind?Do you know the problems this would cause? Firstly, if players are already tired and you give them the assignment to kill a penalty, they'll most likely *need* to take shortcuts in order to accomplish the task, such as hooking, interfering, etc… This will create so many back-to-back penalty scenarios that it boggles the mind why anybody would want to do this. Consequently, you can technically have the same player killing penalties for 6-8-10 min straight! That's insane and not safe (refer back to the irony I exposed earlier)! Furthermore, this will result in more injuries.

    Icing on Powerplays. Oh, come on now! This rule was invented because powerplays were too efficient. Bottom line is that you seem to focus too much on creating/maintaining PPs as opposed to improving the 5-on-5 play. As a result of your rules, 2/3 of each game would be in PP mode for one team or another. Doing this would cripple any team's chances of coming out unscathed from any PP. Ironic, once again, that you mention the league has to let go of its supposedly archaic rules when this one was created more recently than you think.

    Automatic 5 minute penalties for hitting from behind. There are already fakers out there. Indulging them by enforcing this would result in hockey looking like soccer, where the faking would be insanely out of control. 100 000$ is a nice figure, but the bottom line is that the NHLPA would need to agree to this and they never will. Furthermore, some players' salary is not even in the 1 million mark. How would you feel if a ref could decide to yank a huge percentage of your *yearly* earnings for a single act committed? Then, things would get complicated as a lot of players would say the act was accidental. There would be lobbying, potential lawsuits, etc. No, no, no. That's not going to work in the form of what you outlined. A better suggestion, IMHO, would be to make boarding a 5-min penalty.

    I like your other suggestions. Good article, but a bit more research would have yielded even better results.

  8. nordiques100 says:

    hey, like i said, they;'re just mere suggestions that will be brushed aside. but in general lots of things make sense.

    a) goalie equipment is too big. they can shave their padding significantly and still be safe.

    b) the skaters themselves wear too much equipment and some of it can and is used as a weapon (i.e shoulder pads)

    c) penalty killing is too good. the team with the advantage should really have an advantage. and in turn maybe the severity of taking a penalty will help improve discipline in terms of stickwork and obstruction making the game better as a whole. 
     
    d) reckless play like hitting from behind needs to be severely punished in some way

    e) the sticks are bad and make the league look bad and instead of staying status quo, the players should use something else until the problem is cleared up. 

    f) shot blocking is apparently a problem which is why gainey brought up banning it altogether. that i dont think will work. but i was thinking of other ways. back in the day, in the 70s and 80s, you had the likes of gainey himself, carbo, muller blocking shots because they were courageous as it was a real art and took lots of guts to do. but that luster to me has been lost when i see players like ponikarovsky or tlusty, the softest of the soft willingly going down to block shots. i think its because they are so well protected. yes, you will and can still get hurt if it hits you the wrong spot. but not being armed to the teeth could get a player to think twice about doing it, could lead to less shot blocks and bringing it back to more of a specialty. in general though the palyer will still be safe. they have pads, they have shoulder pads, they have gloves, a helmet, a visor etc etc.

    as for the no line changes for the team that takes a penalty, i have to clarify. the players who were on the ice when their teammate takes a penalty have to stay on to start the PK. they dont have to kill the entire penalty. i probably should have clarified that in my explanation. the next stoppage in play the team can change. but to start the PK, the defending team must use the guys that are left on the ice to start. the next stoppage could happen in like 2 seconds and they can change. but until there is one, it makes sense to leave them on and give a greater advantage to the PP. and heck the players on the ice could have just came on. so it works both ways.

  9. sharks4life says:

    simple solution to the checking from behind problem… kick Ryan "The Cheapshot" out of this league

  10. sharks4life says:

    Haha i like your # 4 idea. It would mean Steve Downie AND Ryan Holweg would OWE the league money

  11. sharks4life says:

    simple solution to the checking from behind problem… kick Ryan "The Cheapshot" Holweg out of this league

  12. cam7777 says:

    I agree with a lot of what you're saying, but I'll just comment on what I disagree about.

    First, about the automatic 5 for hitting from behind.  It's a good idea in theory, as people always assume that this will put an end to the Ryan Hollweg type players out there running around with reckless abandon. 

    However, the reality is that this will simply make more players cheaters.  We already see a lot of players who immediately turn their backs when they go to the boards in order to force incoming checkers to abandon their hit.  Do we really need players doing this to purposely draw an insanely punishing penalty?  Something has to be done about hitting from behind, but the REAL hitting from behind, and not the rubbish checks to players who cower and turn their back.

    The three rule changes you mentioned for making penalties more debilitating.  I think you can only have two of those put in at the most.  Icing should still be allowed.  Not being able to ice the puck on a penalty is, in my opinion, too fundamental a change.  Sure these rules together would make killing penalties insanely hard, but how does that work when refs make bad calls?  A bad call will suddenly become a team killing decision.  The refs still aren't getting things nearly "right" enough for this to be instituted. 

    Finally, I don't see what the problem is with the sticks.  If players elect to use them, it's their own damn fault if they break.  The only way that's going to change is if some big name players start switching back to wood.  Visors is also a moot point, as it's becoming the norm now anyways.

  13. blaze says:

    You do realize you openly recommend players should be less protective so people block less shots? I see where you're trying to go with most of your points but actually think about that.

    To decrease shot blocking players should become more susceptible to injury from blocking shots? That especially goes against your other ideas geared towards player safety.

    I disagree with no icing on the PP as well. Although I do like the idea of not allowing the line change on penalties. I know you clarified that they can change on the next stoppage but what about on the fly? Could lead to some potentially sloppy changes which would be beneficial to the PP.

  14. blaze says:

    The comment on the composite sticks is pretty weak. Players use composites for a reason, they're better.

    It would not be like a baseball player using a tree branch at bat, it would be like a baseball player using an aluminum bat that happens to break easier. The funny part is if they were allowed you could bet your a ss a majority of MLB players would use them.

  15. nordiques100 says:

    not if they're breaking. i'd like them to figure out why first. make them better then bring them back. i'm not saying outlawing htem for good. its just ridiculous how often these things are shattering in the players hands.

  16. blaze says:

    So? The odd broken stick is a pretty small sacrifice for what these sticks can do for your shot. Players obviously realize and accept the small risk for excellent benefits.

  17. FlamingHomer says:

    You raised some very interesting ideas which I would like to comment on further
    later but regarding the sticks breaking: If I was a coach, I would insist that players killing a penalty use wooden sticks. How often has a 5 on 4 become a 5 on 3 after a penalty killer breaks his stick?

  18. nordiques100 says:

    just look at these two pictures.

    http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/Arena/3633/khuddy.jpg

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/06/JeffFinger.jpg

    one is charlie huddy, a defenceman from the 1980s and the other is jeff finger from today's NHL.

    i think finger could survive wearing huddy's equipment. thats the point i was trying to make. he wouldnt be killed by a body blow or a blocked shot. it would hurt, but like everyone has said, it would hurt anyways. but the shooter has that much more room without this big bulky defender in his way.

    look at finger's shoulder pads. so long as he protects his face, he can play like a goalie, look big and totally block a shooting lane. i think that needs to change somehow.

    what do players need protection for? for the puck or their opponents?

    i mean are they wearing bulkier, thicker equipment so they can go down to block shots? or is it to protect a slash, a buttend to the chops, a body check, a shot into the boards? to me its everything but blocking shots. thats what players need the protection for. i think technology today can change that, make players protective against these things while being less bulky. and to be honest, even some bullet proof vests arent even that thick.

    http://www.tradenote.net/images/users/000/436/859/products_images/681765.jpg
     
    players are specifically protecting and padding themselves so they can block shots. i just dont know if thats the right idea. thats where my mindset was in thinking about these equipment changes. still wouldnt be completely suicidal to block a shot. i mean to me, this pic of kirk muller tells me you dont have to be that huge and bulky to be a shot blocker and survive doing it.

    http://oua.ca.ismmedia.com/ISM2/NewsManager/605.jpeg.300.jpeg

    muller survived blocking shots which he did regularly, as did his teammates like keane, carbo. but not many choose to do that as it was a dirty job. i think too many players, all players really are ok to go down to block a shot and not feel as much pain. as much pain that is as when muller was playing. it was still "safe" per se when you did it. but that risk factor is gone now with how the equipment is. i guess what i want is to bring back the risk factor while still ensuring players safety. its a fine line.

    oh yeah teams can for sure change on the fly. but people were getting the idea they couldnt change whatsoever which isnt what i was saying at all.

  19. nordiques100 says:

    i guess my focus really is just exactly that reason. breaking sticks is costing teams games.

    but with technology today, those sticks could be improved. however i just dont think the composites are to standard just yet and thus players should wait until its solidified before the league allows their use.

  20. mojo19 says:

    http://www.torontosun.com/sports/columnists/steve_buffery/2008/11/05/7308781-sun.html

    Hey Nords I think you need to read this. Seems that Cliff Fletcher and Steve Buffery agree with me. Thanks for coming out though.

    Also I was at the game last night, awesome comeback too bad we lost in OT. Toskala was not himself, but Grabovski was a stud.

  21. nordiques100 says:

    ha i was at the game too!

    reds, section 107. great view!

    well no team can tank. thats absurd. these are professionals and i didnt expect them to. they're playing well and kudos to them.

    but my argument in general was, you have a better chance at picking great players early in the draft, than later. that cant be denied.

    and while they cant tank, there is a risk of success too soon.

    you spoke of the parellels of the 1999 team. i can see them as well.

    but the question is: were they that good or did they overachieve?

    its too early to say for this group. 13 games is way too short to analyze fully.

    but, the track record of this franchise speaks for itself. fletcher et al, can say what they want, about not tanking, about building for the future, about no 30 somethings, about not trading future assets for quick fixes, but when there's several millions on the table, a playoff spot in reach, there will no doubt be internal pressures to try and cash in.

    i blame the teachers. in their presence, the need for profits takes precedents. a championship will be the cherry on top. whatever the leafs are building now, if they're close, they're going to force the issue and want playoff revenues. thats been their M.O and thats not going to change unless they're pushed out.

    and when i say force the issue, they'll throw whatever they're building down the toilet to win enough now after 5 years of no playoff revenues.

    you'd like to think it would be different but your comparison with the 99 team speaks for itself. from that squad

    warriner 24 years old
    sullivan 24 years old
    johnson 23 years old
    modin 23 years old

    all sent packing. while they got a young tucker, they also picked up older players like cross and khristich. and of course in later years veteran free agents were bought and other older players: renberg, reichel, nolan, were traded for and more youth, mair, macauley, markov, boyes were shipped out.

    and lest we forget, the draft picks.

    so maybe its not good to compare with the 99 squad simply because success came quick but not true success which is a cup. its the teachers fault and their greed and its not out of the question they impact what the leafs have going on here right now.

    its no secret they want burke. burke can turn things around quickly. ultimate success is still in question but no doubt he's exactly what they want, a guy who can get them back sooner than later.

    thats all well and good but i like to see it done the right way. you've mentioned that yeah they can draft ok in the mid rounds. but htis is provided they keep the picks. but yes they can pick middle and succeed. the habs did………with the exception of price, a top 5 pick. 

    the right way in my mind is the draft and if they can hold on at all costs, thats the way to go. thats what i am preaching and being patient for things to develop. but not all feel that way after the decent start and to me thats getting carried away. and i am sure the teachers wont if playoffs are in their grasp.

  22. mojo19 says:

    I was in Green's section 322.

    And ya obviously its a plus to grab a top prospect in the top 5 of a draft. But my whole arguement was that with a young team I'd rather see them play over .500. So what we don't get Tavares or whatever, it shows that the guys on our team can play which counts for more. 

    If you wanna say that finishing middle of the pack is what we've been doing the last few years you're right. But its different to do it with 24 year olds than it is to do with 30 year olds. If you know what I'm saying!!!

    Cliff Fletcher put this group together to learn under Ron Wilson together as a group. Hopefully if the bulk of these guys can stay together (and that is key) within a few years we'll have a real contending team. Then look to trade, add UFA's or keep bringing in guys like Kulemin, Tlusty, Schenn who you've drafted. Drafting well is key too, but like Fletch says, drafting smart is the way to go (see New Jersey).

    But if you are worried about the Teachers meddling and us trading for vets, I am with you there. My whole thing is that I'd rather see this team winning games. Forget Tavares let's be as good as we can be and get the most out of these guys! You dig?

  23. mojo19 says:

    And its too bad we didn't keep that '99 team intact. None of them became superstars but some became stars:
     
    – Sullivan and Modin became 30 goal men elsewhere
    – Jason Smith who was on the '99 team until the deadline became… Jason Smith
    – Alyn McCauley was an assistant captain with the Sharks before his concussions ended his career. He even got some Selke consideration one season
    – Mike Johnson was the only Coyote one season to put up over 60 pts, leading the team
    – I'm convinced that Berard would have been a very high end d-man for years if not for his injury. Even look at the numbers he put up in his career after that injury, holy he had some outstanding seasons offensively.

    And yes the '99 team did overacheive like you said. Veteran guys came up big – Derik King posted 50-something pts. Igor Korelev had a tremendous year, Karpovstev had a productive year on the blueline etc. And the biggest thing was that Cujo was our MVP.

    But the main thing I liked about that team is those young guys mentioned who all went on to do good/great things in their careers. We could have a similar group playing together right now. That's what we should be hoping for anyways. So GLG! Let's win some games, Tavares is out of the question let's hope for the playoffs. Stop analysing the team and start cheering for them, be a real fan not a scientist. That's all I got to say about that.

  24. FlamingHomer says:

    1. Completely agree.
    2. There is no need for any equipment other than shin guards to be made of a hard substance. Padded is sufficient and would cut down on injuries to opponents.
    3. Agree, there should be more flex in the boards but actually I'm OK with rinks being different from one another. There should be some advantage of playing in your home rink and all teams are at home only half the time.
    4. I think you have to leave this to the players to decide but coaches should have some say if broken sticks are costing wins. I would insist using wooden sticks when killing penalties.
    5. When they made seatbelts mandatory here in Alberta there was a furor that drivers should have the right to fly through the windshield in an accident so I guess that part of me says that visors should be an option.

    Rule Changes
    1. If they enforced the rule as it is written which is "possession and control" of the puck, not just touching it, that would keep the whistle from blowing so quickly on many occassions. One rule I liked in the good old WHA was that you had to get the puck over your own blue line before you shot it down the ice when killing a penalty otherwise it came back for icing.
    2. Sorry, don't like that suggestion.
    3. Too many players already dragging their butts around the ice for 82 games without that rule to make it worse.
    4. As someone already noted, this could be counterproductive with players "taking one for the team" and purposely turning.
    5. Can't believe it's not already in place.

    Rules to take out:
    Penalty for shooting puck over glass
    Game misconduct for jersey coming loose in a fight
    Restrictive playing of the puck for goalies

    That's enough for now.

  25. mojo19 says:

    One more thing: You're still my boy Nords 😉 No hard feelings

  26. nordiques100 says:

    hey i'm not against rooting for them to win. unfortunately there are many, (i.e those calling in to andy frost on 640 after the game) who are a bit over the top predicting playoffs ALREADY. ugh, it just feeds into what the teachers want.

    i'm waiting a bit later to really see what this team is made of. 13 games is just too quick to work up in a frenzy. we've made that mistake before. its time we fans demanded something more, something greater than 8th place in the conference and a sub .500 record. soemthing greater than even a mere playoff spot around 7th or 8th.

    the bar here has to be set higher. and i think its right to continue to beat that into leaf nation.

    i think we can reach that bar even as soon as next season and there raise it even higher and higher until we get to the ultimate goal.

    right now, its a huge feeling out period and its unfortunately going to take some time. i'm ok with that. not many are from those i've spoken with about the buds. its been a long time since may 04. i think lots of us are sick of waiting. but we unfortunately couldnt control stupidity that was JFJ and to some extent those around him and especially those above him. they and he blew like 5 years for us. 

    i think we're like 2 years behind the habs to use a team as an example. their stable of young players is awesome. i think the leafs need one young home grown stud to join schenn and the leafs have the kids around who are decent and have potential to get better. its exciting but we still need to wait for it. 

  27. nordiques100 says:

    the group is similar. lets not this time throw them under the bus. but that unfortunately is up to the teachers.

    ugh. yeah rick ley said he didnt think smith was NHL calibre. its i guess why ley is NHL unemployed as we speak.

  28. offside12 says:

    What about if even the minor penalties are served for the whole two minutes if there is a goal scored, like a 5 minute major?

  29. mojo19 says:

    Well said. But that being said, if they do finish 8th this year with the team they have (couple of minor moves, maybe one of their d-men is dealt for a pick, maybe Poni is dealt for a pick or prospect or some other trade of this nature) and we still finish in 7th or 8th, it would be a great to know that this group is playing Ron Wilson hockey and were getting good things from this rag-tag group! The future would look bright!

    But ya, one more stud being drafted would be nice. Maybe they should move Kaberle to a team that's desperate for a 1st rounder, think Columbus or Tampa, then hope he doesn't help them too much and maybe get a top 10 pick that way (or *another* top ten pick depending where we finish)

  30. mojo19 says:

    We really could have had a competitive team keeping those guys (Sully, Modin), we wouldn't have traded Markov for Reichel and Green, we still could have done the Johnson deal for Tucker, picked up Roberts and Mogilny as UFA's (and Fitzy! Quinn liked to coach those vets) and we would have been just as competitve during those years.

    McCauley and Boyes for Nolan hurts now too doesn't it.

  31. mojo19 says:

    Here's my other favourite Leafs team ever, this team could have won it all, we just needed to close out game 6 at home vs. New Jersey. Biggest heartbreaker, EVER!!!

    2000-01 The team Pat Quinn called "Built for the playoffs"

    Roberts – Sundin – Thomas
    Corson – Perrault – Tucker
    Berezin- Korelev – Hoglund (JH played 1st line reg ssn, 3rd line in pst ssn)
    Valk – Antropov – Domi

    Yushkevich – McCabe
    Kaberle – Markov
    Manson – Cross

    Joseph
    Healey

    (McCauley, Berg, Belak)

  32. mojo19 says:

    This team was famous for sneaking into the playoffs in 7th place and facing the Sens in the first round, who finished just behind New Jersey for the presidents trophy. Pat Quinn said he wasn't worried about Ottawa because his team was "built for the playoffs". Result? Leafs sweeeeeep the heavily favoured Sens go 7 games with the eventual Cup champ Devils, giving New Jersey their toughest series in those playoffs.

  33. nordiques100 says:

    indeed, there may well be another "don waddell" GM with a mandate to get into the playoffs or else and would sell the farm for that chance.
     
    there was reluctance last year, but a team like the jackets for sure, whom have never made it, might be desperate. we'll see by march.

    but by then too we'll see if the leafs are in 10-12th place or in a playoff spot.

  34. nordiques100 says:

    the infamous domi hit on nieds killed us.

    that really made me lose lots of respect for tie. i lost all of it in his last year with some of his selfish comments that he should play more and that stupid stupid stupid ceremony that he wanted and got for 1000 games.

  35. mojo19 says:

    I think even if they are in a playoff spot Fletcher would pull the trigger on that type of deal. When he came in he said the goal was to eventually "win a stanley cup, not make the playoffs". So even if we're in 9th or even as high as 6th, I think you have to deal a stud like Kaberle or Kubina if the return is substantial.

  36. nordiques100 says:

    again it comes back to the teachers who make the final call. we unfortunately still cant trust peddie and tanenbaum. i hate the fact tehy're still hands on. soon as the mandate comes down from the teachers who see the team in 6th and want them to hang on, their track record suggests they'll go the other way and get a player like a kubina or kaberle rather than deal them away. or at least hold on to them at all costs to help us win now passing on maybe a couple of 1sts, a couple of prospects for those players. 

    unfortunately we have no evidence to suggest otherwise. thats how they've been. i'd like to believe it to not be true and they actually are dead set on building something but they cant be trusted.
     
    its too early to tell. but the evidence will be clear as day at the deadline to see where they're going to take this, especially if the team is hovering around 6th to 10th. they SHOULD move players out, especially if there is a huge offer for kabby or antropov says i dont want to stay or whatever. if they do that, then we will know for sure they are taking the team in the right direction, building within, getting younger, developing their own. 

    if they do the opposite, keep say antropov despite him for sure leaving risking his loss for nothing and leave offers on the table for pony, steen, etc passing on a chance to get a return and in fact moving more picks to win now, we're in trouble.  

    i'd like to say thats never going to happen but its those darn teachers. hate to continue to beat on that point and be so negative about it but they're pure evil for us in leaf nation. boy would i like to say they're doing it right this time but they are so freaking greedy its killing all of us.

    we need a george gillett or a illitch who lets hockey people make the big decisions.

  37. leaffaninva says:

    My first comment / suggestion in regards to cutting the number of cheap  headshots and/or hits from behind:  SCRAP THE INSTIGATOR RULE. 

    Then, if you have someone that sees a vunerable player reaching for a pass – he'll think twice about cleaning his clock with a huge hit and may opt for containing said player or, face the reality of having to watch his back when the other teams tough guy comes on to the ice.  This will also prevent cheap shot artist like avery to get away with what they do night after night.  This also plays a role with players hitting thier opponents from behind intentionally. 

    As far as the comment regarding the goalie equipment – have you seen the size of some of the current goalies in the NHL?  Even if you were to limit the size of the padding on someone like Thomas – the boy still takes up 85% of the goal.   If you start limiting the amount or type of padding that players are allowed to wear and injuries skyrocket – that rule will hurt players more then having them checked with a plastic based shoulder pad as oppose to a foam lined one.

    Although the thought of having a team requiring a zone clearing shot to stop the play on a delayed penalty is intreging – think of this scenario.  A good percentage of the penalties are caused by tired or lazy players at the end of thier shift.  Having that player on the ice to clear the zone in said tired state could also lead to more injuries

  38. mojo19 says:

    True. But Antropov will stay in Toronto at a discounted price. Leafs fans rejoice.

  39. Uncleben says:

    1. Goalie equipment, maybe a lil smaller, or nets bigger
    2. No. thats all i got 😛
    3. Makes sense. even to have regulation height and shape makes sense.
    4. player's choice (although i prefer wooden sticks)
    5. agree …but alas, it wont happen =

    1. i like it. i think itd work
    2. this would not. tired players=more short cuts, cheap shots, hooks, trips, etc.=more penalties w the same tired players on.
    3. again, tired players.
    4. i'm on the fence on this one…… diver's and fakers, and milkers out there…
    5. Definetly. simple as that.

    also,
    get rid of instigator, for reasons stated and debated over and over again
    and
    get rid of game misconduct for loose jersey in a fight. i mean, wth!?

  40. vzbcdy says:

    My comment is that about the non call when the penalized team ices the puck.  If they were stupid enough to get a penalty (or get caught), they should not be awarded by being allowed to ice the puck.  A penalty, by its own definition, is given to a team that commits a penalty. 

    SUCK it up.  If you are penalized you should not get ANY exemptions from the normal rules that are in effect during non penalized play.

  41. cam7777 says:

    Can you guys imagine the difference it would have made if Fletcher had pressed harder to land Brunnstrom, and then made a hard pitch for Blake Wheeler.  Our lines would look a little more like this:

    Ponikarovsky – Matt Stajan – Nik Antropov
    Alex Steen – F.Brunnstrom – Blake Wheeler
    Nik Hagman – M.Grabovski – Nik Kulemin
    Dom Moore – John Mitchell – Jason Blake
    (Hollweg, Mayers)

    you add Brayden Schenn to that forward mix, sign a big free agent, and the rebuild is done…

    Oh well

  42. mojo19 says:

    Brunnstrom and/or Wheeler would have been nice…..

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