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Bigger nets, bigger scores


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#1 Rock

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 09:48 AM

Bigger nets, bigger scores
http://slam.canoe.ca...825506-sun.html

Post-to-post coverage threatened
By AL STRACHAN -- Toronto Sun



Goalies such as Marty Turco will have a lot more room to cover in the butterfly if the NHL goes to a larger net. (Edmonton Sun File/Darryl Dyck)
The future has been on display at the Ricoh Coliseum for the last few days -- and not just in the form of players.

Granted, the rookies are there for a four-team tournament, but perhaps more importantly, the games are being played using the wider net that is almost certainly destined to come to the National Hockey League.

Last year, the tiny segment of the NHL hierarchy that actually does something useful -- the hockey operations department -- instituted a dramatic series of rule changes that improved the game tremendously.

The goalies were forced to stay where they belong -- near the net -- and the restraining fouls were punished. There were other moves, including the removal of the red line as a factor in offside calls. To the surprise of many general managers, that too had a significant positive impact.

But really, the moves didn't go far enough. League-wide scoring increased, which was the whole purpose of the exercise, but closer examination showed this to be the result of an explosion in power-play scoring.


At even strength, the teams were no more potent than they had been in previous seasons.

So, if you believe that after a full season, the players finally have realized that the crackdown is here to stay, then you also have to believe that there will be fewer power plays. And therefore, the scoring drought will once again be a problem.

Anticipating this development, the league is evaluating further changes that will improve the offensive aspect of the game. That is why the experiment with the larger nets is under way. They are eight inches wider than the standard six feet, and are six inches higher. That puts them at 4-feet-..

That extra six square feet should provide the scoring increase that most fans covet. But if the league decides to make these nets a part of the regular season, there will be an inevitable backlash from the purists. Although roughly 80% of the fans approved of last year's rule changes, there were still some vocal critics.

And to change the rules is one thing. To change the structure of the game is another.

The purists will say that the game should not be revamped so drastically. They will say that records will be skewed -- for obvious reasons -- and they will not go quietly into that good night.

But the game needs the larger nets, and it won't be as bad as the purists suspect.

For one thing, when you walk into the rink and look at these nets, they don't appear to be appreciably larger. It's not as if you're looking at a soccer net. You have to study the frames to realize that they are larger than their predecessors.

But they will make a major difference in the game because of that extra eight inches in width. The extra height will have some impact, but the extra width is a much bigger factor.

It means that goalies no longer will be able to flop down into a butterfly position and cover the entire lower quarter of the net without exposing the five-hole.

Goalies have been getting taller and taller over the years and, like players at other positions, have become more proficient. But they've also learned how to make themselves more efficient with the minimum of work.

If they drop down, they don't need to see the puck or make any further moves. They have already forced the player to shoot high, but not too high. That is not easy if you are on the edge of the crease.

But with the wider nets, goalies will be forced to move. If they merely drop down and expose those extra inches inside the post, the shooters will soon learn to take advantage.

Goalies will have to move to the puck, and once they move to one post, they will create a larger opening at the other post which the accurate shooters will exploit.

The larger nets will demand more from goalies but reward skilled offensive players.

And that is what fans want.
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#2 ffg254

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 10:50 AM

As a goalie, I wholeheartedly disagree. Why doesn't the NHL just put a paper cut out of a goalie and strap it to the posts? I mean, wouldn't the fans love that? Hockey is a game of offense and DEFENSE, its not suppose to be "easier" to score. What fans hate seeing goalies make saves (or for that matter play the puck out of the corner)? For me, its just as exciting watching Marty steal a close game at 2-1, than a 9-7 "barn burner".
If this rule were to come into effect, you would see half the goalies in the league out in the first 4 weeks with injuries (an effect of the faster game already seen last season).
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#3 mddevsfan

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 11:18 AM

That extra six square feet should provide the scoring increase that most fans covet.

Says you. :blahblah:

What's next, a three-point line? This is getting absurd. :wacko:
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#4 Devils731

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 11:22 AM

I hate to agree with Strachan but I do think it is a benefit for bigger nets letting skilled players be rewarded for being good shooters as opposed to teams firing pucks at the net and then crasher and bumping the goalie in hopes of getting a garbage goal.

The standard we should be looking at is not the size of the goal but the amount of empty net shooters can look at and with the increase in goalie size and ability to layer on extra equipment without adding extra weight it has become ridiculous how little shooters have to look at.
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#5 Swede

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 11:25 AM

at least it would stop the import of european goalies :)

there's no way the european leagues would follow a change like this.
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#6 ffg254

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 12:28 PM

I hate to agree with Strachan but I do think it is a benefit for bigger nets letting skilled players be rewarded for being good shooters as opposed to teams firing pucks at the net and then crasher and bumping the goalie in hopes of getting a garbage goal.

The standard we should be looking at is not the size of the goal but the amount of empty net shooters can look at and with the increase in goalie size and ability to layer on extra equipment without adding extra weight it has become ridiculous how little shooters have to look at.


But how much skill does it really take. Skill is putting a puck though a crevice created by a goalies weekness, or from good passing leaving a portion of the net open. Not from being able to put the puck in the portions of the net the goalie cannot cover. Goalie equipement is restrictive enough. Its physically impossible to cover a net bigger than it is while a puck is traveling at 130 MPH from 30 feet away. Pucks are being fired harder and faster than ever, there has to be a balance. Make the nets bigger, but take composite sticks and bring back good old twigs. Gotta give goalies a fighting chance to make a save.
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#7 Devils731

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 12:38 PM

I'm sure the skaters would gladly go back to wood if the net they could see would go back to what they used to see in the 70's or 80's. I want to see skill from the goalies, not highly practiced kneeling machines as well.

Edited by Devils731, 11 September 2006 - 12:39 PM.

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#8 '7'

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 12:45 PM

This is a rash and supid idea. I would maybe implement another crackdown on goalie equipment after this year, continue the crackdown on obstruction and see where it goes. The league needs to have some patience, things didn't get bad overnight and they won't get better overnight either.
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#9 BlueSkirt

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 01:13 PM

OMG ! I agree with 7.

They did not reduce the catching gloves enough, and should reduce them even more. Like I've said before, there is no safety concerns here, if the keeper misses the catch then it simply hits the net.

Also would like to see the blocker be reduced.
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#10 LizDevil30

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 01:32 PM

I think the baskets in basketball need to be lowered. Oh and might as well make them wider too.
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#11 Derek21

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 02:51 PM

I kind of agree with some of what 731 said. The only problem I see in today's game is that the goalies are just too freaking big now. With all the equipment they have, they don't need to do as much to cover the net. It's a joke. Go watch tapes from 20 years ago. It was never that easy where you could just stick your pads out and the puck would hit it.

Of course, part of it is that the goalies today are much better than yesterday. They're more technically sound and well schooled. Out of all the positions in the NHL, goalie is the one that's advanced the most.

Despite all this, I don't believe in going to bigger nets. What are they going to do next? Change the size of the rink?!?!?!?!?!

I mean when you watch today's games, the players overall are bigger leaving less room out there. It's like they had a Ranger-Islander game on from 1976 on that MSG Vault show last night. And my oh my was there a lot more room to maneuver and make plays. Maybe also cause they didn't have as much equipment on either. I know why there's more. To prevent serious injuries. But I think it's still too much.

I am not sure what the answer is.
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#12 Don

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 03:11 PM

As I said last year (and the year before, and ....), give the goalies the choice. Wear the same gear that Jacques Plante did, or enlarge the nets.
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#13 Devilish34

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 03:36 PM

**sigh**
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#14 David Puddy

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 05:21 PM

It was never that easy where you could just stick your pads out and the puck would hit it.


Suit up and you'll change your tune. Goaltending has always been based on POSITIONING. That is why shooters don't see much net, because of solid ANGLE and DEPTH. The increased equipment size doesn't really add that much to the game. Fact is, goalies are better ATHLETES nowadays than they used to be, and honestly I would be more apt to agree that bigger nets are necessary if people would admit that instead of just blaming it on big equipment.

Here's the question you need to answer: How many goals a game is enough? 5? 10? 15?

(Fact is, that's a stupid question and I hope you know it.)
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