Is it time for larger nets?

Jonathan Willis
May 14 2013 11:46AM

NHL goaltenders have been improving, year-over-year, in nearly every season since the league started tracking save percentage. In the early 1980’s, an NHL team could expect to score 13 goals for every 100 shots it took; today, they can expect to score on less than nine.

Are bigger nets the answer?

League Average Save Percentage

The chart above shows the rise in save percentage over the time the NHL has recorded the statistic (data courtesy of QuantHockey).

The term “dead puck era” gets used a lot for that period in the mid-1990’s, but really it’s defined the Gary Bettman-run NHL. Bettman took over the league in February 1993; at the time the league-average save percentage was 0.885. It was up to 0.895 within one year, over 0.900 the next, and aside from a slight dip in 1995-96 it’s been going up ever since. In 2003-04, league-average save percentage hit a high at 0.911; it dropped following the lockout but matched that figure again in 2009-10 and has been that high or higher in every season since.

Larger Nets

Photo: Elliot/Wikimedia

Goal-scoring is a complex item that has to do with a lot of things – power play opportunities, the standard of officiating, coaching, player ability, player equipment and a host of other things. The 2005-06 dip was mostly a result of tightened officiating and increased power play opportunities, but either NHL teams have adapted or the standard has slipped because those power play opportunities have gone away and teams aren’t scoring more frequently at even-strength.

Larger nets address only one part of the problem, by making it easier to score once a player gets into shooting position. But addressing that one problem could help with the rest.

Part of the reason scoring has slipped is the prevalence of defensive systems. With modern goalies being so capable of stopping pucks, teams cannot consistently score their way out of trouble. What they can do is keep the other side from scoring, so my belief is that a low-scoring NHL is in some ways self-reinforcing; the rarer goals become, the more the emphasis is placed on preventing them.

Larger nets would allow teams to become more confident that getting shots will lead to getting goals, and should allow coaches to be more offence-focused – as well as placing more of a premium on guys who can score goals rather than guys who can prevent the other side from scoring goals.

Adaptation

The league adopted standardized nets (designed by Art Ross - he's the fellow on the far right in the front row, posing with the rest of the Kenora Thistles and the Stanley Cup) in the 1920’s, in the same season that forward passes were legalized in the neutral and defensive zones (but not the attacking zone). The NHL has fiddled with supports and the shape of the frame, but the basic dimensions of the net – 6’ by 4’ – haven’t changed since then.

What has changed is goaltenders, and goaltending equipment. Goalies are bigger than ever; goaltending equipment is both larger and weighs much less than it did in years past. Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock made this point recently as he voiced his support for larger nets:

If the goalies [are] getting bigger than the net is getting smaller. By refusing to change you are changing. Purists would say you can't do it because you're changing the game but by not changing you are changing the game.

Goaltending equipment has received lots of attention over the years, and rightly so, but for a 6’4” goaltender it doesn’t matter how form-fitting the equipment is – he’s going to take up a lot of room. Additionally, at some point cutting into goaltending equipment introduces injury risks – something that isn’t true with larger nets.

In general, I’m a traditionalist. But the game has changed in the slightly less than 90 years since forward passing was the league’s biggest hot-button rule issue, and changing the size of the net to help compensate for the tremendous increases in goaltender size, equipment and ability seems a logical step to take.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Romulus' Apotheosis
May 14 2013, 12:19PM
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Yes.

This is a great idea.

"last goal wins" is infinitely more fun to watch than "first goal wins"

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#2 MarcusBillius
May 14 2013, 12:33PM
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If anything, the nets should be one or two inches wider, but four-six inches taller. Make goalies stand up again.

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#3 Romulus' Apotheosis
May 14 2013, 01:20PM
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League contraction ought to be blue skied here too.

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#4 The Soup Fascist
May 14 2013, 02:14PM
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WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS BASHING THE NETS??? No wonder Oilers fans can't keep a good set of nets. Leave the nets alone!!! Sincerely, J.

But seriously, calling obstruction and interference would be job #1 prior to changing the nets. It may be anecdotal, but seems like coming out of the '05 lockout there were more scoring opportunities and goals when the players were not allowed to hold, hug and interfere.

This playoff reffing has been intolerable. I like hard hits as much as anyone but the refs are missing flat out tackles in the name of "lettin' them play". Go back to the tighter calls for obstruction and interference and see what happens.

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#5 Racki
May 14 2013, 11:53AM
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I used to be opposed to any changes to the beautiful, perfect game.. but I'm firmly behind this now. I think the player's sticks are so much more capable of unleashing damage via a huge slapper or even wrister that a goalie has to protect himself better. They don't want to give up much more of that protection. The next most logical thing is to make the nets a bit bigger, then it keeps the goalies just as safe, but should increase scoring.

Not sure how much bigger the nets would have to get though.

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#6 Taylor Gang
May 14 2013, 12:01PM
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I fail to see why the goalies should be punished just for being better. Besides, too many goals takes the electric feeling away from when they're scored.

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#7 Rob...
May 14 2013, 12:03PM
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I'd rather see them expand the rink size to match European rink dimensions. In addition it'd be nice if they enforced the friggin rules of the game consistently throughout the season and playoffs. If you give players more room to skate and actually start penalizing teams for interference, hooking, tripping, boarding,... the number of goals will likely increase. That Leafs/Boston game was not hockey; it had more in common with an 1980's WWF Saturday Night Main Event.

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#8 Racki
May 14 2013, 12:13PM
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Rob... wrote:

I'd rather see them expand the rink size to match European rink dimensions. In addition it'd be nice if they enforced the friggin rules of the game consistently throughout the season and playoffs. If you give players more room to skate and actually start penalizing teams for interference, hooking, tripping, boarding,... the number of goals will likely increase. That Leafs/Boston game was not hockey; it had more in common with an 1980's WWF Saturday Night Main Event.

I'd love to see the NHL rinks expanded to Euro size, but the NHL probably won't ever go for it since that means less seats. But it'd be nice to see these Oilers with more space to work with.

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#10 Concur
May 14 2013, 12:36PM
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If the league wants more goal scoring then they should make it a non-contact sport. That would allow all the small speedy scorers that get pushed around to play and add more additional talent to every team.

Even though I say this and believe this is true, I don't want to see it happen, I want more hitting, but I think they need to look at the equipment and take out the hard plastic in the upper body that causes the injuries.

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#11 Oiler Al
May 14 2013, 01:46PM
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Keep the ice surface the same... [ see how boring the Worlds are from Sweden].

1.Cut down the width of the goalie shoulder pads. you dont need 6 inch beyond the body for protection.

2. Increase the height of the goal by 2 inches and the width by 4 inches.

3. Increase the size of the blue paint.

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#12 Archaeologuy
May 14 2013, 02:04PM
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New Rule. Cannot be a Goalie if you are taller than 6'

Problem. Solved.

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#13 gcw_rocks
May 14 2013, 02:20PM
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YES YES YES! It is time.

Here is an article from SI on the subject from 2007 that makes the case.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/em_swift/01/16/bigger.goals/index.html

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#14 106 and 106
May 14 2013, 02:29PM
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@Oiler Al

"You don't need 6 inch beyond the body for protection."

You've obviously never been hit at full speed, champ. Dust em off, strap em on and see what happens.

Betcha' you'll never say that again from your couch!

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#15 Mannificent
May 14 2013, 02:39PM
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This has been a huge issue for me for quite a while - thanks for bringing this up JW. Just based on your stats, it is obvious that there is a problem that needs a solution. Goals are steadily going down, which then causes each goal to be more important - so coaching is all around defense, play along the boards, keep the puck away from the middle and put it deep - all much more boring hockey than from the high scoring era. As well, because it is so hard to score 5X5, this makes PP so much more important, which makes games even more frustrating, when bad penalty calls decide the game. Yes, sticks and players are better, but goal scoring is still way down, so that is what needs to be addressed. How I miss the fact that the best wingers in the League, could occasionally score from the blueline, flying down the wing, such as Lafleur, Bossy, Kurri, Hull etc. Never happens now. As well breakaways presented a 25%-50% chance of scoring, way less now. To me the solution is to find a way to increase scoring by 1/game per team and test net sizes for reach that. I suspect, keeping proportion the same, that another 3 in. wide by 2 in. high, might do it. You would not know that difference by looking at it from the stands, but that is all it might take. All the goal-post shots, we have now, will not go in, because goalies will adjust to the new size, so doing that math is useless. Finally more goals will change the game to more entertaining again, as possession becomes more important and getting a shot on net. On other suggestions - I agree with 3 pts for win, ice size doesn't change scoring rate at all. Just my thoughts

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#16 Tony Montana
May 14 2013, 02:51PM
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My thoughts, not that anyone asked for them. :)

You will never see the playing surfaces get significantly larger. The reason for this are many.

Finacial - fewer seats = less revenue

Practical - It is simply not practical to convert every arena in North America to accomodate an "International Ice surface"

Multi Use facilities - Many, if not most of the arena house a basketball team, which plays on a much smaller court than a hockey ice surface, building arenas that accomodate the international ice surface would negatively impact the game experience in these buildings for basketball.

Is making the nets bigger an ideal solution? Maybe not, but it is the best and safest solution. If it could turn the league from the current 2-1 / 3-2 league that it is now into a 4-3 or 5-4 league then the sport as a whole would benifit.

1-2" wider and 1 - 2" taller is a minute change that could pay huge dividends.

As to the arguement "why punish the goalies?" Leagues punish certain groups all the time. The NFL makes it harder to play defense every year, why? Safety and scoring. This is a solution for the NHL which will not impact safety negatively but will affect scoring positively. Though to be fair a friend of mine and I were discussing this very issue last week, so of course I am going to support an idea I was floating to him last week.

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#17 Spydyr
May 14 2013, 04:40PM
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I'm a traditionalist but the game has changed .Watch a game form the 70's or 80's players had net to shoot at.Goals were scored off the wing with good shots. Messier used to beat goalies with a hard wrist shot on his off wing.

Today the best way for teams to score is crowd the net and hope for a screen or a rebound.To me that is boring as hell.Bring the skill back give the shooter some twine to see.

I'm with Dryden on this and if you have never read his book the game give it a go you won't be disappointed.

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#18 Knighttown
May 14 2013, 04:58PM
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Great job JW. I truly don't get the fear about this. As Dryden says, this game is based on a fair competition between shooters and goalies and that competition is out of balance. by NOT changing anything you are in fact changing everything. We're viewed as radicalists but in fact we're he ones who want to stick with tradition...the tradition of a balanced match between offence and defence. At this point a good 80% of goals are scored via some sort of screen, bounce, deflection or rebound.

As in the NFL there should be a competition committee who meets every offseason with the express purpose of keeping scoring in a certain optimal range. The debate can be what that range is...is it 8 goals a game? 7? 9?

So once they decide what that number is everything is on the table as far a changes go until they reach this optimal level. If equipment size, obstruction penalties and ice size don't work then the more radical changes are looked at. Getting to 8 goals per game is non-negotiable. Maybe the next step is larger nets and if you have to you go to 4 on 4.

Sure this is a difficult thing to consider because the changes needed are so huge but once they are implemented it would be tiny, tiny tweaks every year or two. Stop and think before you answer this question...

Do you really think you'd even notice nets that are a few inches higher and wider after about 2 months?

A few of the posters are correct about the long term impact of larger nets. Tiny increases in net size may have beautiful and meaningful effects on the game.

-will taller nets keep goalies on their feet. If so, making a save becomes an action rather than the result of perfect positioning and technique. -since goaltending will now require movement coaches will be forced to change the culture of defensemen playing goalie. Too much net is unprotected and if a goalie can't see the puck they can't move to stop it. Shot blocking will be early (at point of shot) or not at all. -larger nets means more clean goals are scored and more clean goals means the hiring of more players who can score clean goals. In this world Linus Omark can find work and Lennert Petrell can't.

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#19 jake
May 14 2013, 05:07PM
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To all those who have mentioned contraction as a way to attack boring hockey, I salute you, the few the proud.

I used to think Euro ice size might add to the excitement of a game, changed my mind. A 1-0 game can be electric. It's scoring chances that provide much of the exciting aspect of hockey, if a goalie committs robbery on the SC, so be it, also exciting.

MORE TALENT PER TEAM. CONTRACTION.

Start with contraction, then tinker with other stuff.

I am a broken record on contraction, and will stay broken ;)

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#20 Taylor Gang
May 14 2013, 11:58AM
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Racki wrote:

I used to be opposed to any changes to the beautiful, perfect game.. but I'm firmly behind this now. I think the player's sticks are so much more capable of unleashing damage via a huge slapper or even wrister that a goalie has to protect himself better. They don't want to give up much more of that protection. The next most logical thing is to make the nets a bit bigger, then it keeps the goalies just as safe, but should increase scoring.

Not sure how much bigger the nets would have to get though.

Larger equipment doesn't correlate to more protection. How does a wider pad suddenly give you more protection?

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#21 Racki
May 14 2013, 12:02PM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

Larger equipment doesn't correlate to more protection. How does a wider pad suddenly give you more protection?

The NHL goalies complained that by reducing their equipment size they would be less protected. Ask them, not me.. I never played goal. And it wasn't just their goal pads on the legs that the NHL has been trying to reduce for years.

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#23 Lego
May 14 2013, 12:12PM
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Bigger nets may increase the number of goals scored but it won't make the game any more exciting. In fact coaches may feel they have to lock it down even more to prevent the other team from getting shots.

Defense is easier to coach than offense, coaches need incentive to coach a more offensive style. Maybe a team gets 3 points instead of 2 if they win and they score 4 goals or more?

Or maybe they should just get rid of coaches all together! I've never seen the trap used in rec league.

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#24 Taylor Gang
May 14 2013, 12:13PM
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You can't really compare changing the dimensions of the net to the forward pass rule. Changing the size of the net is like switching the puck with a bouncy ball.

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#25 NewfoundlandOil
May 14 2013, 12:14PM
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I like the idea of a larger rink as well.

It seems to me that the game has morphed much more from hockey into what I like to call "bouncing puck". A lot hacking and whacking with the stick and a lot less players carrying the puck.

I think increasing the size of the net will just lead to the notion that goalies need to be big to be successful; similar to how size is emphasized now for defencemen and forwards in NHL rinks.

I'd like to see changes that speed the game up more and allow the puck carrier to be more elusive in each zone of play. Increasing the size of the ice surface seems the most logical approach and will likely help with scoring chances.

However increasing the size of the rink is a large facilities issue for most NA arenas that just won't have the extra seating capacity to offset seats lost in the bowl area.

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#26 NewfoundlandOil
May 14 2013, 12:19PM
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JW, Is there anything in your mind that explains the nearly straight line increase in SP over the period.

If it was explained by equipment only (or any other singular rule change) would it not be represented by more acute increases in SP over 1-2 years. Seems the increase is very consistent.

Does the tail end of the plot indicate that SP has currently flat lined at just below .915? Is that enough scoring for entertainment value?

Have the shots per game dropped off over the same period? Scoring chances?

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#28 Eddie Edmonton
May 14 2013, 12:21PM
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No, the bigger nets are not the answer.

The answer is, bigger ice. And of course, better regulated and proper equipment on the goaltenders.

The current ice surface might have worked for the players in the 60's and 70', I believe todays players need more room to showcase their talents. Most of the game is just a big cluster#@$% in front of the net and along the boards, there is not much room for players to skate and stickhandle.

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#29 Georgio
May 14 2013, 12:21PM
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Lego wrote:

Bigger nets may increase the number of goals scored but it won't make the game any more exciting. In fact coaches may feel they have to lock it down even more to prevent the other team from getting shots.

Defense is easier to coach than offense, coaches need incentive to coach a more offensive style. Maybe a team gets 3 points instead of 2 if they win and they score 4 goals or more?

Or maybe they should just get rid of coaches all together! I've never seen the trap used in rec league.

I've played in lots of rec leagues where teams use versions of the trap. We used to use the left-wing lock a lot. It's not a coach that necessarily leads to defensive hockey - it is a win-at-all costs mentality. One that (admittedly) is not good to have in a rec league but it still common.

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#30 Romulus' Apotheosis
May 14 2013, 12:23PM
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Lego wrote:

Bigger nets may increase the number of goals scored but it won't make the game any more exciting. In fact coaches may feel they have to lock it down even more to prevent the other team from getting shots.

Defense is easier to coach than offense, coaches need incentive to coach a more offensive style. Maybe a team gets 3 points instead of 2 if they win and they score 4 goals or more?

Or maybe they should just get rid of coaches all together! I've never seen the trap used in rec league.

These ideas don't need to be posed as mutually exclusive.

The problem with the points system is that Bettman imposed the current system to create an inflated play-off race by evening out bubble teams... the idea wasn't to incentivize winning and scoring.

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#31 Oil Change
May 14 2013, 12:24PM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

I fail to see why the goalies should be punished just for being better. Besides, too many goals takes the electric feeling away from when they're scored.

I believe anyone opposed to making changes to the NHL is either too young to remember good/exciting hockey or loves low event sports.

Watching hockey has become almost unbearable and that has been reflected in the Kings/Blues series and Rangers/Capitals. Lets not confuse bigger with better. Too say that Bishop or another large goalie is better than his predecessors is a ridiculous notion. The goalies got bigger and bigger every year and nobody in the NHL offices cared. It is only common sense to realize if you take up 90% of the net versus 60% the puck is more likely to hit you.

In regards to the comments on players shooting harder I'm sure for the most part that's true. I would say it has as much to do with player size and strength as it does with technology. Does everyone forget Al Iafrate shooting it well north of 100 mph 20 years ago in the All Star game?

I like my hockey goalies with athleticism. It's been so long that the kick save isn't even remembered. This is hockey and not Lacrosse. Go watch Grant Fuhr play as he was as exciting as any Oiler.

Bigger nets are going to be required at some point as people in general get bigger and the league continues to avoid ridiculous equipment. This was the same in other sports when they faced a cross roads ( the invention of the shot clock to prevent against a team scoring two points and then running around the court holding the ball for the rest of the game or the reduction in height of the pitching mound when hits were almost impossible).

I do have a question if anyone can answer it........ Back in the day the Odd in Buffalo was a smaller rink and the Garden in Boston was smaller. As such they built their teams around playing that style, could the oilers build a little bigger rink within reason to allow for a quicker more finesse game? Baseball parks are different size and it makes the game much better. With that said I am talking minor tweaks not Olympic to NHL.

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#33 Eddie Edmonton
May 14 2013, 12:28PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

It's not about punishing goalies, it's about restoring balance.

If it is about restoring balance, then let's restore the balance to offensive players. Let's make the ice bigger and force the defensemen to actually skate and chase players, let's force the goalies to move quicker and have more angles to cover. I'd bet that if the ice was bigger, the goalies would make their equipment smaller and leaner just so they can move better and quicker.

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#34 Quicksilver ballet
May 14 2013, 12:29PM
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Start with pushing the boards back 2 or 3 feet in all directions. With the larger/stronger and faster players and equipement in the game today, it's the only change that would make sense.

I know teams squabble about the lost revenue losing a row of seats, but with the professional leagues starting to be possibly held accountable for brain injuries, it may be the lesser of two evils. The almighty dollar is still much more important than player safety. Bump the surface size up to 90' across and 210' in length.

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#35 Eddie Edmonton
May 14 2013, 12:34PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Nonsense. Adding an inch to either size and to the top of the net is a pretty small change that will have a substantive impact on the number of goals. We're hardly in bouncy ball territory here; we're compensating for the fact that goalies used to be 5'8" and now they're all 6'2".

Who started using the 6'2" goalies instead of the 5'8"ers?

The league and the GMs did. There wasn't a big pool of good goalies to invest in, so the league and the teasm decided to just throw big ass equipment on average, big body goaltenders, just to slow the scoring down.

The league didn't have a big pool of offensive threats for every team, the few teams that did would light up the bad teams and their 5'8" goalies. To make the game more competative the league put big equipment on big goalies to slow the offence down. They also allowed their crooked refeeres to let a lot of penalties slide, and make phantom powerplays for worse teams to stay in the game.

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#36 NewfoundlandOil
May 14 2013, 12:37PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Although I like the idea of larger ice I see your point and agree they are issues.

Is there a correlation (or inverse correlation) between the rink size (KHL, SEL, etc.) and save percentage?

Looking at rough Average SP for the SEL I get the following:

1984-1985: 0.868 1995-1996: 0.882 2004-2005: 0.903 2012-2013: 0.917

So it would seem to be a phenomena independent of ice size or league, but something globally changing with the game on an incremental basis (e.g. fitness, better player development/training, equipment, etc.)

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#37 bored
May 14 2013, 12:38PM
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Let's make the nets bigger! Absolutely. Anything that makes me not prefer the NBA playoffs over the NHL playoffs is fine by me. However, the NBA Playoffs have been great...

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#38 MarcusBillius
May 14 2013, 12:38PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

No way, make the nets bigger. Bigger ice doesn't help - look at European scoring. More than that, if you look at the size of a goaltender compared to the size of the real estate he occupies - the net and crease - goalies have proportionally taken up a huge amount of space. Players compared to the ice surface, even any individual zone, and the relative growth is almost zero.

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#39 Funman
May 14 2013, 12:41PM
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I think by enlarging the nets, you will virtually eliminate any goalie under 6.2. I say do away with the Bettman point. 2 points for a win 0 for a loss, regardless if it's reg,overtime or shootout.

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#40 Quicksilver ballet
May 14 2013, 12:42PM
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5" wider and 3" taller would make all shots that hit the post/crossbar this past season goals. That's a dramatic increase in goals for/against.

An average or 3 posts/crossbars per game would have increased goal scoring by almost 50%. Address both, goals for/against and player safety by increasing both, the ice surface and the nets.

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#41 Eddie Edmonton
May 14 2013, 12:42PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I'm actually not a fan of larger ice, for two reasons:

1) Expense means it will never happen and

2) KHL games use the larger ice surface and tend to be much more passive than NHL games.

I like hitting, I like the high-event game the NHL is. I just think there needs to be something done to counteract the downward trend in goal-scoring.

What is the expense? What numbers is the league looking at?

What KHL teams do you follow?

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#42 MarcusBillius
May 14 2013, 12:43PM
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@Funman

Goalies under 6'2 are obsolete anyway. Go look at recent drafts. You'll find more netminders over 6'5 than you will 6' or under.

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#43 MarcusBillius
May 14 2013, 12:45PM
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@Eddie Edmonton

Rebuild rinks, lose seats. Primo gold seats.

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#44 Eddie Edmonton
May 14 2013, 12:45PM
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Concur wrote:

If the league wants more goal scoring then they should make it a non-contact sport. That would allow all the small speedy scorers that get pushed around to play and add more additional talent to every team.

Even though I say this and believe this is true, I don't want to see it happen, I want more hitting, but I think they need to look at the equipment and take out the hard plastic in the upper body that causes the injuries.

When the ice gets bigger, then smaller speedy forwards can come and play. They can take the jobs of the Parros and those type goons that can't play the game properly. You can still keep hitting in the game, it will just make it hard for players like Strudwick to hit and chase guys like Omark.

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#45 Eddie Edmonton
May 14 2013, 12:48PM
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MarcusBillius wrote:

Rebuild rinks, lose seats. Primo gold seats.

I'm pretty sure not every seat in every NHL for every NHL team is sold out. Losing a few rows in New Jersey would make the place look fuller than it is. Primo gold seats? There will still be a row 1, they wont take rows out and have you sit in row 6, even thou you're right next to the glass.

I believe there is 4-6 rinks in the NHL that can't be converted to international ice, and that is the biggest and current problem that the NHL is facing for big changes.

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#46 MarcusBillius
May 14 2013, 12:50PM
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@Eddie Edmonton

OK, the Leafs make money hand over fist and they *still* raise ticket prices after losing seasons and they jacked prices for playoffs by 75%. Guys get paid millions of dollars per year to play hockey. There's NEVER enough money.

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#47 vetinari
May 14 2013, 12:51PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I'm actually not a fan of larger ice, for two reasons:

1) Expense means it will never happen and

2) KHL games use the larger ice surface and tend to be much more passive than NHL games.

I like hitting, I like the high-event game the NHL is. I just think there needs to be something done to counteract the downward trend in goal-scoring.

I think that it is tactics and coaching which have made the biggest changes to the game in the last 20 years and that changing the size of the ice surface has the greatest potential for stimulating offence and goal production.

I have to admit, I love Olympic hockey on the larger ice surfaces and would like to see it tried in NHL rinks as I find that it creates a faster game.

I do agree with you that the cost will be prohibitive for most teams, either to retro-fit their existing stadiums or to build new ones, but the NHL could make it mandatory in all new rinks going forward and eventually all rinks would be compliant.

And although there is typically less hitting, larger rinks requires defencemen to be smarter and pick their moments rather than bottleneck the front of the net and simply push offensive players to the outside. It also allows forwards to gain the zone and actually carry the puck rather than do a continual game of dump-and-chase.

As for changing the size of the nets, it feels like we would need to put an asterisk next to the goal totals for players going forward because some would get the benefit of a bigger target to aim at during their careers than others (would breaking Selanne's rookie total of 76 goals in a season have the same meaning and importance to a player or to fans if that player had an extra inch or two per side and top to work with?)

Just my thoughts...

v.

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#48 Funman
May 14 2013, 12:54PM
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MarcusBillius wrote:

Goalies under 6'2 are obsolete anyway. Go look at recent drafts. You'll find more netminders over 6'5 than you will 6' or under.

I don't think Anaheim or LA would agree with you. Quick- 6.1 Bernier- 6.0 Hiller-6.2, Fasth-6.0. Those two teams would be in a huge hole if the nets are enlarged. Calgary and Detroit are two teams also with smallish goalies.

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#49 Romulus' Apotheosis
May 14 2013, 01:01PM
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Once again... these ideas aren't mutually exclusive. There is no need for us to discuss them in that manner.

That said, a couple of practical things ought to be acknowledged:

1. Losing 5 rows of ticket sales is not going to go well. and the old boys are committed to the "speed" and "hitting" of the NHL game on the small ice. Bigger ice is a much harder sell.

2. there is no reason a shorter goalie (6' - 6'2") couldn't remain competitive through athleticism. Also, expanding the net could be done in a lopsided fashion, i.e., wider but not much taller. that would level the playing field.

3. they could also stick with the hard-on for penalties they have in the beginning of the year for the whole year.

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#50 StHenriOilBomb
May 14 2013, 01:04PM
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This change may actually be the best possible solution to the Canucks' cap woes.

http://www.canada.com/topics/sports/hockey/story.html?id=11079269-aa0e-431a-a50f-423e9847edb1

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