Back in Your Cage!
Six ways to boost sewing, The All-Star Game you won't get to see, Hockey's biggest zero
Behind the screen of celebratory pomp the NHL put up for the All-Star Game last weekend in Vancouver, more than a few general managers were sporting furrowed brows as they discussed what in the name of Gretzky to do about the stunning decrease in scoring, which is down 1.21 goals a game since 1993-94; about the dreaded neutral zone trap; and about how their fast-moving game has become littered with speed bumps. In Sunday's 8-7 victory by the North American All-Stars over the World All-Stars there were more scoring chances than you'd see in a month of regular-season Sundays, which is why the general managers will recommend rule changes to the league sometime in February. Here are six of the suggestions being floated.
1) Make it illegal for goalies to handle the puck behind the net.
PROS: Most netminders are now proficient at handling the puck, and they've almost become a third defenseman on dump-ins. If goalies weren't allowed to corral the puck, opponents would have something to chase when they play dump-and-chase.
CONS: The thrill of masked men with battle-axes roaming the ice would be lost.
OUR TAKE: We like this idea. It's not drastic, and it would create more loose pucks in the offensive zone.
2) Move the nets, which are now seven feet, four inches from the backboards, three feet farther out.
PROS: Playmakers would have extra room to set up and initiate action from behind the goal; straying netminders who like to play the puck would be taking a greater risk in doing so.
CONS: Would further clog already clogged neutral zone, which would be narrowed from 58 to 52 feet.
OUR TAKE: Not necessary if idea number 1 is implemented.