WILSON: It seems that 95 percent of the time you went into the third period with a one-goal lead last year, you won the game. Offensively, it's harder to get things going as the game wears on. Also, if teams would eliminate promotions between periods on the ice, get the Zambonis out there as soon as the players are off, do the ice and let the ice set, that would be better.
SATHER: [By eliminating promotions] you're eliminating a revenue-creating stream that helps us pay salaries.
SI: When we asked the initial question-Are you happy with the way hockey is being played?—we thought you would immediately turn to the pace of the game.
DAVIDSON: Last year was the biggest improvement we've had in years. Scoring was up, the overtime four-on-four was fabulous. I am glad the league hasn't changed anything from a year ago.
SI: Ron, are there other improvements that could be made?
WILSON: I'm a proponent of taking out the red line, or experimenting with taking it out, to see if that would open the neutral zone and create more speed.
Coaches coach destructive hockey now because of the stakes, and the players are in the same situation. The stakes are so high, the players are making so much money, and they figure that if they don't do some of these things the coach asks, they won't be here. I've watched tapes of games from the 1970s, and I didn't see everybody finishing every check. I watched the Flyers play the Sabres in the '75 Stanley Cup finals. The big, bad Flyers, forechecking like demons, but they didn't finish a check all night in the offensive zone. They swung in, curled away. Brendan, if you dump the puck in and curl back the way players did in the '70s and '80s, I'm sure you would be hearing it. You'd come to the bench, and it would be, "Why didn't you finish [the check]? You had him set up there. Punish him." The way I coach is "Finish your checks. Get in the way. Grind, grind, grind." The stakes are so high. If I don't find a way to win, I'm very replaceable.
SATHER: You watch the games without a red line [as in U.S. college hockey and some international tournaments], there's very little forechecking.
SHANAHAN: The European players I've talked to think getting rid of the line would slow the game. Like Ron said, we're all thinking defense. Scoring a goal is great, but mostly you don't want to get scored against.
SATHER: I have the opposite way of thinking. I don't care if we get nine goals scored against as long as we score 11. It's more fun and entertaining. Fans like it, players like it.