WWYDW: More Goals, Please

Does the NHL have a scoring problem? Some people certainly seem to think so – enough that the topic came up for discussion at the NHL GMs meetings in Toronto this week.

Apparently, scoring has taken a bit of a dip and goaltenders are to blame. See, they’re taller and wider than they once were; their equipment has gotten bigger and, my God, they’re improving over time. It’s practically soccer on ice out there. 

Ok, not really. But I’m sure some folks believe it’s heading that way.

Personally, I don’t believe that we’re ever going to be writing post-games at TLN for nil-nil matches. I like goals – the more the better, in my opinion – but I’m not convinced hockey has a problem yet. Watching goalies go save for save is a lot like watching a good pitching battle in baseball, and I find those perfectly entertaining. Maybe not every night, but we’re nowhere close to that. 

So what’s the issue here, and how do you handle it? Does the NHL need more scoring? Would you cut down on goalie equipment size? Increase the size of the net? Change certain rules to promote more scoring opportunities? How would you go about this?

Put ’em in the comments. Most thumbs up gets J.S. Giguere’s old, massive pads.

  • CMpuck

    3 on 3 for 3 periods
    1 on one ot
    Goaltenders skate in shootouts???

    But seriously, I think all players are bigger than 15 years ago. Maybe we should consider larger ice surfaces to accommodate their size. Doesn’t have to be Olympic size but a little more time and space so we don’t have 1200lbs of players in a 4 foot square area. As the NHL trends towards more skilled players the extra time and space could benefit their skillets.

  • Harte of a Lion

    Don’t allow goalies to play the puck… PERIOD! Especially since Belfour left the Leafs haven’t had a goalie who could manage the puck any better than a peewee goalie

  • Gary Empey

    I like the idea of making the nets slightly larger. I also really like the idea of making the ice surface larger.

    I hope everyone was able to take a little time to reflect on Remembrance Day.

  • Gary Empey

    I really don’t understand why they keep messing with the game in an attempt to influence goal scoring. The league was fine the way it was. Most of the problems with the game right now IMO are due to changes the league has made in recent years. I never understood the problem with a tie game. The only thing worse than a shootout was 4 on 4 overtime…until 3 on 3 was instated. Bringing in penalties for minutia like a puck over the glass or a faceoff infraction was idiotic. Constant powerplays are not entertaining. The best hockey games are the ones the refs for the most part stay out of.

    Maybe I’m way off on this, but if the nets get bigger won’t it eliminate smaller goalies and favour monsters like Bishop even more? How are guys like Bernier going to fare? Does he become a minor league caliber goalie?

    I honestly don’t understand why this is even a discussion in general and it scares me a little.

  • TGT23

    There is an easy answer which the NHL isn’t smart or brave enough to think of…

    The trouble isn’t we need more goal scoring. The best games are playoff games and those are intense but generally low scoring. A fast-paced well played 1-0 game will always be better than a sloppy 5-4 game.

    Unless, of course, you’re a fan of Randy Carlisle and think the team was better under him.

    The solution?

    Contraction. Reduce the number of teams. Get rid of 4. Condense the rosters, which in turn increases the talent on teams across the board.

    Added bonus, you don’t lose money because teams won’t have to pay the bills of lesser earning teams. The NHL won’t have to bail out terrible franchises and the average revenue on a per team basis technically goes up (as the bottom four teams don’t drag the number down).

  • TGT23

    I believe in making the nets bigger. On the other side, the game has reverted back to 1940’s to the mid 1970’s ” low scoring games”. I think that the high flying late 70’s to late 90’s have polluted our judgement on what scoring should be. Hopefully a coach will forget about Defence and play an open style of game, similar to the WHA Winnipeg jets and Gretzky led Oilers. It’s a copycat league…

  • TGT23

    Stop letting Casual Fans tell you there’s a problem with the League & That Goal Scoring is down they need to change this they need to change that. No what needs to be changed is the NHL should stop changing the game and leave it the way it is. If the Casual Fans short attention span can handle it then watch another sport

  • Jeremy Ian

    Dryden once told me that he thought that the problem began with face masks. Before the mask, goalies had zero interest in crouching down in front of the net.

    Expand the size of the net.

    But this is just moving deck chairs around a sinking ship until rink sizes increase. Goalies aren’t the only obstacles to shots actually making it behind the red line.

  • Mapleleafs75

    What I love about hockey is that games aren’t 10-9 scores, because then it becomes too much like basketball for me. What I mean is, if every game was 10-9 or 8-7, a goal in the first period wouldn’t be exciting because you would know that both teams would score another 7-8 goals each. Right now there is still excitement for every goal because there are still chances that a goal scored in the first could be the only goal scored all game. Where as, for me at least, watching teams score in basketball is boring in the first 3 quarters, because there will be another 100 scored in that game. Therefore, unlike basketball, if a person misses the 1st period he could have missed all the goal scoring for the whole game; which makes watching hockey from the first puck drop to the final buzzer much more exciting because you don’t know when a goal will be scored.

    Having said all that, I wouldn’t be opposed to the league making changes to increase scoring from 5+ goals a game to over 6. I think they can do this in various ways before increasing the size of the nets.

    1. I’m all for the league mandating smaller goalie equipment. My reasoning is similar to what I’ve heard others say and that is goalies are more shot blockers than anything else. Where its more about goalies knowing their angles than having to be athletic. I know most goalies today are all very athletic, but some aren’t and with the equipment they have today it’s harder to identify which ones are because for 90% of the shots they face athleticism isn’t crucial to them stopping the puck, the puck just hits them. Plus for me, my favorite goalies are Hasek, Fuhr, and Mike Palmateer(I became a Leafs fan in late 70’s/early 80’s). What I love about them is that almost every game you watch of theirs, they make a few hi-lite reel saves. However, you can watch Price, or Lundquist or Rinne play 6 or more games before they make a truly spectacular save.

    2. On to another point. Power plays. I believe the league should go back to having the PP last the full 2 minutes or 4 minutes for a double minor, even if a PP goal is scored. While most PP’s end without a goal being scored, I’m sure there are times where more than 1 goal would be scored if the PP team had a chance. I would also like to see how penalty killing would change if the PP rules changed and the only way a PP ended early would be if the team short handed scored. Could that lead to more goals being scored on the PP if the PK team played a little more risky knowing if they scored the PP would end? I honestly doubt coaches would change their style from being defensive to more aggressive just to try to shorten the PP, but it’d be interesting to see. I’d like to see it anyway, just because I think if a team scores shorthanded there should be some reward for that accomplishment.

    3. While fighting is down across the league, for that now rare occasion, instead of the teams still playing 5 on 5 for the 5 minutes, they should play 4 on 4, like they do for other coincidental penalties. I’m sure we’d see a few more goals scored during that time over the course of the year.

    4. I also believe if goalies leave their crease to play the puck they should be free game to be body checked. I think this would keep goalies in the net because they won’t want to be hit and therefore, would change the way teams forecheck and the defending team retrieve the puck. Would this lead to more goals? I don’t know, but right now the game slows down a bit for me when a goalie plays the puck, so I’d like to see if this change would make a difference, plus I think goalies are too protected.

    5. My last idea is to change the stupid rule where a goal gets disallowed even though the referee hadn’t blown his whistle yet, but was going to. As kids we are taught in all sports to keep playing until you hear the whistle. The same thing should apply to the NHL. The play should not end until the whistle is heard, so even if the ref loses site of the puck and while in the process of blowing the whistle the puck crosses the goal line, the goal should count. Not the BS rule they have now where they go by when the ref loses sight of the puck. If on replay the puck is in the net before you hear the whistle the goal should count.

    I believe some of the above ideas will increase scoring just enough to please the “critics,” none will be to over the top to make scoring less exciting, which is why I love hockey more than basketball. I love having to watch the whole game because you just never know when a goal will be scored.

    Now, feel free to rip my ideas to shreds. I can take it.

  • Mapleleafs75

    Letting the PP run the full 2 minutes even if a goal is scored is a terrible idea. The idea behind a lot of the penalties is that you did something to prevent *a* goal. So if they score, then justice is served. The only ones that should keep running are intent to injure penalties, like 5 minute majors.

    I also think the league uses powerplays to much to try to increase scoring. They need to get an extra 5on5 goal per game. The puck over the glass should be like an icing. It’s embarrassing seeing the players tattling about a puck over the glass.

    I think all they can do is either increase the net size (Which I’d rather not see) or crack down more on the ridiculous goalie pads. Get rid of that riser above the knee. Get rid of the 8 inch wide trapper wrist guard. The pads are supposed to be for protection, not increasing your surface area (and I used to play goal).

  • Paris_Trout

    Make the nets higher.
    Making them “bigger” implies wider as well, which is not realistic – it would completely change the angles and fundamentally alter the position. I don’t think it’s fair to goalies who have trained and practiced for years to tell them they have to completed re-learn where their nets are behind them.

    Higher nets though… that makes sense. It will increase goals from a distance, as goalies today are too good at sealing off the bottom. And since, they are taller than than they once were, it seems logical the nets should get taller too.

    This is the best compromise I think.

    The equipment battle will never be resolved. Time to find a more creative solution.

    • Paris_Trout

      Higher is better than wider for sure. This way you can have “junior” nets without having 2 sets of holes in the ice. Use the 4′ nets until you’re 14 or whatever, then go up to 4.5′ or whatever keeps the goalies “honest” (not going down for every single shot)

  • Gary Empey

    It appears the NHL solution is going to be reducing the size of goalie equipment. Starting 2016.

    If you change shooting the puck over the glass in your own end back the same as icing. then we will go back to when all players did it to stop the play when they were being pressed, by an opposing team.

    It became a very smart and often used move. On every rush players were looking to get the puck over the glass. Today, because it is a penalty it only happens accidently.