“The game’s the best it’s ever been,” is a quote you’ll hear a bit too often. That’s of course arguable, as are some of the rule changes flying around the world of hockey. And one thing’s for sure, the NHL will get a hell of a lot worse if they incorporate one of them. Keep in mind, it’s not presently a threat of becoming a reality, but hockey is a copycat sport.
Consider this a warning shot.
Wednesday we touched on the new power play rules that the European Champions League are introducing this season to reasonable fanfare, but what might apply there on the big ice in potentially low scoring affairs doesn’t apply here. Just ask Kraken TV play-by-play man John Forslund.
We’ll get to that chat and break it down in a moment. First a review.
— Minor penalties will be perpetual until the full two minutes are up, so the team that took the minor will remain shorthanded even if the opposing team scores a power play goal. Score on that man advantage as often as you can.
— A minor penalty will be served even if a goal is scored while the delayed penalty is pending. Right now if a team scores on a delayed penalty call, the infraction that was going to be called goes away and no time is served.
— If the shorthanded team scores, the minor penalty against them will end at that point and the player will come out of the box. This is a gimic, a bonus reward for scoring a shorthanded goal, as if scoring a shorthanded goal isn’t enough.
I stand by this from Wednesday: “Item one is a bit dangerous when you’re dealing with the Edmonton Oilers power play and it’s clicking at 35%. Games could get out of hand quickly. It would seem to put too much emphasis on the man advantage and less on five-on-five hockey. That would be bad news for a team like the Seattle Kraken.”
Forslund eloquently takes it a step further. (full video of conversation below).
“First of all, I can’t stand power play hockey,” he stated. “Okay, I just don’t like it. It all looks the same to me. The teams run the same routes, they run same plays. It’s just better players, a la the Edmonton Oilers. What do we want them to be, 60, 70% on the power play? Isn’t 50 or 40 good enough? I don’t like that one.
“I hate to pick on them because they’re an excellent team and they’re our neighbors and we’re divisional foes and it’s bad karma if you say things,” Forslund continued. “They live off the power play, proven until proven otherwise, with average defense and average goaltending. But they can be an elite team because of that (PP), so now (hypothetically), if you give them that opportunity, it feeds a lion.”
Back to the Future
By the way, this isn’t new. Unlimited goals on a power play was standard in the NHL into the 1950’s, but the Montreal Canadiens’ man advantage was so good and scored so often that the league managers decided to go with the one-and-done goal-allowed rule. The change was made in 1956.
We’ll be curious to see if the NHL is tempted and fails to learn from its past. I’m doubting it.
“I mean, it ruins the game,” Forslund went on. “Some of the best responses in the game are when you get scored on, on the power play. If you’re ticked off about the penalty, you’re angry, you’re ticked off because you got scored on, you’re angry. So the next shift you’re throwing out either your top guys are your energy guys, and you’re going right back at them …
“What are we going to do? Stay on it again (the power play) and then have a cheap way to stretch out a game … and then we have no game? Then we go from two-nothing to four-nothing and the game’s over? Now they sit on a four-nothing lead; that stinks. If they do that. It’s completely wrong.”
What would the point be; to increase scoring? The NHL is not struggling in that area these days, there’s plenty of offense and creativity. This would have been a more reasonable suggestion during the “clutch and hold” days of the 1990’s.
By the way, this could very well be much ado about nothing, as it’s now a reality for the Champions League and not the NHL. Let’s hope it stays that way.
— Kraken NHL Wednesday: Soucy, New Rules, Grooby Gear
— Who’s The Seatle Kraken Captain?
— Kraken NHL Monday: Donskoi Retires, Oilers Try-Outs