An absolutely fascinating idea featured in Bucci's column this week:
"Also, I like the idea of how once a team gains the offensive zone, the red line becomes the line in play for the defensive team to clear. In other words, the red line becomes the blue line, expanding the offensive zone to half the rink like a basketball court. That could help lubricate the game by creating a larger offensive zone. I'd like to see how that looks in action. It has popped in my mind a couple of times while watching games recently. It might give the game more time and space. Players are so fast and agile today that the game is sometimes clogged. But make no mistake, I love watching nearly every game, and I watch the game with a positive eye."Since the lockout, the NHL generally has seen an increase in offense and scoring. One of the biggest proponents of that change is the increased emphasis on calling obstruction (hooking, holding, interference etc.) type penalties.
But even so, the league should always look for ways to improve the game.
The key is to do so organically, though. Making goalie pads smaller than couch cushions is more than reasonable. Looking at a comparison between a modern, Roy-inspired goalie and their almost Napoleonic brethren is like studying the difference between the size of Barry Bonds' skull before and after BALCO.
Perhaps Battlin' Billy Smith was always so pissed off because he realized how much easier goalies would have it in a couple decades. Nah, he was just a crusty sonovabitch, small pads or big.
Countless, brave couches lost their lives to help J.S. Giguere win a Stanley Cup and a Conn Smythe during his career.
ANYWAY, I've always wavered on making the net bigger - sure, it would help cure the league of some Giguere-itis but it definitely would be on the verge of tampering. (Plus it would really piss off Roberto Luongo).
For a long time, it seemed like converting to International Ice was the elephant in the room - an obvious solution the league ignores because its teams depends so much on gate earnings.
But the idea proposed in Bucci's column could be the best possible compromise to inject a European flair into a game that can always use more highlight reel and Youtube-worthy moments. Or, if nothing else, an even greater amount of flow and high-level hockey artistry.
Goals per game is the easiest way to measure offense, but for me and I would guess most hockey fans, the most important element of a good hockey game is quality scoring chances. Give me a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat 2-1 game over a sloppy, penalty ravaged 6-5 game any day of the week. For my money, the idea of "half court hockey" could really allow for the truly skilled players and Poor Man's Orrs to push the Derian Hatcher dinosaurs out the door that much faster.
And who would be against that, aside from Mrs. Hatcher?