Archive for the ‘Rules’ category

Thoughts on the Blackhawks and the Devil’s Trapezoid

March 14, 2010

We’re coming into the home stretch of the season and some things are beginning to bug me.

1.  The Blackhawks.  There is something about the way they are playing that is making me feel uncomfortable.  I can’t put my finger on it though.  The last two losses to the Caps and Flyers didn’t help that feeling.  It’s not about goaltending, even though it’s been less than solid.  It’s a team dynamic thing.  It’s about giving up goals in bunches.  It’s about perhaps being too cocky or confident.  It’s about not being able to always put teams away.  It was summed up when Captain Jonathan Toews said today, “We’ve got the most skill in the league, on any team.  There’s no reason, up 3-0, we can’t go out and finish the team off.” 

He’s right that the Hawks should be able to finish of a team when they’re up 3-0, but I don’t buy that the Hawks are the most skilled team in the league – and most teams in the NHL don’t think that either.  So now, when teams are looking for that extra something to make the playoffs, they’ll have Toew’s  little tidbit posted on their locker room walls.  It’s bad enough that teams are gunning for you because you’re a top team but to say you’re the most skilled team will just tick some teams off and make the Blackhawk’s road to the Cup that much more difficult.

I do value that as Captain he’s trying to fire the boys up, and hopefully he knows his team best and they will respond.    But, only time will tell…

2. Please, please PLEEEEEASE get rid of the stupid trapezoid behind the net (It was such a relief and pleasure to watch Olympic hockey without it).  Last night I watched a game where the puck was trickling to the goal line and a player from the other team was bearing down on the goalie but still was a few strides away (a teammate was coming down the opposite boards).  The goalie accidentally touched the puck almost in the corner and was given a delay of game penalty.  I was stunned.  I know that’s what’s given for the infraction but here the goalie clearly kept play moving and prevented a lull where the puck would’ve died just past the goal line and we would’ve waited for someone to catch up to the puck.  A Delay of Game?  Why not call it a ‘Bettman’?  

New Jersey Penalty, Number thirty, Martin Brodeur, 2 minutes for a Bettman at 14:36, Brodeur 2 minutes for a Bettman at 14:36.  Penalty being served by….”

That has a ring to it!

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New Hockey Point Proposal and AHL Goal Video Review

December 1, 2009

Let me first say, I actually like shootouts.  Yeah, I know, it’s not the best way to end the game, but it’s exciting and I like it- though I actually like the AHL’s version better with 5 shooters vs. 3.

Having said that, I don’t like the fact that losing teams come away with a point in shootout games.  Why?

Because it actually rewards a team’s lack of finishing ability. 

Let me explain.  What do you usually hear when games end regulation in a tie?

“Each team earned a point.”

Fine.  They then play 5 more minutes and each team still comes away with a point.  Therein lies the problem.

The purpose of overtime is for the team with the most guts and gumption to put away the other team.  If a team can’t do it, they don’t deserve to be rewarded with a point, especially if they lose in the pseudo-chaotic arena of the shootout (which, as I said before, I actually like).

So this is my solution: If you make it out of regulation with a tie, fine, you get a point.  But if you don’t win in OT,  both teams lose the point.  The MOST a team can then get for the game is one point.  So the breakdown is as follows:

Win in Regulation- 2 points

Tie at end of regulation – 1 point each team

Win in OT – two points total for winner, one for loser.

Tied at end of OT – Teams lose the one point they earned during regulation. Zero points for either team

Winner of Shootout – One total point for winner, none for loser.

So what do you think?  Would it make OT more exciting and make teams want to win?  Heck, teams might pull goalies in OT to get two points instead of one.

Oh, and the AHL still not video reviewing goals? A college game on tv had video review and the AHL can’t do it?  What gives?

Town Hall with Wolves’ GM Kevin Cheveldayoff

February 21, 2009
Town Hall meeting Prior to Game Against Milwaukee

Town Hall meeting Prior to Game Against Milwaukee

"Chevy" Addressing a Fan's Concern of Team Inconsistency

"Chevy" Addressing a Fan's Concern of Team Inconsistency

 

I attended the Wolves TownHall meeting with GM Kevin Cheveldayoff before the Wolves played (and lost) to the Milwaukee Admirals.

The GM was extremely candid and answered all the fans questions with candor, not dodging any questions at all.

Insights (and quips) from the GM:

  • When asking his players why they play hockey at the beginning of the season, they answered, “for the money,” “because they love the sport,” etc.  The ‘correct’ answer (paraphrased) according to the GM? “I’m playing because I want to win the championship.”
  • Boris Valabik needed someone to have shot him before he’d admit to being injured.  He used Valabik as an example of how pro athletes need to know the limits of their own bodies, know when exceeding those limits would hinder play, and communicate this to the coaching staff.
  • When Mike Hoffman was recovering from his first hand injury this year and he was at the end of his healing time, he called the team doc to ask permission if he could fight in the upcoming game.  “Yes, Hoff, you can fight.”
  • Also joked that “Hoff” has a problem with breaking his hand on other player’s faces.
  • A pet peeve of his is when players miss the net on shots.
  • Believes that the AHL will stick with one referee due to cost constraints.  The times that two refs has been used is usually when a seasoned ref is paired with a rookie.
  • Players need to shoot more but it’s something that can’t be forced, players need to grow into that habit.
  • Players develop more fully when they’re on winning teams as opposed to losing teams.  Experience gained by Wolves players in the Cup run last year has helped players know what it takes to succeed and helps them deal with pressure more effectively.
  • There are players that have not performed to their expectations . The coaching staff and management noticed this and players have received a talking to.
  • He said on multiple occasions (paraphrased): “You see the same things we see, you know the game…” when discussing problems with the team’s performance. (This was nice to hear as we’ve heard players and coaches  in other sports in Chicago who don’t hesitate pointing out that the fans or the press aren’t playing and so somehow don’t know the game.)
  • Poor Special Teams have been one of the reasons for the inconsistent play.  He pointed out the importance of a good powerplay and how in some games this year he almost hoped the Wolves wouldn’t get powerplays early.  The reason being that the team had no rhythm and a bad powerplay would be worse than no powerplay.  Also reiterated that on the power play, the four guys out on the kill will be working extra hard, so contrary to popular belief that it’s easier with a man advantage, the guys on power play have to step up and play even harder and work to find the seams.
  • This management team is committed to winning a championship.
  • Pointed out the new President of Business Operations, Mike Polisky ,  reiterated the commitment to the fans and how there will be some great new things for the fans next season (he hinted that maybe some things will be seen this year, but  for sure there will be changes next year to heighten the fans’ experience.)

First class all the way.

If you were there, what were your thoughts?

Anything you wish would have been asked but wasn’t?

The Devil’s Trapezoid

March 11, 2007

The Devil’s Triangle is a location in Bermuda that ships avoid because of unexplained disappearances. The Devil’s Trapezoid is located behind the Goalie on NHL/AHL rinks.  It’s a restricted area behind the goal line that limits where the goaltender  can play the puck because of unexplained stupidity by the NHL Board of Governors.

Don’t get me wrong. Rules are fine-but rules also have to follow common sense or they’re not rules at all but unnecessary constraints.  All other rules in hockey make sense-well, more or less.  Offsides rules prevent cherry picking: simply waiting next to the other net for the puck to come your way so that you can get an unencumbered crack at the goalie.  Icing prevents teams from avoiding the play by dumping pucks out of their own zones.  These rules all make sense.  Now we turn to this ridiculous trapezoid behind the net.

It is true that goalies already can’t touch the puck past center ice.  I’m not sure why a goalie would want to, but this rule exists, and I can accept it because it rarely comes into play.  However, forcing a goalie to not play the puck outside the Devil’s Trapezoid happens all the time and it does nothing for the flow of the game other than to delay the game in some instances, and irritate the goalies in all instances. 

Looking back, this change was one of many made by the “New NHL” after the lockout.  It was supposed to help the game.   How does one determine whether a certain change helps or hinders? By metrics.  Changes meant to speed up the game at faceoffs have sped up the game. It’s measurable.  How can one measure the impact of having goaltender forbidden zones?  You can’t.  Problem number one.

Problem Number Two: Goalies have to play tic tac toe to themselves.  Everyone has seen occasions where goalies pass the puck to themselves, thus avoiding touching the puck in the forbidden zones.  It defies common sense.

Problem Three: With the desperation of a person trying to catch an open face peanut butter sandwich before it hits the carpeting, goalies have to race out and attempt to get the puck prior to crossing the goal line in the corners.  If he grabs it, he still has to wait in some cases for his teammate to come by and pick up the puck, or he plays tic tac toe (see Problem #2).  However, if the goalie is unsuccessful he must gaze longingly at the puck on the other side of the line with the look that a dog has after seeing said peanut butter sandwich hit the shag.  He can’t touch it, even though he could, because he’ll get slapped.  Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think this speeds up the game.

As a goalie myself, I’m thankful I haven’t had to deal with this rule (which is thankfully non-existent in certain amateur and international levels.)  I can only hope that the NHL will wise up to the absurdity of this rule and change it so that future generations’ only exposure to it will be the memories of the times that goalies had to live in fear of the Devil’s Trapezoid.