1) According to stats released recently from the NHL, scoring is down through the first 25% or so of the 2006-2007 season compared to last year. This turn of events has to be alarming to Mr. Bettman & co. as this was one of their priorities after the lock out. Instituting new rules to try to increase scoring:
a) Allow 2 line passes b) Goalie wandering restrictions c) Smaller pads for tenders d) Calling all obstruction tightly e) Offside tag up
2) As many of us postulated last fall, these would only be temporary fixes. The best players in the world are that for good reason; they can adapt with time to most any superficial changes such as these. It was merely only a matter of time before that happened. Most of us didn't think it would be so fast. Players apparently have adapted to the New NHL.
3) In reality the increased scoring last year as a mirage anyway. Most of the scoring was from the increased number of PP's. NOT from the other measures employed. As players adjusted to the new officiating style, the number of PP's has steadily waned. So it should not be surprising that scoring in general would also decrease.
4) Now the big question: what does the NHL do next? They apparently feel increased scoring equates to more fan interest, so we believe that the league will have to come up with new ways (gimmicks) to do this. One of the options discussed and not adopted last time around was the increasing the size of the goal nets. If the trend continues, look for this option to gain momentum, and at the very least be employed in the AHL either later this year or next as a pilot to see if this does in fact affect scoring.
5) Other possibilities might be to do away with the rule that minor penalties end when a goal is scored, further curtailing goalie wandering, or even more radical, to go with a 4 on 4 like OT is done now, but all game long. The ladder suggestion would not be popular with the players as it would decrease the number of employed NHL-ers.
6) Fauxrumors feels the game did/does NOT need to be altered in such silly/radical ways to make NHL hockey exciting. First we will list some common sense options to improve the game, then we will list some Bettman-like silly options that could be used.
7) Common sense options:
a) League contraction- OK, sorry folks/fans of some of the teams that need to be contracted, as some have won the Cup recently, but that doesn't mean those franchises need to remain: NJ, Carolina,TB, FLA, Phoenix. All could be removed tomorrow and their talent re-distributed among the remaining 25 teams. (We can see being even more draconian, but 5 would be a start)
b) Eliminate the instigator rule/most fighting inhibitors- No we're not advocating a return to the 1975 Flyers days, but fans like to see a 1 on 1 battle. Also, and as important, we feel the recent increase in checking/stick injuries can be traced to the reduction in fighting. No longer are players in fear that they may have to pay for their 'indiscretions'.
c) Allow goalies to wander/handle the puck all they want, BUT once they leave their crease treat them like any other skater. Can be body checked, etc. You'll see far less wandering without silly shapes painted on the ice.
d) Penalties should run to completion- Before the great Habs teams of the 50's, a team could score an unlimited number of PPG's on a minor. They were so good that they changed the rules. Revert it back.
8) Bettman may consider these:
a) Use multiple pucks
b) Leave the injured on the ice
c) Vodka in goalie water bottles d) Instead of a shoot out, have (3) sets of players duke it out at center ice after regulation.
e) Strobe lights periodically/arbitrarily used to confuse goalies
9) We're sure our readers can come up with their own 'common sense' as well as nutty rule changes. Feel free and add your own