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Scoring Down (Again)

Scoring isn't just down in DC, it's down around the league, according to the CP:

The league was averaging 5.5 total goals per game through Monday night (not counting shootout tiebreakers), down from 5.9 through the same number of games last season and markedly down from 6.2 at the same point in the first season coming out of the lockout when a number of rule changes opened up the game.
That's 100 fewer goals from last season through 251 total games and 175 fewer goals from 2005-06 at the same point.
So what now? Bigger nets? Even more reduced goalie equipment? Four-on-four play for the whole game?
Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford is of the opinion that players and coaches will adapt no matter what changes are made.
"Any time you put in new rules, they adjust to the new rules," said Rutherford. "Put soccer nets in, they score lots of goals in soccer, right? My point is, they have huge nets in soccer but they have great systems to prevent goals.
"The players and the coaches are smart. They adapt to changes like that."

Rutherford makes a great point. Just leave the game alone, please.

Read the whole article here.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 13, 2007; 9:06 PM ET
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Next: Ovechkin Extension (Non) Update


Yes Mr. Bettman, unlike your beloved basketball, there is defensive play in hockey. We don't need our team to score on EVERY possession for our game to be exciting. I can appreciate great goaltending or a great defensive play as much as a goal. In fact, we even give a trophy to the best defensemen and even put defensemen in the hall of fame! We don't need the scores of a hockey game to be in the triple digits. Hockey will not become basketball (thank God) no matter how many times you change the rules. A sport doesn't have to be high scoring to be enjoyable. Football for example is not a high scoring game. Sorry football fans, but a 21-14 football game is 3-2. Perhaps that will be Mr. Bettman's next rule change:7 points for every goal scored. It is true that goaltending equipment has become larger over the past few decades, but I agree that teams will learn to adapt to any rule changes and continue to place a great deal of emphasis on defensive play.

Posted by: Bears Woooo | November 13, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Any news on the Hanlon/McPhee dismisals? I will check back later...

Posted by: Pucker Up | November 13, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Point blank, officials aren't calling games as tightly as they were 2 years ago.

Posted by: rad | November 13, 2007 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Scoring should be way down. Cloutier is no longer in the league.

Posted by: Piper | November 13, 2007 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Hanlon Job Watch: Day 14.

Posted by: keef | November 13, 2007 10:59 PM | Report abuse

This is in response to the post in general:

Yes, my god. If anything like any of those suggested changes actually happens, i hope that people will march through the streets until Bettman is caught and hung upside down on a post.

Leave it alone. I love it the way it is.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 13, 2007 11:08 PM | Report abuse

mmmmmmmm is hanlon still around?does ted reads this blog?

Posted by: erick | November 13, 2007 11:29 PM | Report abuse


Did you hear what Hanlon had to say on XM yesterday afternoon? I missed the interview.


Posted by: Jordan | November 14, 2007 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Happy, happy, joy, joy!!! Looks like I will be able to watch the game tomorrow night after all. Let's Go Caps!

Posted by: Wanda | November 14, 2007 5:23 AM | Report abuse

Wanda, is that something to actually cheer about at this point? :)

Posted by: keef | November 14, 2007 7:13 AM | Report abuse

keef ~ MOST definitely! But you have to remember that I am from the "glass is half full" school.

Posted by: Wanda | November 14, 2007 7:18 AM | Report abuse

On page 35 of the NHL Holiday catalog there is a sports lawn figure (emblazoned with team colors, logo and 150 lights) that I would like to place on my front lawn, just so the H.O.A would call an emergency meeting of the create a new rules violation: "....may not display any lawn decoration that compromises the integrity of the community." Hah!

Posted by: Wanda | November 14, 2007 7:33 AM | Report abuse

The American Flag and any flag denoting football team preferences are permitted.

Posted by: Wanda | November 14, 2007 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Hanlon's still the coach, McPhail is still the gm? Since it isn't a full three games since the last victory (Caps seem to win 1 out of every 4), I'm watching My Name is Earl, 30 Rock, Scrubs, and The Office.

Posted by: Jim | November 14, 2007 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Um, but a soccer field is like 5 times bigger than an ice rink. The referees have started to turn a blind eye to the stuff they were forced to call two years ago. I agree that the special teams extravaganzas we were seeing weren't the best for hockey, but I think bigger nets are a good idea. Just look at the size of an NHL goalie 20 years ago and look at J.S. Giguere now. It's rediculous. Either reduce the size of pads (and this CAN be done safely -- after all, we make small body armor that can stop bullets), or make the nets bigger. I'm tired of the trap. Tell that to Glen Hanlon, too.

Posted by: The Deuce | November 14, 2007 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Dallas Stars hire Brett Hull as Co-GM. Where is DALE HUNTER?
Atlanta wins again after their coaching change, 7-3-0 in the last 10 games. Canes 7-3-0, Caps 3-6-1. The horses are running and we're stuck in the paddocks.

Posted by: 10 years is enough! | November 14, 2007 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Atlanta came back last night from being down. WHen was the last time the Caps came back to win a game? When will Hanlon go? When will this torture be over?

And sign Ovechkin already!!!

Posted by: Finn | November 14, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Life is good. Wanda is happy.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 14, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

"Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford is of the opinion that players and coaches will adapt no matter what changes are made."

That's it right there, but I'm sure Bettman thinks goalies and the second defenseman should be removed from the game. And to make the game more like basketball, let's forbid any and all contact between players. Maybe they can paint a new line out there: any goal scored from beyond that line is worth 2.

Posted by: Green Trees | November 14, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

If you were going to fire Hanlon, the perfect time would have been after the Tampa game. You had some days off to get Bruce B. settled in. I don't care if Clark and Semin are both back, this team is still a mess. I honestly feel bad for Sutherby and Eminger. They deserve more playing time.

Posted by: Pete Peeters | November 14, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Hanlon Job Watch: Day 15

I'm a sad panda. Let's all put our hopes on the shoulders of Clarkie as Hanlon clearly wants us to. One player will right the team.

Posted by: keef | November 14, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse


I heard the Hanlon interview on XM radio yesterday. Same old Hanlon take, they're (the players) working hard, we're getting close to turning this thing around, ya dee ya dee ya dee.

Jim Tati and Gary Green (ex-Caps coach) were throwing softballs for him to hit. No fast or curves balls thrown at him.

They did ask him why Eminger wasn't playing (actually was a fan from PA email). Hanlon's answer was that Steve needed to be patient that his time would come. GMGM must have told him that "go ask McPhee" to Tarik was unacceptable and don't let it happen again.

Tarik, again, good article on Eminger. Let's do one for Sutherby.

Posted by: Comcast Sux | November 14, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Well, that was pretty quick! Hull and Jackson as co-GM's.

I liked the player's reactions, too.

What I found telling was the Turco response at the bottom of the article.

"Well I can't see how changing management won't change things, because it will change them dramatically," said Turco. "Apparently little messages and conversations just weren't enough. Like I said, for him [Armstrong] to believe in us after what happened this morning sends a message to your heart.

"Were pretty much done with the wake up calls, now its time to pony-up."

I like that...Time to pony-up.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 14, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

> Rutherford makes a great point. Just leave the game alone, please.


In other news read my conspiracy theory here :-)

Posted by: alexovetjkin | November 14, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse


I couldn't disagree more. Rutherford's underlying idea is correct - teams will adjust - but to compare hockey nets and soccer nets is inappropriate. I'm not a fan of enlarged nets, but nor am I a fan of repulsively engorged goalies (Turk Broda notwithstanding). The simple fact is that goalie pads are out of control. Do a Google image search of Patrick Roy, and compare his pads in '86 to those in '96 and '01. Now compare his GAA and Save Percentages as his career progressed. Did he somehow get that much better as he aged? Did his degenerating hip make him that much better?

Keepers are so big now that they stop almost every shot they see, especially those from long distance. When was the last time you saw someone score on an unscreened slapshot from the point? 1994? It used to be fairly common. With goalie pads as large as they are, defensemen no longer need to deny these shots. Instead, they collapse and get in shooting lanes. If Guy Lafleur had played in this era, he would have been lucky to score 20 goals a year.

You know how teams would adjust to smaller goalie pads? They would be forced to actually respect the point man on the power play, opening up passing and shooting lanes. A defenseman facing the rush might actually have to respect the shot rather than simply collapsing towards the keeper. This might actually allow someone like Ovechkin or Semin to fake a shot, deke around the d-man and get in on the keeper all alone.

The argument that the 'purity' of the game should be left alone is equally specious. The exact same argument is what got us into the clutching and grabbing mess in the first place. Every sport tweaks its rules to maintain the offense-defense balance and with it, the entertainment value of its product. If the NHL refuses to do so, it will slip further into irrelevancy in the US market.

My disagreement aside, thanks for all the great work!

Posted by: D'ohboy | November 14, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

mmmmmmmm is hanlon still around?does ted reads this blog?

Why would he want to read this garbage. It is always the same nitwits arguing about the same issues.

Posted by: Joe | November 14, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

The soccer net argument is absurd. There's no doubt scoring would go up with bigger nets.

And to the "traditionalists" who want to keep everything the same -- where were you when goalies' equiment grew over the years?

Posted by: Vlad | November 14, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Joe writes:
"Why would he want to read this garbage. It is always the same nitwits arguing about the same issues."

I hate to be the one to give you the bad news, Joe. Ted does listen, I just heard him on the radio quoting some of the guys on this blog as the reason why he FIRED GMGM and Hanlon on the spot. (9.80 AM on your dial).

Thank god for this group of people.

Posted by: Opita | November 14, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

The management's ineptitude in hiring (and firing) really belongs to Dick Patrick. He is the one constant for the history of the organIzation. It is his counsel that Abe first relied, and now Ted relies upon for hockey decisions.

It is time for a new president of the team.

Posted by: Clarendon | November 14, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

If the nets get bigger, the game is dead to me.

Posted by: Goat | November 14, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Soccer nets would be ridiculous, but field hockey nets are about the right size. I'd love to see goals get up to like 10-7 (caps obviously being the team with the 7).

And as for the first comment, lately I've been hearing football fans say that hockey games are so low scoring and as a result boring, and I've been pushing for the NHL to go to 6 points for a goal and 1 point for a penalty shot extra point. Now that would be exciting.

Posted by: Rob | November 14, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

According to Steinberg in his "Hanlon vs. Jordan" post on his blog, all "Fire Hanlon" posts generate over 22,000 views. Leonsis cannot get that many people to watch Hanlon's team loose. I am sure he'd be able to get most of those people to actually cheer on the Caps if they start winning... That will only happen with a new coach. Please, let Hanlon go already!

Posted by: Finn | November 14, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"The Dallas Stars will announce today that Jeff Cogen has been named the new president of the team, according to outgoing president Jim Lites.

Lites is stepping down as president of the Stars, a decision he said was mutual with owner Tom Hicks. Lites will take an expanded role in the Hicks Sports Group"

When will the changes be made here?

Posted by: Finn | November 14, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

The game isn't don't fix it! I would rather see a close 3-2, 4-3 game then watch a complete blowout like the Caps did against Toronto. Yes, it was nice to see Washington explode....which by the way they are good for about once a year, but good, close, hard fought hockey is what I want to see everynight. Of course everyone's opinion is different but I think the state of the game is good right now with the exception of Gary Bettman calling the shots. I think Bettman needs to resign and Messier and Stevens should take over his job.

Posted by: Mitch | November 14, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Optia is that saracism or the crack talking?

Posted by: Jim | November 14, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Keef, if Clarkie doesn't right the ship, will we hear "just wait till Semin is back" from the powers that be?

Posted by: Steve R | November 14, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Aside from the fact that the goalie pads do look a little too big... I'd like to debate the argument: "more goals = more spectacular". That's not true IMHO. Hockey is spectacular for the speed and skills - goal is a part of it but not the most important. Winning a game 1-0 can be (and in many cases is) more exciting that winning it 6-0.

Posted by: mauree | November 14, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse


So my Aresenal flag is acceptable to you HOA. They are a football team...

Posted by: Schultz for Calder | November 14, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Tarik, I couldn't agree more. Enough gimmicks. Atheletes are just better than ever (and better equipped) and there is a large pool of talent now from which the NHL draws rather than just North America in the "old" days.

Goalies are better and better equipped. If you want to watch score after score in every game, watch basketball. Gah, they score every 6 seconds, practically, and I find it exceedingly boring to watch.

Posted by: Sapper | November 14, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm not a proponent of larger nets, but I do think with a bigger goal, you'd see more spectacular saves.

Also, more than bigger goals, goalies should have smaller pads. They are meant to be padding (get it, pads), not enourmous net-covering nap-inducers.

Posted by: Rob | November 14, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

The changes suggested are nuts. If they want to increase scoring, the pillows on the goalies should be narrowed - again. The blocker made smaller - again. The glove made smaller - again.

In the beginning, goals will shoot up. Goalies will have to relearn themselves with respect to the positioning in front of the net. The goalies will adjust after a few months and the goals will drop back down.

If you really want an exciting product, make the sheet international size. Of course, all those expensive seats will be gone, but it will be faster, more open ended play. Then we'll really see what kind of shape the players are in!

Would never happen, but it's fun to think about from time to time.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 14, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Some of the points made here about goalie equipment is valid. I think one reason why the equipment got bigger is that the goalies themselves got bigger. Also, I think technology had allowed equipment to be lighter and stronger (and therefore allowing it to be bigger). But where do we draw the line?

There are now limits on equipment for goalies. I say just keep it here and stop changing it.

Posted by: Sapper | November 14, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

One more point, what we consider the "good old days" for most of us is after expansion started, maybe 70's, 80's, early 90's. Scoring spiked dramatically with expansion. Go back and look at goal totals for teams in the "Original Six" days and you'll see totals lower than today (even if you adjust for the fewer number of games played in a season then).

So in essence what people are saying when they want scoring to go back up like before, they really mean they want to go back to the scoring spike in the 70's and 80's.

Posted by: Sapper | November 14, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Schultz for Calder ~ is that a proctologist's team?

Posted by: Wanda | November 14, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Schultz for Calder ~ no offense intended. It's just that I am extremely gullible.

Posted by: Wanda | November 14, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Talk about a blood sport! Back in the original 6 days, goalies not only didn't have masks, they didn't wear helmets, either. Of course, sticks were flat, not curved, but deflections did get up sometimes.

Jaques Plante took a puck to the face, went to the dressing room for stitches and came back out with a mask. He went 18-0 until Toe Blake ordered him not to wear it against Detroit. That was the Canadiens' first lost. He wore it since.

That's when men were men. And this sport's history was borne on their backs. Nothing like soccer, baseball, basketball or football wussies. Stitch 'em up and get back in.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 14, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Tarik hasn't posted today. Tarik? Tarik?
Are you bound and gagged at Ketter?

Posted by: just me | November 14, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

The management's ineptitude in hiring (and firing) really belongs to Dick Patrick. He is the one constant for the history of the organIzation. It is his counsel that Abe first relied, and now Ted relies upon for hockey decisions.

It is time for a new president of the team.

Posted by: Clarendon | November 14, 2007 10:44 AM

Thank you!

Posted by: someone else who knows | November 14, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

"Suppose you were working at your job one day, and you made a little mistake. Then all of a sudden a red light went on over your desk, and fifteen thousand people stood up and yelled at you that you sucked?" -Jacques Plante

Posted by: Greg S. | November 14, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

The early face masks that Plante designed were truly bizarre looking. He was featured in a little video blurb during one of the games last month.

Posted by: Wanda | November 14, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

"you made a little mistake"

There were one too many by now. And not just "little"

Posted by: Finn | November 14, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Holy Goalie!!! Jacques Plante actually played for the now-defunct Baltimore Clippers. I used to go to Clippers' games in the early 60's at the old Civic Center in Baltimore. I can't seem to find out what years Plante played for the Clippers, so I may or may not have seen him in goal. Memory is a terrible thing to lose.

Posted by: Wanda | November 14, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Jaques plante played 17 games in 1964-65 season for the balmer clippers.

Posted by: Rob | November 14, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

The obvious answer is to look at the change in the size of the goalie equipment vs the decrease in scoring. Even going back just 15 years, you can see the goalie equipment has gotten drastically bigger. It's nuts. If they change anything, it should be the goalie equipment, other than that, leave the great game alone.

Posted by: Fashi13 | November 14, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the info, Rob. Chances are I did see him play ~ I was a heck of a lot younger then and a lot of the players' names escape me.

Posted by: Wanda | November 14, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Oh when you Baltimore Clip-pers
You Clippers of Baltimore

Fight you Baltimore Clip-pers
We all fight for a Baltimore score

Defensemen, forwards and goalies
Will win without a doubt.

For Baltimore
And Maryland

Every Clippers fan will shout...

Posted by: Clippers Goal | November 14, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Although it obviously might detract fans from the Caps (who cares at this point), it would be awesome if the Baltimore Clippers/Skipjacks made a comeback in the AHL. I'd love to get to see some AHL hockey closer than Hershey.

Posted by: Rob | November 14, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Having a minor league team close to a major league team works for both sides, however both sides will always claim that the other is taking away fans. I worked for a minor league baseball team that played in the shadow of its parent club and the parent club hated us. Why? Because fans had a much better time at our games than their games. So what did the major league team do? Shut us down. We made money, they didn't and they shut us down. But that's the owner for you!

Having a team in Baltimore that's affiliated with the Caps would help with attendance. Fans would be able to see the future stars and follow them up to the NHL. Several times, my dad and I would go to Baltimore to see a Skipjacks game and see some faces before they became names. Don Beaupre was in Baltimore (Pete Peters should have been there, Beaupre was the better goalie), Mark Hatcher (Kevin's brother) and a host of other future Caps graced the ice at the Baltimore Arena.

Heck, I'd like to see an honest owner try to bring the team back to ShowPlace Arena. It's just too bad the guy that ran the Ice Breakers was as bad a business guy as you could get. Minor league hockey would work in our area, but GMU doesn't want anything beyond GMU sports playing at their facilities so until Maryland puts down a sheet of ice, the thought of having a situation like Philadelphia (or Detroit, or Chicago) just won't happen.

Posted by: Jarrod | November 14, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't it the Bandits, not Ice Breakers?

Posted by: Rob | November 14, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

so who is the one calling for more scoring. seems like most fans are happy with the style of play. its a trend, its gonna fluxuate. im mean, geting the goalie pads smaller is an alrite idea, but the nhl already did that. scoring may be down(a little), but the game is still great. even the capitals' games.

also the firing halon thing is getting old, in every discussion...u go on and on and on

Posted by: timbers | November 14, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse


You don't hear the Flyers objecting to their AHL Phantoms being too close. They're literally right across the parking lot!

Posted by: Greg S. | November 14, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

i remeber the bandits being in baltimore for the echl. i think, justa guess

Posted by: timbers | November 14, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

@Greg S., that's my point. I love that situation and the people up there flock to both.


Baltimore Bandits were in the AHL as were the SkipJacks and I believe the Clippers but the Clippers may have also been part of the Eastern Hockey League or something like that. The Baltimore teams played at the Civic Center/Arena

Chesapeake IceBreakers were in the ECHL and played their games at ShowPlace Arena. Home of the front-row, no-see seats. Sit in the front row and you can't see!

I truly would like to see a minor league team in this area. It will support it, just none of the new facilities that have been built are big enough. The Caps could have had something with Kettler, but do you build a mini-Verizon Center or a twin-rink facility. Personally, I'd like to see something out in the burbs, 6,000-8,000 seat facility that could also host high school basketball and conventions and the like. Wait, that's Patriot Center but from what some people have told me over the years, GMU doesn't want to have outsiders coming in to play but that could be changing with the pro softball team that plays there now.

Posted by: Jarrod | November 14, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

I would not be much of a fan of wider nets; you could, however, make a case for bumping the height up by a few inches; with most goalies playing a butterfly/pro fly style, the lower half is typically not an option but this would open up a high shot.

One of the big "problems" is that kids are being taught system-based play too early; too much focus on defence and not enough on skill/creativity.

Plus, too many guys go for the big slapshot and end up missing by a mile; better a good wrist/snap shot that is on-target and forces a good save and/or rebound.

A few other things that could be employed without ruining the game (that would increase flow/pace):
-Penalties are served in full (no getting out early because of a power-play goal).
-Limit how many skaters can be in the neutral zone if not in possession of the puck. Teams are just clogging the neutral zone; killing flow.
-Not allow teams to put fresh skaters on the ice when they commit a penalty.
-Leg pads are currently 11" wide (from 12" pre-lockout). Going to 10" pads is going to hurt youth participation (because USA Hockey will adopt, plus IIHF, plus Hockey Canada) unless there's a long adjustment period for youth/minor systems.
-Get rid of these composite sticks that break all the time and allow additional 1/8" curve on blade.
-And for the love of all that's good, please take the instigator rule outside, and kill it.
-3 points for a regulation win, 2 for an OT/shootout win, 1 point for an OT/shootout loss.

If you really want to go off the rails, offer a bonus point for every fourth game a team scores 5 or more goals in a game and make first tiebreaker in standings most goals scored.

Posted by: Patrick | November 15, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Great point Patrick on the points for win/ot win/tie - I've been advocating wider rinks (international rules) for years. Look how much fun the Olympics are to watch, and it's not just b/c the teams are full of all-stars. Wide open play is what the game needs. Period.

Posted by: amine b. | November 20, 2007 12:34 AM | Report abuse

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