Just like a horror movie for hockey fans.  It’s the killer that won’t die.  It’s Freddy, Jason, that fisherman dude from “I know what you did last summer”, the E60 feature on Scott Hall, those new pictures of Lisa Turtle, the scariest thing imaginable.

It’s the return of the dead puck.  Zero forecheck, 3rd lines and stay at home d-men dominating, clutch and grab, and of course goaltenders dominating.  Of course, the REASON the goaltenders dominate is because of all the other things I pointed to.  And the league will do nothing like they always never did.

It took a year long lockout for the league to FINALLY get serious about fixing what had become a dreadful game the last time.  And they still didn’t do as much as they could.  Goaltenders equipment is still much bigger than manufacturers need to make it.  The nets are still the same size.  And you get guys in the media that will bitch about rules that were put into place to help scoring like d-men putting the puck over the glass in there own zone.

“Oh that’s gonna cost someone dearly someday, it’s a terrible rule”.  Oh ok well then by that logic we should get rid of high sticking too because that will cost someone dearly as well when they didn’t mean to do it.  Or tripping…plenty of trips are unintentional, just a player reaching for the puck.  Let’s ditch that too.

Like could the hockey world have SOME perspective?!  Most guys in the game and covering the game just become prisoners of the moment, that’s how we ended up with the crease rule in the late 90’s.  Take a page from the NFL’s books and evolve, don’t let dinosaurs rule your sport.  That’s what baseball does and it’s TV numbers have been doing nothing but declining the last 20 years.

Now, I know why this brand of hockey is back, the concussion scare.  I understand why the league would want to slow the game down.  The NHL might not be able to withstand something like what is going on in the NFL right now with over 1,300 former players suing the league.  That’s fine, understand it.  But what has happened is ridiculous.  For the last half of the season and the 1st round of the playoffs the officiating was the worst I’ve ever seen….easily.  Why?  Nobody knew what to call!  Nobody was on the same page.  Just embarrassing, but the league got bailed out with amazing 1st round action so nobody really took notice.

But wouldn’t it be fitting to go back to garbage, no talent hockey now?  The league is finally gaining traction in the States over the last 4 years.  Along with it being some of the most exciting hockey of all time you have had Pittsburgh v Detroit twice, Chicago v Philly, Boston last year and this year MAYBE L.A. v NY…the league’s dream, and if NY loses tonight that means Ovy and the Caps will still be possible which isn’t a bad consolation prize should they get to the final.  Reminds me of 94 when the hockey was still great, the Rangers were in the final, Gretzky and the Kings the year before and ratings were going way up.  Then a lockout, followed by 10 years of increasingly terrible hockey.  Oh by the way in case you forgot the CBA is up after this season…could be another lockout.

Like how is the league continually screw up good things?!  Just when you think they might have there sh*t together these kind of things happen.  My solution: if you need to bring back some clutching and grabbing inform your officials that more will be tolerated in the neutral zone than in the offensive zones.  And actually stick to that, don’t do what you usually do where you enforce it for a month or 2 but eventually go back to the way it was.  Also decrease the size of goaltending equipment.  It is still absurd the size of gear that guys are allowed to wear.  And if goaltenders try to block it from happening (by goaltenders I basically mean the PA), then increase the size of the nets.

“That’s ******* stupid Soups!!!  You can’t increase the size of the net that’s the size they’ve always been!”  Thanks Grandpa, tell me more stories about how you used to walk up hill to and from school.  Why is it that society can evolve but our sports can’t?!  At the end of the day it has to evolve and the league has to stop fighting things like this otherwise it will be right back in the gutter it was in 2005.   Your argument may also be that increasing scoring won’t increase the quality of a game.  Well, if it’s easier to score, players will push to score more and coaches won’t be able to let there teams to sit on leads on not forecheck.  Mabye you sit on a 2 or 3 goal lead, but not 1.

These playoffs have been fun to watch despite all the defensive minded hockey, but it won’t last.  Because what will happen is that more and more teams will start playing this style and every game will be back to 1-0, 2-1.  Great for now, horrific long term.

So welcome back early 2000’s hockey….you were missed by absolutely nobody.


Follow me on twitter @TJ_Soups or the site @Soups_on_Sports

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