I hope Bettman is watching the WJC
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12-27-2003, 08:29 AM
Join Date: Mar 2002
The BIGGEST difference between the WJC and the NHL, in terms of the rules employed is the tag up offsides. If the NHL readopted the tag up rule, the league would be in FAR better shape today. As it currently stands, if the offensive team has men deep (say behind the goal line fighting for the puck), all the oposition has to do is get the puck over the blue line, and for all intents and purposes, the offensive attack is over. The other team needs to wait for ALL their players to get out of the zone, while under some form of defensive pressure from the other team, which gets them to go backwards (every fans dream, watching a team pass the puck backwards in the neutral zone). In general, if the offensive team had any form of pressure (and quite often even if they havn't), by the time the puck is ready to be dumped back in, its time for a line change. Every fans dream, 20 seconds of completely wasted time watching players make non offensive wide open passes while ksating backwards, only to the skate to the red line, dump the puck in anyways, and then go for a line change. I know I get exited every time....
The KEY benefit of the tag up rules is that after the puck is cleared, you can just dump it back in and go for a line change. The 5-15 seconds of time was just 100% wasted as the team with the puck had NO possibility of doing anything offensive, and wastes a good chunk of their shift, doing essentially NOTHING. Excactly what the NHL needs. With the continued reduction of shift length over the past 30 years, the tag up rule becomes more and more important to ensure proper flow. When you have a 2 minute shift, wasting 10 seconds is no big deal. When you have a 30-40 second shift, those 10 seconds basically are condeming you to a line change. Why not get rid of those 10 wasted seconds, and either a) get the line change done without wasting time, or b) get the offensive team to go back in a forecheck.
Taking a gander at NHL scoring, the tag up rul was in effect from 1986-1987 to 1995-1996. The 1995-1996 season had 6.29 goals per game. The 1997-1998 season had a mere 5.26 goals per game (a drop of a goal in per game in 2 years). It has hovered around that mark since. And its not just the average goals per game, but even top level scoring dropped precipitously. The 1995-1996 season had 2 60+ goal scorers, 8 50+ goal scorers and the 10th highest scorer had 107 pts. The 1996-1997 season had 0 60+ goal scorers, 4 50+ goal scorers (with the leader having 52...) and 2 100+ point players. That is ONE year, with THAT drastic a reduction. What a terrific rule change to increase scoring....
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