The NEW NHL...what do you like MOST and what do you DISLIKE most?
After having watched quite a few games the last couple of weeks, i'd like to share my opinions on what i see in the NEW NHL.
I'm really impressed with the PACE of the game, when the game is allowed to flow (no penalties being called for a little stretch). We are able to witness the true talents of many players who were unable to show this off in the OLD NHL.
The lack of a red line has allowed for longer passes to be made, causing more offensive pressure.
The smaller neutral zone and larger offensive zone has been SUPER from my POV. This has been very obvious when a PP is in effect. I really like this change to give the offense more space to create plays.
The refs have really made a dramatic change to the game. They have called fouls from the first seconds of the 1st period right until the end of a game (including the OTs). I know that this has been a bit frustrating for some of us who have been used to watching hockey for a long time. But, i really applaud the NHL for FINALLY showing some balls and calling the game by the rules that really exist.
The one problem i do have with the penalty parade is that there seems to be some plays that are still missed by refs. But they are human...so i guess that will always be part of the game.
The thing i am missing most in the NEW NHL is the lack of a physical game. I was expecting more HARD checks...this has not been the case. I was hoping that intimidation (fights) would still be part of the game...but the enforcer role is going the way of the dinosaur.
What about you fellow Flyers fans?? What has left the best taste in your mouth and the worst??
Its still early; I think it'll take about 2 years for all the rules to fully shake out and the coaches to achieve some steady state "normal" strategy under the new rules.
- So far, you have to love the flow of the game from the calling of obstruction. Guys seem less tired as well and thus have more jump thru the neutral zone. I actually would like to see the refs call MORE stuff in transition.
- two line pass rocks. ROCKS! in combination with the calling of obstruction, it's killed the trap. puts an even higher premium on the defensemen's passing skills. even if its not a home run pass, the outlets can be much more creative and there's always that excitement when the dman has the puck, knowing it could instantly become a scoring chance.
- touch-up offsides has greatly improved the flow. even on "delayed offsides", half the time the linesman whistled it down.
- smaller goalie equipment has definitely resulted in more goals. i've seen lots of goals glance off goalies and in. it doesn't make the skaters play any better, but more goals are generally more exciting as a fan cuz you can expect at any time a goal to be scored. and you shouldnt have to make a perfect shot everytime just to score, imo.
- tons more acrobatic saves! lighter equipment plus quicker passing and no mauling in front has yielded a lot more highlight reel saves. lovin it.
- the no change on icing rule hasnt really had much effect, because most of the time an icing call means a tv timeout. plus there's always about a 30 second delay to get the puck from one side of the ice to the next for the faceoff and the line changed, so the players get atleast a tiny chance to catch their breath...I havent seen it result in too many goals, but it doesnt have a negative effect. it may be unneeded, because no one is icing to protect a lead anymore; you can't sit on a lead anymore. maybe players aren't icing as much because of fear of the no change...?
- the goalie restrictions are kind of annoying, they seem inelegant. with more speed through the neutral zone and the 2 line pass it doesn't seem all that necessary to me. it was different when you had to have a guy stand on the red line, have the defenseman shoot it off his stick, and then try to get the opposing winger to fight thru the checks to get into the puck. now everyone can have speed thru the zone and its much much harder for the goalie to get the puck safely without risking turning it over far from the net. its always exciting when the goalie comes out and just may totally screw up. that said, I'm still undecided. I would like to see what it looks like without the trapezoid but with the other new rules. if we must have the trapezoid, I'd like to see the goalline corners of it pushed to the sideboards. the goalie should be able to play the puck around the net, and the corners are too close.
- I think the open ice hitting is at the same level as it was, which is low historically. I dunno if it will come back. The hitting along the wall is down, not because guys "aren't sure whats legal", but because its hard to lay a hit on a guy safely. before you could kind of glancingly hit him and trap him with your arm so he couldnt get away. Now you can get half of him, but he can spin away and walk to the net and you're a step behind. what the defenseman have to learn is when they really have a guy and when they don't...it was too easy before. I expect it to come back a bit as dmen adjust.
- the delay of game penalty for flipping it out of the zone feels really cheap to me. a penalty for that? not to mention you're asking a lot of refs to judge whether it went off a guy or not. I'd rather see you just have a no line change for the offending team, and that would be more effective than the icing no change because the faceoff would happen a lot quicker, giving the defending team less time to rest. you could also say that the faceoff is always deep when its flipped out of the rink, whereas before I think if you flipped it out when you were near the blue line you had a near faceoff.
- Is it just me, or are shootouts crap? half the time the skater flubs the shot. waiting for the shooters to circle around the puck at center ice is always a let down after the high paced OT. with scoring up and penalties still being called in OT (unlike last season), I dont know that you need shootouts. All the games I've seen this season that went to SO *deserved* to be tied, unlike last season, where sometimes it was a slugfest for 65 minutes and then you went home unfulfilled. also, with the faster pace of play, games are ending a lot quicker. you could make a 10 min overtime, or a 5 min 4 on4, then 5min 3on3. shootouts aren't fun.
- the lack of contact in front is boring. it was exciting to watch 2 guys go at it! I don't know what to do...you should be able to fight for position, but not hold or hook. you should be able to make contact. I don't know where you draw the line exactly. in the old nhl, sometimes the crosschecking in front WAS too much, and the offensive player didnt have a chance for a rebound cuz he was getting mauled.
The opportunity to make comebacks in the third period, instead of the snooze-fest some games became when a team had a comfy lead late, is the common denominator and determining factor in the changes. Knowing a team isn't going to sit on its 3-1 lead in the 3rd period to the degree of what happened in recent years is thrilling for the fans. The game has generally opened up and the free flowing nature, especially late (Boston at Carolina for example a couple of nights ago) is significant
Also, I think the shootout has been overall a positive step. At the risk of sounding contradictory, I would not want a high percentage of games to be determined by this process but so far I think it is a better way to end games than the ties of the past.
What I dislike is the constant penalty parade, though of course it is being done for a reason; however, it is limiting the physical play as hockey fans we all enjoy.