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Its time for smaller rinks

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Old
11-22-2010, 04:31 AM
  #1
Everlasting
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Its time for smaller rinks

The game in Elitserien is changing. You can clearly see it this year. The game is alot more physically and more straight forward. This game more suited for a smaller rink. The game would be more fun to watch and we would have it alot easier when we go up against teams such as Canada in international games.

Even the majority(?) of the players want it. I am pretty sure i saw a article in aftonbladet about it where they interviewed some players. They were more positive then negative about it.
If i remember correctly some players like Thomas Holmström wont return home unless they change the size of the rinks.

While we are at it, we should allow fights so the number of assaults would drop. Thörnberg and Anton Hedman as example... Also the players would toughen up a bit. They need it.

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11-22-2010, 05:02 AM
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While I agree with you, I don't think anything like that will happen until the generation of hockey people that grew up idolizing Soviet style hockey is either retired or dead.

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11-22-2010, 05:10 AM
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While I agree with you, I don't think anything like that will happen until the generation of hockey people that grew up idolizing Soviet style hockey is either retired or dead.
I have the same feeling :/
Feels like swedish hockey is being controlled by old conservetive people who really needs to retire or start being open minded.

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11-22-2010, 05:27 AM
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Costs too much money. Won't happen.

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11-22-2010, 06:43 AM
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the "leif boork" generation needs to go away before we can go into newthinking mode

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11-22-2010, 10:32 AM
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the "leif boork" generation needs to go away before we can go into newthinking mode
Yep, when the old school generation is gone things might change. Maybe some newly retired NHL players taking over the reigns. I'm sure a lot of them will speak highly about the smaller rinks.

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11-22-2010, 11:37 AM
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Well, Sweden can't operate on its own little island, not very effectively anyway. If they are indeed talking about a big Euro league, that is a place to create a Euro standard. I don't hear the KHL discuss a change (but I might be wrong as I don't follow the KHL except for some of the Swedish players).

I really like the small rinks, but there are some pros and cons.
The NHL works because the talent level is so high. When you start moving down from there, you might very well sit through a whole night of nothing but broken plays and a few boring fights, waiting for something to happen. I don't know how many of you watch the AHL or any league below on a regular basis, but I doubt even the most astute hockey connoisseur would sit through a full season of that, and the AHL is not horrible as far as talent is concerned by any means (not as deep in talent as the SEL, but the top tier is right there). Imagine what Allsvenskan or Div. 1 would look like?!?!?!

Before going stir crazy and shrink the rinks all over Sweden, I think we should try to improve the product through rule changes and philosophy instead. I don't think a trapping defense and puck possession on the perimeter would be much more fun on a small rink than the IIHF standard.

Why not prohibit traps? No trapping defense. Take a page out the old NBA and enforce man-man defense! Any trapping results in a 2 min team penalty? Would double teaming, like a left-wing lock be allowed?

While looking over at basketball, why not consider the shoot clock concept as well? From that your team gets possession of the puck, you have X seconds to get it on net. In basketball, the other team takes over possession if you fail to hit the rim before the buzzard goes, but maybe in hockey one could move the puck down for a face off in the defensive zone of the violating team, just like an icing?

Why not bring back old school NHL and keep the icing rule during PPs?

In LaCrosse one has to keep X amount of players in various zones of the field at all times (outside lacrosse). Why not require that a team in the offensive zone has to keep at least one player in either the high or the low slot at all times?

I know some of these things are crazy and probably impossible to execute in reality given the speed of the game, but before we ask every single club (municipal) to rebuild their rinks, we could try to think a little bit outside the box and get creative, and nothing says that we have to roll out a big rule change all at once in the SEL. Why not play around with some concepts (test market) in the Div 1. series? That might also generate some increased interest and publicity for those clubs. If we come across something that works, bring it up and in to the bigger league.

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11-22-2010, 01:03 PM
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Finland already has smaller rinks. Not NHL size but somewhere in between NHL size and international size, and the sizes vary depending on the arena so it's not a standardized size either. But it's still better than these "semi bandy rinks" we have here. And if Finland can do it, why can't Sweden do the same?

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11-22-2010, 01:26 PM
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@Ribban maybe you been over there a little to long. If you knew anything about swedish hockey fans you'd know the "us vs them" concept is higher then ever. And "us" playing physical against "them" will surely fly with most The few of us following NHL cant be compared to the regular swedish hulligan

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11-22-2010, 10:02 PM
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IMO, sorry to say Sweden et al but Finland has it right with the hybrid size.

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11-23-2010, 03:35 AM
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While I certainly like to watch hockey on small ice and get tired of the defensive strategies in the SEL at times, I do wonder how big an influence the big surface has on our great track record at developing talents. Since the Finns switched to a smaller surface their NHL level talent production seems to have gone down.

I'm not sure talent production is related to ice surface at all, but it could be a factor. Less dump and chase and grinding in the corners and more focus on skills.

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11-23-2010, 06:36 AM
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Wouldn't mind if teams were allowed to choose the size of the rink in their arenas, anything between international size and NHL size. Just like in baseball.

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11-23-2010, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KRM View Post
Wouldn't mind if teams were allowed to choose the size of the rink in their arenas, anything between international size and NHL size. Just like in baseball.
Or football, for that matter.

And I would prefer it if we kept the big rinks, to be honest.
Not because I prefer the style of play, but because I think the Swedish style of hockey has been developed for the big rinks and right now, that style is actually producing some pretty good results. Switching to NHL-sized rinks is a big risk and would force us to change the way we play hockey, and that is not necessarily a good thing. Right now the whole idea just seems like a poorly conceived attempt at making Swedish hockey more Canadian.

What baffles me even more though is that people are being so pushy about this here in Sweden at a time when many North American hockey fans are actually calling for the NHL to make the rinks larger.

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11-24-2010, 12:43 AM
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@Ribban maybe you been over there a little to long. If you knew anything about swedish hockey fans you'd know the "us vs them" concept is higher then ever. And "us" playing physical against "them" will surely fly with most The few of us following NHL cant be compared to the regular swedish hulligan
LOL.... Well,

A) I have indeed been living over here for too long. I have a good life here, but I miss Sweden, no doúbt.

B) I don't know if you have empirical data about the Swedish fans' preference, but without trying to be offensive, I don't think Swedish fans are all that different from NA fans, and here they consistently try to find a more open and faster game, with more scoring. Sure they want to keep the physical aspect of the game, but nobody wants soccer scoring. I don't think Swedish fans would REALLY be all that excited after the initial hype has cooled off and they've had 10-15 weeks of 1-0, 1-1, and 0-0 games. Again, I honestly don't think the SEL, let alone HA and below, has the talent to execute anything looking remotely like hockey on a small rink. All you'd get are turn-overs, random puck bounces, mistimed checks, and a lack of flow - Chaos on Ice! I see the crowds leaving hockey and move on to something else despite the occasional big, open ice hit.

C) I'm not really saying DON'T try this at all, but why not roll it out one of the Div 1's as a test market? Perhaps it will be "all that and a bag of chips," but it seems like too expensive of an initiative to roll out full scale before giving it a test run first.


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Old
11-24-2010, 12:54 AM
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I gotta say that i'm pretty traditional. I like the way we in Sweden develop talent, and I like that we could develop it further. We play hockey like it should be played imo.

If you hit the wrong player in the wrong situation, it can hurt the team. This doesn't negate hitting or any physical play, you just need to be smart about it.

I really like NHL style of hockey because of the pace, but does it really compare to Euro hockey? Sometimes yes. But often I just see dump in and chase, or loosing the puck at neutral zone.

I love the bigger rink just for the chance to make the creative plays. But I'd like it to be more physical in Swedish hockey for sure. But that is up to the rulebook, not the rink size.

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11-24-2010, 01:01 AM
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If we have to choose between NHL size and our neighbours, I'd pick the fins.


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Old
11-24-2010, 03:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Ribban View Post
C) I'm not really saying DON'T try this at all, but why not roll it out one of the Div 1's as a test market? Perhaps it will be "all that and a bag of chips," but it seems like too expensive of an initiative to roll out full scale before giving it a test run first.
NOOOOO! That'll destroy my team!

Just kidding, I think it'd be a good idea. I'm all for it, because Vita Hästen already play dump and chase hockey, and they'd be wreaking havoc och the lower end teams if Div1 switched to a smaller rink (even though, I'm hoping, and firmly believing that they'll move up this year).

One thing I have against it is that I have a great ability to stickhandle in a phonebooth only when the phonebooth is 10x10m, and I play beer... team hockey in my teams arena.

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11-24-2010, 11:11 AM
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NOOOOO! That'll destroy my team!

Just kidding, I think it'd be a good idea. I'm all for it, because Vita Hästen already play dump and chase hockey, and they'd be wreaking havoc och the lower end teams if Div1 switched to a smaller rink (even though, I'm hoping, and firmly believing that they'll move up this year).

One thing I have against it is that I have a great ability to stickhandle in a phonebooth only when the phonebooth is 10x10m, and I play beer... team hockey in my teams arena.
I see.
Considering your personal stake in this, I propose we try the smaller rinks in Div 1A. A secondary benefit to that, besides your personal career, is that fewer rinks would be affected = less cost.

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11-24-2010, 04:19 PM
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I see.
Considering your personal stake in this, I propose we try the smaller rinks in Div 1A. A secondary benefit to that, besides your personal career, is that fewer rinks would be affected = less cost.
Yeah, I agree. I only want it if it works, you know?

Div 1B has 8 teams, so you could go there. I would argue that putting it Div1D, as that is the most competetive division (as of this year - not counting Div 1F, and I'll get to why in a sec.) in the system, and I think this experiment would get the best results (the results we want) if contending teams play hard each night on the new-size rinks.
Further, I would argue that you'd have to pair up the divisions that will be merged later in the season, so it's not a complete clash. Sure, it would be interesting to see teams all of a sudden have to adjust for just 14 games, but not fair. I'm not at all a fan of the hybrid rink thing in Finland - I think it's absurd - so maybe you'd have to change it across the board if a team in the division making the change would qualify for the playoffs. Not to mention the qualification against teams from Allsvenskan. And bla bla bla bla bla bla.

Besides can you imagine how irked the people up north would feel when the fancy southeners use them as guinea pigs?

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11-24-2010, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by ahabian View Post
Yeah, I agree. I only want it if it works, you know?

Div 1B has 8 teams, so you could go there. I would argue that putting it Div1D, as that is the most competetive division (as of this year - not counting Div 1F, and I'll get to why in a sec.) in the system, and I think this experiment would get the best results (the results we want) if contending teams play hard each night on the new-size rinks.
Further, I would argue that you'd have to pair up the divisions that will be merged later in the season, so it's not a complete clash. Sure, it would be interesting to see teams all of a sudden have to adjust for just 14 games, but not fair. I'm not at all a fan of the hybrid rink thing in Finland - I think it's absurd - so maybe you'd have to change it across the board if a team in the division making the change would qualify for the playoffs. Not to mention the qualification against teams from Allsvenskan. And bla bla bla bla bla bla.

Besides can you imagine how irked the people up north would feel when the fancy southeners use them as guinea pigs?
On a more serious note, the "Hedman situation" is a great example of why I personally don't think Sweden and Swedish hockey are ready for smaller rinks. Shrink the rinks and you will have "Hedman" situations all the time, with the media headlines that go with it. Families with young boys and girls, "the next generation", will be gone bfore you can say, "puck." What you've got left then is a bunch of teenage boys, obviously focusing on all the wrong things about hockey, and some wannabe Canadians, who most likely don't even play. Not much to build a nationwide "fan" movement on.

..and for those thinking that allowing fighting to get a cleaner game is a good idea, or a must to clean up the game, I . It's not that people like Hedman WANTS to hurt someone. He's simply out of control. **** happens.

Swedish hockey needs to change its fundemental development scheme and game philosophy, and after some years of that, we might entertain the idea of changing the rink size.

For those arguing for a hybrid rink, I don't think Finland is a nation we want to model ourselves after, at least not hockey wise.

JMHO.

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11-24-2010, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Ribban View Post
On a more serious note, the "Hedman situation" is a great example of why I personally don't think Sweden and Swedish hockey are ready for smaller rinks. Shrink the rinks and you will have "Hedman" situations all the time, with the media headlines that go with it. Families with young boys and girls, "the next generation", will be gone bfore you can say, "puck." What you've got left then is a bunch of teenage boys, obviously focusing on all the wrong things about hockey, and some wannabe Canadians, who most likely don't even play. Not much to build a nationwide "fan" movement on.

..and for those thinking that allowing fighting to get a cleaner game is a good idea, or a must to clean up the game, I . It's not that people like Hedman WANTS to hurt someone. He's simply out of control. **** happens.

Swedish hockey needs to change its fundemental development scheme and game philosophy, and after some years of that, we might entertain the idea of changing the rink size.

For those arguing for a hybrid rink, I don't think Finland is a nation we want to model ourselves after, at least not hockey wise.

JMHO.
I tend to agree with what you're saying, but personally, I think that the game needs to change as it adopts to the rinks. It might sound warped logic, and I might backpeddle if somebody says something else, but I really think that if you want to change to swedish game to a more canadian style of hockey, you have to accept a couple of years of strange hockey with smaller rinks. The hockey played in the NHL might not be developed automatically, because maybe it won't win teams any games. If they have to adapt to a smaller rink, I think it will come at faster pace.

Hoooowever, do we really want change in Sweden? Do we want to cater ourselves to the NHL? Is that what we want to train our kids, to play that game, in that league? Now, don't get me wrong, I love the NHL, I love my precious Div 1 and the Elite League as well, but I would argue that if we want to get our kids to play hockey, go for the grassroots. The local teams have to be involved in the kids, because what other chance does a 7 year old have to see actual hockey, and see the human being that plays it, see the passion? The dream of playing in the NHL is awesome as a carrot, but it's so far away, and Swedish players make it there. You don't have to make it priority number one to get kids there. From what I've heard, devolping players is a losing business in Sweden anyway, unless you happen to be MODO and have Forsberg playing for free, and well, when he's healthy.

Sweden is not Canada. Our hockey culture is not Canada's, just like our lives and values don't look the same. I would argue that a bit more "**** it, I want to win" would be in it's place in Sweden. Sweden is not the place to get "tough", nor will it ever be, unless you are tough, unless you make yourself tough. The game swedish players have played don't constitute the biggest problem when the make the jump to the NHL/AHL, it's the mindset (I'm looking at you, Dick Axelsson). Either you have it, or you don't. A smaller rink isn't necessarily going to change that, and if doesn't win you any games developing it, sure you're going to overlook it.

I'm actually not so militantly against a bit of fighting in Swedish leagues (despite Sweden not being Canada). I think the fines and such should be... let's say decreased. You don't want to say "hey, kill each other" and have every young kid in the junior systems all over the country go ape, but I think it would take some of the cheap shots out, actually.
On the other side of the coin is of course that we have 16 year olds and hotheads like Daniel Corso (I think he was the one fighting Larsson) playing in the same league, so maybe with that in mind you have to be less lenient than you are now. I don't think so, though. If some jackass is pissed off and trying all sorts of stuff to "get even" or something, I'd rather send out Andreas Pihl (if he were on my team) to do his best Chara impression (given that his arthritis wouldn't prevent him from bending his arms).

Man, thinking always makes me feel so freaking torn on issues like these. Sorry if I'm coming off as incoherent or anything. I can't sleep and I'm fighting some sort of Pandora's box illness. Christ.

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11-25-2010, 01:14 AM
  #22
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I tend to agree with what you're saying, but personally, I think that the game needs to change as it adopts to the rinks. It might sound warped logic, and I might backpeddle if somebody says something else, but I really think that if you want to change to swedish game to a more canadian style of hockey, you have to accept a couple of years of strange hockey with smaller rinks. The hockey played in the NHL might not be developed automatically, because maybe it won't win teams any games. If they have to adapt to a smaller rink, I think it will come at faster pace.

Hoooowever, do we really want change in Sweden? Do we want to cater ourselves to the NHL? Is that what we want to train our kids, to play that game, in that league? Now, don't get me wrong, I love the NHL, I love my precious Div 1 and the Elite League as well, but I would argue that if we want to get our kids to play hockey, go for the grassroots. The local teams have to be involved in the kids, because what other chance does a 7 year old have to see actual hockey, and see the human being that plays it, see the passion? The dream of playing in the NHL is awesome as a carrot, but it's so far away, and Swedish players make it there. You don't have to make it priority number one to get kids there. From what I've heard, devolping players is a losing business in Sweden anyway, unless you happen to be MODO and have Forsberg playing for free, and well, when he's healthy.

Sweden is not Canada. Our hockey culture is not Canada's, just like our lives and values don't look the same. I would argue that a bit more "**** it, I want to win" would be in it's place in Sweden. Sweden is not the place to get "tough", nor will it ever be, unless you are tough, unless you make yourself tough. The game swedish players have played don't constitute the biggest problem when the make the jump to the NHL/AHL, it's the mindset (I'm looking at you, Dick Axelsson). Either you have it, or you don't. A smaller rink isn't necessarily going to change that, and if doesn't win you any games developing it, sure you're going to overlook it.

I'm actually not so militantly against a bit of fighting in Swedish leagues (despite Sweden not being Canada). I think the fines and such should be... let's say decreased. You don't want to say "hey, kill each other" and have every young kid in the junior systems all over the country go ape, but I think it would take some of the cheap shots out, actually.
On the other side of the coin is of course that we have 16 year olds and hotheads like Daniel Corso (I think he was the one fighting Larsson) playing in the same league, so maybe with that in mind you have to be less lenient than you are now. I don't think so, though. If some jackass is pissed off and trying all sorts of stuff to "get even" or something, I'd rather send out Andreas Pihl (if he were on my team) to do his best Chara impression (given that his arthritis wouldn't prevent him from bending his arms).

Man, thinking always makes me feel so freaking torn on issues like these. Sorry if I'm coming off as incoherent or anything. I can't sleep and I'm fighting some sort of Pandora's box illness. Christ.
It's not black or white, as you point out. There are pros and cons either way,and I think we do forget the statistics of how many players actually make it to the NHL. With that as a backdrop, I think Swedish hockey and development gets a big fat A, if not an A+.

The main benefit of shrinking the rinks would be that POSSIBLY we MIGHT see more talent stay at home for a few more years, or have them come back home if they don't make the big NHL club. Many Euro prospects are sent down to "adapt to the smaller ice." Well, if we had smaller rinks, would Sweden be as good of a grooming ground as Oklahoma? Would we see more talent, from maybe not only Sweden, come and play here?

However, as the law of physics has it, no action without a reaction. Sweden is successful because we produce mainly top level skill talent. The guys that make it over to the NHL are usually in the running for one of the top 6 spots, not the grind line. If the clubs are looking for grinders, there are plenty of options closer to home than Sweden, no matter what size of rink we have.

So, would we develop less NHL players than we do today if the rink size was smaller? I think we would, but maybe the SEL would be better/more entertaining in the long run? Which brings us right back to wondering what came first, the chicken or the egg. Personally, I believe we need to straighten out our game, eliminate the trap, go to the net, and learn how to really bring the pressure every time on the forecheck before we touch the rinks. Who knows, if we do all those things, we might not have to do anything to the rinks!?... which would make life a lot easier for a lot of municipals and hockey clubs.

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11-26-2010, 06:59 AM
  #23
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It's not black or white, as you point out. There are pros and cons either way,and I think we do forget the statistics of how many players actually make it to the NHL. With that as a backdrop, I think Swedish hockey and development gets a big fat A, if not an A+.

The main benefit of shrinking the rinks would be that POSSIBLY we MIGHT see more talent stay at home for a few more years, or have them come back home if they don't make the big NHL club. Many Euro prospects are sent down to "adapt to the smaller ice." Well, if we had smaller rinks, would Sweden be as good of a grooming ground as Oklahoma? Would we see more talent, from maybe not only Sweden, come and play here?

However, as the law of physics has it, no action without a reaction. Sweden is successful because we produce mainly top level skill talent. The guys that make it over to the NHL are usually in the running for one of the top 6 spots, not the grind line. If the clubs are looking for grinders, there are plenty of options closer to home than Sweden, no matter what size of rink we have.

So, would we develop less NHL players than we do today if the rink size was smaller? I think we would, but maybe the SEL would be better/more entertaining in the long run? Which brings us right back to wondering what came first, the chicken or the egg. Personally, I believe we need to straighten out our game, eliminate the trap, go to the net, and learn how to really bring the pressure every time on the forecheck before we touch the rinks. Who knows, if we do all those things, we might not have to do anything to the rinks!?... which would make life a lot easier for a lot of municipals and hockey clubs.
Those are great points. I hadn't really factored in how much high-end swedish talent there is in the NHL, but that's true. With that in mind, I think that switching to smaller rinks would turn Sweden into a more competetive hockey country within its own borders. I say this mostly because I think hockey changes to adapt and not by itself. Better equipment, bigger and better players, "defense wins championships", rule changes, etcetera.

With a change in rink size, I believe that the game would adapt in a favourable manner. While I don't think we would develop the sort of players we do now as frequently as we can now, I think we'd have less of a gap between the "bound-for-the-NHL" players and the eternal fourth liners, thanks to a more speedy, physical game. This would lead to a more exciting swedish hockey (IMHO), but maybe not to as heavy an export of swedish players as we did.

I also imagine that the game would be a little more intense, which might not change anything on the Divion 1 level, where conditioning will always be the deciding factor, and conditioning will always up and down there, but higher up, I think we might see a game where there might be more upsets and Cinderella-stories. Luleå is one this year, though, because they play a very straight forward forechecking style that sort of differs from the other teams.

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11-29-2010, 12:08 PM
  #24
Ribban
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahabian View Post
Those are great points. I hadn't really factored in how much high-end swedish talent there is in the NHL, but that's true. With that in mind, I think that switching to smaller rinks would turn Sweden into a more competetive hockey country within its own borders. I say this mostly because I think hockey changes to adapt and not by itself. Better equipment, bigger and better players, "defense wins championships", rule changes, etcetera.

With a change in rink size, I believe that the game would adapt in a favourable manner. While I don't think we would develop the sort of players we do now as frequently as we can now, I think we'd have less of a gap between the "bound-for-the-NHL" players and the eternal fourth liners, thanks to a more speedy, physical game. This would lead to a more exciting swedish hockey (IMHO), but maybe not to as heavy an export of swedish players as we did.

I also imagine that the game would be a little more intense, which might not change anything on the Divion 1 level, where conditioning will always be the deciding factor, and conditioning will always up and down there, but higher up, I think we might see a game where there might be more upsets and Cinderella-stories. Luleå is one this year, though, because they play a very straight forward forechecking style that sort of differs from the other teams.
Yup... and I believe Skelefteå was the story last year, also playing a relatively straight forward style of hockey wih decent forechecking. As such, like the broken record I always end up being, I keep thinking that we can make positive changes in Swedish hockey (we seem to agree on what style of hockey we prefer) and keep the rink size as is.

My main concern is really money. I don't think there is enough money around the country to rebuild the rinks. It's not enough to modify only the SEL and HA arenas. If you make that change, you need to go all the way down into the divisional basement, and given the everlasting debate about affording healthcare, childcare, education, retirement, folköl and dunka-dunka, I doubt that'll ever happen.

On that note, I must say that I am REALLY surprised to see that we are not building half sheets in Sweden?!?! They are not only extremely economical but they are perfect for kid's hockey and pee-wee development. On top of that, beer leaguers love the 3-on-3 games on those rinks (Let's face it, when you are 40+, you don't really want to skate 200 feet back and forth all night). Half sheets are very attractive ice to buy, as it shrinks the surface and yields more touches, quicker decisions, and "leaves no kid behind." I don't understand why the Swedes resist to build them.

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12-06-2010, 04:44 PM
  #25
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SEL should be played in big rinks, and that's that!!

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