HFBoards

Go Back   HFBoards > General Hockey Discussion > The History of Hockey
Mobile Hockey's Future Become a Sponsor Site Rules Support Forum vBookie Page 2
The History of Hockey Relive great moments in hockey history and discuss how the game has changed over time.

Reasons for Scoring Fluctuations?

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old
07-03-2014, 03:02 PM
  #1
Randomtask68
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Burlington, MA
Country: United States
Posts: 485
vCash: 500
Reasons for Scoring Fluctuations?

With the amount of goals being a constant source of debate amongst hockey and non-hockey fans, I catch myself looking at the league's goals per game average once and a while on hockey reference. As you can see the table uses averages for individual teams rather than standard goals per game between both teams in an average game.

http://www.hockey-reference.com/leagues/stats.html

It's really amazing looking at the fluctuation between different eras in the league, and I was wondering what kind of factors influenced scoring, such as rule changes, improvement in equipment, expansion and quality of talent available to the NHL?

1) Why was scoring so high in the first few seasons and then take a massive dip? The first four seasons have a GPG over 4 but that figure isn't approached again until WW2.

2) The 29-30 season saw a 1.50 increase to 2.96 GPG, partly due to the forward pass being allowed.

From Wikipedia:
Quote:
To combat low scoring, the off-side rules were rewritten. Players were now allowed forward passing in the offensive zone, instead of only in the defensive and neutral zones. Players were now allowed to enter the offensive zone before the puck. The only off-side rule left was that passing was not allowed from one zone to another.[2] The changes led to abuse: players sat in front of the opposing net waiting for a pass. The rule was changed in mid-season and players were no longer allowed to enter the offensive zone before the puck.[3]
So did forward passing not help as much as they hoped considering the 2.96 figure did not last? (I was never aware of that temporary change in off-sides, very interesting)

3) Any reason why goalscoring increased by .50 goals between the 55-56 season and 60-61? It was still the Original Six Era and the only significant rule change was at the beginning of the 56-57 season where powerplays finished when a goal was scored instead of having powerplays last the entire 2 minutes regardless of the amount of goals scored (A rule change I would think would hinder scoring if anything?)

4) People often point to expansion as a reason why scoring increased, but the first few years after the 1967 expansion there wasn't a massive change until you got into the early/mid 70s. Was that because while good teams like the Bruins and Canadiens started scoring at record paces, the bad teams were so bad that their numbers brought down the entire league for a time?

Also, how much of a difference does the advent of the slapshot and curved stick help scoring at this time?

5) How much did the high octane Oilers influence league wide scoring in the 80s? Were teams trying to play firewagon hockey trying to keep up with them? Was it a mixture of a seemingly high quality of offensive talent, goaltending technique/equipment falling behind that of skaters and an influx of European talent where high end players like Jari Kurri and Peter Stastny made their way over to the NHL?

6) Not sure if this is accurate, but would I be wrong in saying the NHL was at its deepest during the Dead Puck Era considering the Soviet Union collapsed, allowing Europeans to freely join the NHL, along with the USA contributing more players to the league and that there was no real threat of a KHL to keep players from coming over like there is now? And if so, was it a defensive mindset of coaches around the league (aka The Trap) along with improvements in goaltending equipment that kept scoring down?

Thanks in advance for all responses.

Randomtask68 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
07-04-2014, 10:12 AM
  #2
Iain Fyffe
Hockey fact-checker
 
Iain Fyffe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Fredericton, NB
Country: Canada
Posts: 3,078
vCash: 500
For point 2, there were two changes in the 1929/30 season. The first change was that, IIRC, offsides no longer applied at all. Midway through the season, however, this was reined back to what we are now familiar with.

This is a very interesting topic, and there a number of factors that can be relevant. I'm pretty sure I have some notes on some of these somewhere, I will post more if and when I get a chance.

Iain Fyffe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
07-04-2014, 11:33 AM
  #3
The Panther
Registered User
 
The Panther's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Country: Japan
Posts: 1,839
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Randomtask68 View Post
5) How much did the high octane Oilers influence league wide scoring in the 80s? Were teams trying to play firewagon hockey trying to keep up with them? Was it a mixture of a seemingly high quality of offensive talent, goaltending technique/equipment falling behind that of skaters and an influx of European talent where high end players like Jari Kurri and Peter Stastny made their way over to the NHL?
A few things about the context of the late 70s to late 80s have to be kept in mind:

-- North American hockey only really became 'internationalized' in the 1970s. People began thinking that maybe grinders going up and down the wings and shooting the puck in every time wasn't necessarily the best way to win (I'm exaggerating, but you get my point). Suddenly, North American hockey was exposed to European-style passing, stick-handling, and shooting. And the kids/teens in the 70s were the first generation to grow-up with those Europeans as part of their influence. That would matter in the 1980s.

-- Same as above for coaches/builders (not only players). In 1976, everyone saw Montreal's disciplined skill take down Philly's brawn easily. And everyone saw the Soviets dominating international hockey throughout the 70s. (And let's not forget the American college-kids of 1980 beating that great Soviet team.)

-- The WHA in the 70s, and the NHL's changed entry-draft rules, made it possible by the end of the 70s for 18-year-olds to play in the NHL. This was very rare before, but became the norm from the late 70s to late 80s (and still fairly common today, but less so). First-round picks in the 80s were routinely rushed into the NHL line-up as soon as they were legal, including goaltenders and defencemen. The point cannot be over-stated that in the 80s, THERE WERE A LOT OF YOUNG PLAYERS DOMINATING THE LEAGUE.

My calculations (I hope no error) of the average age of the top-15 NHL scorers in:
1953-44: 26.06
1983-84: 24.13
2013-14: 26.73

It's not a huge difference, but certainly the 1984 all-star team is younger. What's the point of all this? I believe the disproportionate number of younger players led to more goals being scored. When the goalies were 19 years old, the defence 21, and the forwards the same, many of these athletes had moved from junior hockey to pro in no time flat. Consequently, they did not get immersed in "the system" of the WHL, QJMHL, American League and so on that previous generations of players had. They jumped straight into pros when still in high school, and arrived in a League that was starting to favor creative offense and speed/skating style.

-- And then, as the OP mentions above, the Edmonton Oilers became the dominant team from 1983 forward -- a team built on youth, speed, and creative offense.


Another way to look at the 70s-through-early 90s offensive period is that the forwards were developing a lot but the defense/goaltending wasn't. The era captures a period when the League was suddenly saturated with Europeans and youthful scoring stars, but many teams didn't have a set defensive system yet in place and nobody had heard of a 'goaltending coach'.


So, in my opinion, all of these factors contributed.

The Panther is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
07-04-2014, 12:08 PM
  #4
Killion
Global Moderator
 
Killion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Casablanca
Country: Morocco
Posts: 25,152
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Panther View Post
So, in my opinion, all of these factors contributed.
Ya, good post, and there were other contributing factors as well of course. The breakdown of the old NHL Sponsorship model, Expansion & the WHA, and as per your avy the arrival of Wayne Gretzky who's exploits were indeed being watched & tracked from a very young age. His influence on the game like Orr's just incredibly powerful, influential.

Killion is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
07-04-2014, 12:14 PM
  #5
Iain Fyffe
Hockey fact-checker
 
Iain Fyffe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Fredericton, NB
Country: Canada
Posts: 3,078
vCash: 500
In their Hockey Compendium, Jeff Klein and Karl-Eric Reif suggested that changes in scoring levels are inextricably linked to the quality of play in the league. As the quality goes up, the scoring goes down. There are cases that this is true (see World War II for example), but it's too simplistic to say that it's a general rule. It does not take into consideration styles of play, which as mentioned above can have a great effect on the scoring in the league.

Iain Fyffe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
07-04-2014, 12:26 PM
  #6
TheDevilMadeMe
Global Moderator
 
TheDevilMadeMe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Brooklyn
Country: United States
Posts: 42,733
vCash: 500
Some more educated guesses:

1) This is a bigger guess than the others, but I think that coaching strategies developed a ton in the 1920s, and with no forward pass, good coaching strategies were able to stiffle offense. Before the 20s, players just played without really following a system. Also, in the 1920s, it became legal for goaltenders to leave their feet to stop shots.

2) Iain basically covered this - there was NO offsides rule for the first 1/3 of the season or so, so cherrypicking galore. Even after adding an offsides rule (no passing the puck forward between zones), it still seemed to take the rest of the year for defenses to adapt.

3) Late 50s rise in scoring: Mostly copycat effect. Heading into the 1950s, all the best coaches tended to emphasize defensive play to at least some extent. Then, in the 1950s, the two best teams by far (Detroit and Montreal) were also the two most offensive-minded. Copycat effect. By the 1960s, you basically had Chicago as a run-and-gun team (or at least as close to run-and-gun as you could get in the Original 6). Copycat effect combined with only a few teams, so changes in one team would have a pretty big effect on leaguewide scoring.

4) Mid 70s increase: Crappy expansion teams needed to attract fans, so defense went out the window.

5) Late 70s-early 80s increase: The influx of European scoring talent and east-west passing strategies, without bringing over European defensive systems like the left wing lock. And yes, Glen Sather's Oilers were pioneers of combining the European East-West game with the traditional North American game.

6) I tend to agree that the NHL was deepest in the first generation after the fall of the Iron Curtain - basically, the mid-late 90s. Not only is there a KHL now, but there is also no state emphasis on developing players like there was in the USSR.

TheDevilMadeMe is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
07-04-2014, 12:38 PM
  #7
Killion
Global Moderator
 
Killion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Casablanca
Country: Morocco
Posts: 25,152
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
And yes, Glen Sather's Oilers were pioneers of combining the European East-West game with the traditional North American game.
Indeed. Orr followed by Salmings arrival who proved definitively that Euro's more than capable of holding their own, ascendancy of the Firewagon Canadiens (putting an end to the Flyers reign of terror & overt violence that had hijacked the game) contemporaneous to the Hedberg-Nilsson-Hull line, Gretzky's arrival. Really cranked that whole philosophy & approach to the game up several notches. Sather just let them go pretty much. Unharnessed.

Killion is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
07-04-2014, 12:53 PM
  #8
TheDevilMadeMe
Global Moderator
 
TheDevilMadeMe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Brooklyn
Country: United States
Posts: 42,733
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Indeed. Orr followed by Salmings arrival who proved definitively that Euro's more than capable of holding their own, ascendancy of the Firewagon Canadiens (putting an end to the Flyers reign of terror & overt violence that had hijacked the game) contemporaneous to the Hedberg-Nilsson-Hull line, Gretzky's arrival. Really cranked that whole philosophy & approach to the game up several notches. Sather just let them go pretty much. Unharnessed.
Right. The Bobby Orr influence on defensemen certainly was a factor in increasing scoring.

TheDevilMadeMe is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
07-06-2014, 04:37 PM
  #9
Randomtask68
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Burlington, MA
Country: United States
Posts: 485
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
In their Hockey Compendium, Jeff Klein and Karl-Eric Reif suggested that changes in scoring levels are inextricably linked to the quality of play in the league. As the quality goes up, the scoring goes down. There are cases that this is true (see World War II for example), but it's too simplistic to say that it's a general rule. It does not take into consideration styles of play, which as mentioned above can have a great effect on the scoring in the league.
To continue on this thought, where would the post 2005 lockout NHL compare to other eras in terms of quality of players in the league? It seems like there is a decent amount of talent overseas in leagues like the KHL that would be in the NHL if the KHL wasn't as big, like a Kovalchuk or Radulov. In other words, out of the NHL level talent readily available around the world, how much is in the NHL and how does that impact scoring?


Last edited by Randomtask68: 07-06-2014 at 04:51 PM.
Randomtask68 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
07-06-2014, 07:29 PM
  #10
BraveCanadian
Registered User
 
BraveCanadian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Country: Canada
Posts: 9,313
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
5) Late 70s-early 80s increase: The influx of European scoring talent and east-west passing strategies, without bringing over European defensive systems like the left wing lock. And yes, Glen Sather's Oilers were pioneers of combining the European East-West game with the traditional North American game.
I think this general movement along with Bobby Orr setting defensemen loose again in the modern game is a huge factor.

The east-west movement and defensemen coming late (or leading!) on the rush must have been a nightmare for goaltenders in 70s-80s equipment requiring them to stand up the majority of the time and make saves... the alternative was soaking their pads and then trying to make reflexive saves with weights on..

You can also count me in the group that thinks the league hit an apex in the 90s (at some point) when there was a full influx of players from across the pond and no real competing top league.

BraveCanadian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
07-09-2014, 09:05 PM
  #11
Jarko2004
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Vancouver Island
Posts: 846
vCash: 500
The whole point of padding in any sport is protection. Goalie Equipment is the reason for scoring decline in the last 20 years (not rubbish such as influx of European scoring talent).

If leg padding is bigger than the width of your legs, it's not protection, it's a handicap. It's the equivalent of putting sand bags on the goal line.

Having said that, I think one of the things that make a game like lacrosse less compelling is the lack of value and climatic nature of a single goal.

Jarko2004 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
07-10-2014, 12:08 AM
  #12
The Panther
Registered User
 
The Panther's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Country: Japan
Posts: 1,839
vCash: 500
Traditionally, goalies were usually small, weren't they?

I could never figure out why it took 90 years for NHL managers to realize that it would be a good idea to get physically bigger goalies.

The Panther is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
07-10-2014, 12:25 PM
  #13
Killion
Global Moderator
 
Killion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Casablanca
Country: Morocco
Posts: 25,152
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Panther View Post
Traditionally, goalies were usually small, weren't they?... I could never figure out why it took 90 years for NHL managers to realize that it would be a good idea to get physically bigger goalies.
Generally speaking yes, yes they were. Some smaller, most about average height though. The answer to your question is fairly complex, but essentially you need to look at and understand how the games evolved over the last 90 years in order to understand how the game was played. Goaltending played in reaction to the play out front which for the first half of the 20th Century was on the down-low. You just didnt have a tonne of rising or raised shots. The game played pretty much all scramble out front followed by Lane Hockey, North South. I understand where your coming from in that playing the law of averages youd think a big guy would have been more effective. Puck would just hit him. That wasnt, isnt the case. Theres a real science & art to playing the position and up until about 20yrs ago size didnt matter nearly as much and in fact back in the day, dying years of the 06 era, taller goalies actually at somewhat of a disadvantage as the position was played acrobatically. There are a considerable number of very important additional factors involved so its a long story really. But through the early years of Expansion & the Stand~Up era until about 1990 size wasnt the all determining factor to the extent that its become today with the Butterfly.

Killion is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
07-18-2014, 11:35 PM
  #14
Randomtask68
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Burlington, MA
Country: United States
Posts: 485
vCash: 500
Does anyone think that the increased usage of advanced stats will have an impact on league scoring one way or the other?

Randomtask68 is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Forum Jump


Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:04 PM.

monitoring_string = "e4251c93e2ba248d29da988d93bf5144"
Contact Us - HFBoards - Archive - Privacy Statement - Terms of Use - Advertise - Top - AdChoices

vBulletin Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
HFBoards.com is a property of CraveOnline Media, LLC, an Evolve Media, LLC company. 2015 All Rights Reserved.