No sport seems more at war with its playing surface than hockey.
The players get bigger and faster. Coaching keeps getting smarter, deeper and tech-enhanced. Yet the rink remains 200'x 85'. And because of this scoring, offense, and creativity is suffering.
So what should be the strategy to counter this? Make the rink bigger? Not gonna happen, those seats with fannies in them are the lifeblood of the individual teams. OK, what if they eliminated a player per side and played four on four?
Noted stick and puck sorcerer, Mike Ribeiro is in my camp on this and I'm-a go ahead and say many of his ilk would concur.
If this radical change were to be implemented me thinks the impact on the game would be both positive and profound.
-- Reduction of shot blocking, which has replaced 'obstruction' as the games' worst enemy
-- More man on man play, less zone
-- Neutral zone would become a speed zone, driving the pace of games.
-- Goaltenders would have to make more saves rather than just block area. And puck moving goaltenders would be absolute necessities.
-- Defensemen would be involved in attack more
-- Powerplays would return to scoring 'skill goals' instead of the current ratio of 15% skill, 85% 'ugly' or accidental goals
-- Players on roster would be reduced. Think 10 forwards and 6 defensemen (As it was in 1960-61)
-- Limited-skill, so called "energy" players would be eliminated
-- Fighting would all but be eradicated
-- Scores would be higher = more in-arena celebrations
-- Hitting would be different and most likely, reduced
-- Concussions would be reduced. I repeat, concussions would be reduced
-- Broken bone injuries would be trimmed.
Razor has spoken.
The Boy is calling for this.
Go with Razor.