Monday, February 09, 2004

Brush up on your math skills in the new NHL

Grab a calculator, take a refresher course in math or check with your local neighbourhood 10 year old, the NHL is toying with the idea of offering up 3 points for a win. Much like English soccer does now, the NHL is thinking that the extra point may help increase offence. The feeling is that teams will be more inclined to "go for it" should there be three points on the line every night.

Some concerns have been brought up about the idea, the three point strategy would make back to back games six point affairs (which in the case of Leafs and Sens could end up putting the Sens out of the playoffs by the time the all star game arrives). If a team got off to a very fast start, they could run away with the division before the rest of the teams could get untracked. So there are downsides to the bigger reward system.

But you'll have an extra year to bone up on your studies (more if the league has a lockout/strike in September) as it's expected the three point win will be tested out on the AHL first.

Other potential rule modifications discussed were the fatter blue lines tested earlier this year in the AHL, elimination of the centre line, making the nets bigger, downsizing the goaltender equipment some more, no touch icing and eliminating the instigator penalty.

It's likely the GM's will vote on whether to bring back tag up offside, which would result in fewer whistles and more flow to game, which would be a welcome addition to state of hockey these days.

The three days of meetings have had the GM's break off into groups, discussing changes and listening to speaker after speaker explain how the game can be made better. One speaker yet to come, should command the largest and most attentive audience. On Tuesday, Scotty Bowman will address the group with what he calls 8 or 9 ideas on how to make the game better. There should be no sleeping in the classroom and hopefully there's a pop quiz right after the lecture, if anyone has ideas on how to make hockey better it must be Scotty Bowman.

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