The never-ending struggle in the NHL is the search for more scoring. I was thinking about it the other night and horrified myself with an idea.
The easy answer for the problem, but the one fought hardest by traditionalists (myself included), is to increase the size of the nets. Suddenly pucks that were once shot wide will become goals and scoring has increased.
“But wait!” we cry. “That doesn’t actually make the game more exciting, it just artificially inflates the number of goals!”
Alright, then how do we make the game more exciting?
Well, the most recent way is three-on-three overtime. Though teams have adapted since its adoption to limit its impact, with only three players per side out there, man-on-man coverage is more necessary. It’s easier for one defender to lose his man and an odd-man situation to develop, creating a scoring chance.
My horrible idea is to take this a step further: Only allow defensemen into their own zone.
Even if the offense only sends two forwards in (keeping three skaters back to counter the opposing three forwards not allowed into the zone), they’re facing the same man-to-man coverage seen at three-on-three and all it takes is one guy to shake his defender. If they send all of their forwards, it’s automatically an odd-man situation. Or maybe they’re really gutsy, they send all five skaters in, and pray it doesn’t turn into a three-on-none against them (and we’ve got scoring chances at either end of the ice, so, hey, go for it).
This is a horrible idea. Thankfully, there’s no indication that anyone, anywhere, is seriously proposing it. It would fundamentally change what hockey is. But if we’re truly considering everything…