When I wrote this a little over a couple weeks ago, it was because I thought that it is an interesting question. The struggle between the two "poles" of hockey at the NHL level is nothing new. There have always been big teams that playe...
When I wrote this a little over a couple weeks ago, it was because I thought that it is an interesting question. The struggle between the two "poles" of hockey at the NHL level is nothing new. There have always been big teams that played big ( and some that played the skill game regardless of their size! ), and teams built more on skill.
The big mean team archtype have always kind of smirked at those of us that enjoy an up tempo game. They know what everyone is certainly seeing play out in front of their very eyes during these playoffs when it comes to what is and isn't a penalty in the regular season, as opposed to the playoffs.
But, some of us got fooled. Me, Mike Gillis, and fans of the beauty of the game ( don't get me wrong. I love the "brawn" of the game. My favorite thing to do as a youngin' playing the game was to deliver a perfect hit! I just love the beauty of the game a bit more now...) all thought that, coming out of the 2004 lockout, that the new rule changes would make for a certain type of hockey. One exemplified by the Wonder Twins, Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
The NHL, in 2004, changes how the game was being called, and rewarded speed and skill. Power plays that were successful, in part because they were getting more than a couple chances at it a game, we're becoming more important. I honestly don't remember the playoffs in the intervening years between then and now being any less entertaining as a result.
But, defensemen were getting their brains scrambled at an alarming rate, and something, rightly, had to be done. Instead of still calling the rules of interference, that one change, of allowing defensemen and forwards to slightly hold up the onrushing forechecker at the blue line again, soon became full on, both hands out checks. As each round goes forward in the playoffs, just watch what doesn't get called at the blue lines. The rest is all attitude, size, defensive zeal Skilled size guys are the new "must have players" .
Don't get me wrong. Skill is still important. It just seems that instead of highlighting Sedinery, the NHL decided that the hitting and violence should share the spotlight. I get that. I love both. But surely there is a way to call the game where they can actually call interference AND prevent the epidemic of concussions that were happening because of the out of lockout rule changes. You had a great idea NHL. The hockey was spectacular. Don't throw out the baby with the entertaining bath water.
As evidenced by our GM's comments on the game,how it is played and called, and the changes that are required, and without trying to pat myself on the back ( and ending up spraining myself somehow anyhow! )... it seems apparent that me and the boss have been thinking similar thoughts. You cannot imagine the excitement that has engendered in this fan moving forward. Why? Because it sure sounds like the Canucks are going to start playing and building with the Big Boy Hockey idea in mind. In light of the recent results, rule changes brought in and then changed, and simply the way the game is called in the second season, if you can't beat em, join em!
First up is the coach. Most of the readers here at least know that I was and am a fan of Alain Vigneault. Although I totally agree with the move yesterday, as the time had come, and the message had seemingly grown "stale" ( not to mention two first round exits. In the end, it is a results business ), I do think there might be a coach or two out there that might fit the mold better. As the "process" moves forward, we can get into that, but I imagine they will wait a bit until teams start losing out and consider dumping their own highly regarded coaches.
For now, let me just list a few of the current coaches that play "Big Boy Hockey" to some degree. Remember, it does vary. One of the most successful teams this year is the Pittsburgh Penguins, and they definitely play a hybrid of the two solitudes. ( the kind of game