31 October 2012

The Political Debates of Hockey: Two Issues on which I am moderate

This being a presidential election year, politics are at the forefront of the minds of many (myself included, which is depressing when you think about it.)  I do try and keep my personal beliefs on the politics of politics out of my hockey blog.  However, there is no denying there are a lot of controversial issues in the NHL that can be political in nature.  And we’re in the middle of the 3rd lockout in 18 years to prove it.  This is the first of a four part series this week, where I share my NHL political beliefs.  Please leave your comments.

Today’s installment: Two Issues on which I am moderate.
For the purposes of this piece, I am defining my opinion as moderate if I do not have a strong opinion one way or another, even if many in the hockey community find the issue controversial.

Franchise Expansion

The populist opinion is that the league over expanded at the end of the 90s and diluted the talent pool.  While I generally agree with that sentiment, I think the growth of the youth game in America will mean that issue will take care of itself.  The players are getting better and faster every year and I think the talent pool will grow into the size of the league.  And unless you root for Columbus or Toronto, your favorite team probably won’t be terrible forever in a salary cap league.

I don’t think the league should push for any more teams until the end of the decade, but I don’t think two more would be the end of the world either.  There are worthy markets in both the United States and Canada.

The Trapezoid

The populist opinion on the trapezoid is that it is a mean way to reduce the goaltenders ability to handle the puck.  When it first started (I was watching AHL) hockey I actually liked it.  Restricting the goaltenders made dump-and-chase a lot more interesting.  There was emphasis on forechecking, and defenders suddenly had to be quick going back into their own end.

To a point, I understand why New Jersey Devils fans take this personally, sarcastically referring to it as the “Marty Brodeur” rule as he is the goaltender that revolutionized puck handling.

I also understand a counterargument that this rule causes goaltenders to take less risk, but I think that in general, goaltenders  very seldom make errors in when to leave the net at the NHL level.

I guess I’m still in favor of the trapezoid, which I know puts me in the minority of opinion, but it probably wouldn’t change my feelings about the game a ton if it disappears in the near future.

Well that was two issues I don’t feel too strongly about, but State of Hockey, what say you?

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