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Contraction (06/03/03) --I hoped it was an off-the-cuff remark. I hoped that it was joke. I hoped that he was loaded at the time and wasn’t thinking coherently. I hoped it was anything but truth coming from his mouth. After slashing in half the goal crease, cracking down on obstruction (Yeah right), and requiring each team to have a nun at Defenseman, the NHL has finally gone off the deep end.
They want to widen the goal mouth.
The fundamental problem isn’t with the game of hockey; the fundamental problem is that people don’t care about hockey. As a follower of the game myself, I hate to say that, but it’s true. But rather than work to market the incredible atmosphere of the playoffs, the amazing skills of the players, or the personalities of its stars, the National Hockey League has decided that the end-all cure is to make the net bigger.
See this? Know what this is, Gary Bettman? It’s a clue; go get one.
The more you think about this idea, the more ludicrous you realize it is. First of all, goaltenders are being punished for being at the top of their game. The goalies now that are the backbones of their team will now be the scapegoats of their team as their kick save attempts will come up a foot short. And that fourth line left winger who scores five goals a year will now have twenty. Hey, someone pull Tony Twist out of retirement. He may actually score a goal now.
If this proposal were to go through, you would sabotage nearly every stat category in the game of hockey. The goalies now that are working on stellar career marks are going to have disastrous seasons as they give up five goals a night. Martin Brodeur will have 5.88 Goals Against Average next season and Sergei will hardly have to work his Krivokrasov to net fifty goals.
“Sure,” Bettman theoretically counters, “But you must realize that these goalies are armored like Barry Bonds. The net needs to expand with the equipment.”
Right. So rather than actually take care of the true problem (Assuming it even exists) by regulating equipment, we’ll make radical changes to the game. Rather than arrest the bank robber, we close the bank so that the problem doesn't happen anymore. Rather than arrest J.R. Rider, we arrest his drug dealer so....well, that's not such a good example. But this guy is looking more and more like the NBA transplant he is every day.
“But it’s not the goalies, it’s the systems. We’ll widen the net to eliminate defensive styles of play.”
Again, rather than outlaw the neutral zone trap or limit forechecking, we instead widen the goal mouth. Genius.
Bettman, you’ve lost it. You really have. This is a ridiculous proposal that I never thought would come out of your mouth. Look, if you think a radical move is going to bring in the fans, then this is most definitely not the right one. Nobody is going to say, “Whoa, the goal is two feet wider. I’m buying season tickets!” But they may say, “Whoa, the Islanders have a midget playing goalie, I’m buying season tickets!”
That’s right, Gary, rather than expand the nets, just shrink the goalies! This will for sure have people watching and talking. Set height restrictions so that the goaltender can be no more than half as tall as the net without skates. Think of the potential!