There is no one reason for the great play and results, but most will point to the new rules and the determined effort to call obstruction.
This is mostly true, but there are still a few new rules that really frustrate me.
The first is the shootout. I have never liked shootouts. This isn’t just some epiphany I had after Toronto’s two “losses” to Ottawa. It sure helps my dislike for them, as do the 1994 and 1998 Winter Olympics, but it’s bigger than that.
Hockey is a team game, and quite simply, a shootout totally takes away from the team aspect. After two equally matched teams battle for 65 minutes, going back and forth, using and relying on their teammates, what’s the point in all of a sudden making it a one-on-one battle?
The shootout simply seems like a gimmick. The NHL brass is hoping casual fans will run to their TVs when someone yells “shootout!” But at the same time, they’re only using it during the regular season. I’m confused.
This is supposed to be the NHL’s way of attracting new fans, but what kind of message is it sending when all of a sudden shootouts stop come playoff time?
It seems like the league believes shootouts are fine during the regular season, but in the playoffs when the games really count, it’s not good enough. This seems ridiculous, but at the same time, I’m thankful for it. I hope I’m long gone and six-feet-under the day game seven of the Stanley Cup final is decided by a shootout.
There are a couple other little changes I’m not really keen on. I don’t like the rule prohibiting players from shooting the puck over the glass in their defensive zone. It’s OK for goalies, but not a defenceman who is merely trying to clear the puck. They rarely do it on purpose, and now that icing nullifies the chance to change lines, defencemen need a break. As with any rule new or old, the referees should use a little judgment.