Friday, February 10, 2006

The 'new' NHL

A lot of the knuckle-dragging 'fans' are complaining about the new NHL rules where you cannot assualt with intent to maim any more. These throwbacks to King Kong's ancestors only go for the fights and the blood and bruises. When someone gets knocked out for a few months from a cross check or a slash to the hands, they regard these players as wimps. Their ideal NHL is WWW RAW, or Arnie Shwarzenegger blast 'em to smithereens hockey. They are bullies who love beating up the little guy. They should go off to those caged fights where there's lots of blood. (Even those guys are wimpy because you can't kick a guy in the nuts)
The clutch and grab is leaving NHL hockey, and for the better. No one pays to see it. We pay for a Gretski fake, or Pavel Bure slicing into the slot. We pay to see Mike Bossy's hands, Bobby Hull's slap shot, Bobby Orr's skating, Phil Esposito's quick stick and Serge Savard's spinnerama twists and turns. The new young players coming up in the NHL deserve a chance to show us their chops without being tackled or hooked every time they touch the puck.
I don't think it is a 'no touch' zone in front of the net, it is simply a 'no cross-checking with intent to kill' in front of the net. If a checker wants to knock a guy down that's still ok, but he can't do it with a vicious stick cross check, or by tripping or hooking with the stick or straight assault!
The trick of course is what a lot need to learn, get position and shove the guy away, with hands or shoulders. Look at the games where someone IS in front of the net, they still take a lot of punishment that doesn't have to be career ending. It's all a learning process for everyone. I prefer the speed, finess and yes, rough play of international hockey that doesn't need to have lesser players control the skill players with clutch and grab.
Who can deny that the Canada - Russia series were the finest hockey games ever played? And once we learned that Russian players were no wimps but punishingly hard and effective checkers that complemented their skill and work ethic we were in for our greatest challenge ever. We won because our skill players also had toughness, and smarts!The smarts part is what a lot of defencemen today and others don't always have in the new NHL.
They need to learn or leave for the betterment of the game.
I like the fastest game on ice, the new NHL.

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