The NHL net could be bigger. How would hockey betting be impacted if the league was to make this happen? This topic is currently getting kicked around at the RealBet water cooler as a lot of talk has been going on about increasing the size of the nets in the NHL. The discussion is certainly heated. Analysts, fans, players, and league officials have battled with contentious views making points for both sides.
Increasing Size of NHL Nets Would Ruin Game – Traditionalist Opinion
Traditionalists oppose the idea of increasing NHL nets claiming it would ruin the integrity of the game and tarnish historical statistics and records. While many on both sides agree that reduced goal scoring is not ideal for the game and the NHL brand, the opposition point to many alternative rule changes that could boost scoring without tampering with net size.
Rule Changes Could Increase Scoring – Goalie Equipment and Icing
Reducing goalie equipment size and shape is one option that has been proposed for years. Other ideas involve repositioning the blue and center lines, or altering icing regulations so as to reduce neutral ice defensive trappings. This would increase speed through the neutral zone which, in theory, would lead to more scoring chances and more goals.
Change Is Good – Just ask Jacques Plante – Goaltending Position Reinvented
But what do we make of sports that resist change and evolution for the sake of tradition and old ideologies? Integrity of the game is vital and there’s no doubt you would find limited opponents of that perspective. But integrity of anything can coexist, and in fact thrive, with change so long as plans are set logically and the future is met with courage and optimism.
Think of hockey prior to 1959 when Jacques Plante first put on a mask. That small but vital change to the game altered the sport forever. Not only was the dynamic of the goaltending position reinvented, the game too was forever enhanced. Change for the sake of change is not beneficial, but when it allows for a better quality of product we would all be remiss for not seeing said change through.
Basketball Instituted Three Point Line – Made Game More Exciting
Take a parallel example from basketball. In 1967 American Basketball Association Commissioner George Mikan took an idea which to that point had only been seen and tested in NCAA college ball: the use of a three-point line. He publicly declared that the three-pointer “would give the smaller player a chance to score and open up the defense to make the game more enjoyable for the fans.” This monumental change, along with the ABA’s marketing focus on the slam dunk, kept their product afloat for years. It took another 12 years for the NBA to institute the same three-point line rule change even though many “traditionalists” still thought of it as a gimmick.
Mikan’s bold change focused on one important imperative – enjoyment for the fans. Essentially this is what it all boils down to. Professional sports are an entertainment business – and you can’t run a business without demand. If your demand drops, business suffers. In this unique situation, the ABA had extra incentive to make bold changes as they struggled to compete with their brand rival, the NBA.
NHL hockey, as far as North American fan bases are concerned, currently does not have such competitive pressures. They can, for the time being, afford to retain the status quo and sheepishly shy away from bold changes. But ask any basketball fan today, 48 years after the ABA took the leap, whether they’d prefer to watch an NBA game without a three point line? You can guess their response, and it would be fascinating to hear what those same traditionalists who called it a gimmick would say about it now.
Now Time For 5-on-5 Changes – Hockey Will Benefit from Increased Scoring / Goals
History celebrates those who make change, not those who were afraid of it. If the NHL wants to increase their demand, extend brand loyalty, and improve their on-ice product, they then need to embrace bold moves and take leaps like others have in the past.
The recent addition of the shootout and this year’s 3-on-3 overtime are bold steps- but they are catalysts to reduce the number of games that end in a tie. It now may be time to have a 5-on-5 regular time catalyst to revitalize the offensive game – which is what people ultimately pay to see.
So if the NHL is serious about seeing an increase in scoring / goals during the first 60 minutes of hockey games, they then need to give full consideration to the long discussed proposition of increasing the size of the goal. It just may be what is needed to ensure that hockey remains a competitive entertainment draw and viable top tier sport.
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