January 15, 2007

Evolution of the NHL: Goaltenders were the first to benefit from a major rule change. Prior to the 1917-18 season, the rules were changed to allow goaltenders to fall to the ice to make a save. Previously they had been penalized for such action. Since then, most rule changes were implemented to increase scoring.

posted by MrFrisby to hockey at 02:53 PM - 17 comments

I think the most recent rule changes that have made the league faster and more entertaining are great. I've never been much of a fan until this year, but man, it's a blast.

posted by carolinared at 06:45 PM on January 15, 2007

Quoting the article: "The fact is, scoring goes up, and scoring goes down. When the players figure out a set of rules, historically the NHL has stepped in to open things up and keep the game fresh. Will the players eventually figure these rules out? Probably. : That probably says it best!!

posted by nymetsfan at 08:51 PM on January 15, 2007

I agree almost 100% with you, nymetsfan, but I think it it would be more accurate to say, "When the coaches and players figure out a set of rules..." I just can't imagine what a hockey game would be like when the goalies can't go down to make a save. It's a shame that there is no footage from that era.

posted by MrFrisby at 09:45 PM on January 15, 2007

I'm not sure I could imagine it either, but unlike you, frisby, I don't want to imagine such a travesty. No I'm not dissin' you because different people have different tastes, and mine are with watching the goalies make those acrobatic saves these days. I love that stuff.

posted by hellamarine at 11:07 PM on January 15, 2007

That would be nice to see, MrFrisby. Although, when I'm watching footage of the 'before the mask' era, my face starts cramping. Those goalies had a lot of balls to do that sort of thing. As far as the change in the goalie equipment, I'm all for it as long as the goalie is still protected. With the technology we have today, I don't see that as a problem.

posted by wingnut4life at 12:50 AM on January 16, 2007

No matter how good the equipment is it still stings when you get hit by a good slap shot..LOL..Their are still a lot of unprotected areas, I do think that the elimination of the "illegal" 2 line pass has opened the game up, I would like to see something done about the 400 icing calls a game (I know it's not that many..but sometimes it seems so) I think it would help with the flow of the game.

posted by Oasis at 08:16 AM on January 16, 2007

Goalies may no longer benefit from rules-changes, but they sure do benefit from technology. I was amazed when, several years ago, I saw footage of the first Cup victories for The Islanders in the early 80s, and couldn't believe how small Billy Smith looked. Especially in the blocker and glove. I've heard stories about how back in the 60s and 70s, goalies wouldn't really practice too hard since their pads would get water-logged and weigh 20 pounds each by the end of a session (same in a game). Now these huge pillows they strap to their legs are water-proof and weigh an astounding 5-6 pounds. So goalies go up and down, up and down with ease in the First or in the Third. And the gloves and blockers are the size of small children. No wonder it's a game of goalies (not to mention what I believe to be a fact - that there is no more important single role in team sports than that of hockey goalie. No other position - be it pitcher, clean-up hitter, QB or other can have a bigger impact on a team's success than a goalie). League offense almost doubled from the 1928-29 season to the 1929-30 season: leading scorer Ace Bailey had 32 points in 1929. His successor, leading scorer Cooney Weiland had 73 points in 1930. Ace and Cooney? We're a colourful people.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:18 AM on January 16, 2007

The NHL actually had two Ace Baileys. The Bruins one died on September 11th.

posted by yerfatma at 09:08 AM on January 16, 2007

The original Ace Bailey was nearly killed on the ice by Eddie Shore. Old-time hockey. I knew of the Ace Baileys but had never heard of good ol' Cooney before. The Ace Bailey killed on Sept. 11 was one of Wayne Gretzky's original teammates when he made the NHL in 1979. Gretzky told some good Ace Bailey stories in his book. One about Ace getting hammered and trying to get into his house only to find his keys not working. So he tries to break in through the garage only to find that it wasn't his house. The cops told him after the terrified couple huddling inside called them. Apparently he was a fun dude. But it sure isn't lucky to be called Ace Bailey and play in the NHL.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:24 AM on January 16, 2007

I agree Weedy, the goalie is the most important position in sports. I mean, you could have all-stars at every position except for in goal, and if that guy's average, you're not going to win a lot. However, if you put an all-star in goal and surround him with average talent, you can still have a shot at the cup.

posted by hellamarine at 09:37 AM on January 16, 2007

I purpose a new rule; a goalie with no special pads, only a stick (normal size) and a glove, in front of a lacrosse sized net. That would be good.

posted by Psycho at 10:06 AM on January 16, 2007

Okay, and I propose the players have to run on the ice in sneakers and kick the puck with their feet. Am I the only one who thinks low scoring hockey is exciting?

posted by hellamarine at 12:13 PM on January 16, 2007

You definitely are not. There is so much more heart poured out on the ice in a low-scoring affair. One of the greatest game's I've ever seen was a Detroit- St. Louis game in the playoffs in the early 90's (94, I think.) The emotion in that game until Stevie Y scored in double OT to seal the 1-0 win is completely unmatched in todays's 10-goal affairs. Oh, and psycho, let me see you get in front of a Rob Blake slapper with no special pads!

posted by tahoemoj at 01:06 PM on January 16, 2007

I agree, 'cause I think the three best games I've ever watched was game 6 between the Stars and Sabres. Man, the saves Hasek and Belfour were making in that game were just incredible. And then game 6 and 7 the following year with Belfour and Brodeur. Holy Crap! Oh, the St. Louis vs. Detroit game was great too. There have also been some Detroit vs. Colorado games that rank pretty high as well. Especially after the Claude Lemieux-Chris Draper incident.

posted by hellamarine at 01:20 PM on January 16, 2007

I just can't imagine what a hockey game would be like when the goalies can't go down to make a save. Until pretty well into the 70's the phrase "stand-up goaltender" was considered a compliment to one's style. The theory was that by standing up, the goalie retained his mobility and was able to cover more of the net. He was also more likely to be able to control the direction of rebounds from his stick and skates. hellamarine, you have it right. The important things are flow of the game, the important saves, clever plays, and solid defense. I almost think that a surfeit of scoring detracts from a good game at times.

posted by Howard_T at 02:53 PM on January 16, 2007

anyone remember clint malarchuk??? ....search his name on youtube, youll see a ridiculous goalie vid.

posted by nymetsfan at 04:06 PM on January 16, 2007

Well said, Howard. Btw, do you remember the Vancouver run at the cup with Bure vs. the Rangers ('93 -'94, I think)? I can't remember if it was even the Stanley Cup finals anymore for sure, but I still remember McLean being pulled and while he was leaving the ice, the puck being turned over. When he turned and dove, making the save, I swear, I came out of my seat. It may well be the greatest save I have ever witnessed. Awesome!

posted by hellamarine at 05:12 PM on January 16, 2007

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