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Saturday February 27, 2010 10:42 pm

Should the NHL adopt the Olympic style?




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Championship, NHL, Olympics,

Olympic HokceyWith one game left in the Olympic hockey tournament, it’s probably safe to say that we as fans are hungry for more of the Olympic style. The tournament in Vancouver over the past two weeks has shown us competitive game after competitive game, regardless of who the puck was dropping between, with fewer duds than anybody could have expected. We’ve seen upsets, comebacks, overtimes, and everything in between, and all of it without many of the things that plague the everyday NHL.

The most important change is the fighting. There are no goons in Olympic hockey. Dropping the gloves to energize a team does not exist. In its place are the big hits and the stretch passes. With all of the talk in the last year about fighting in hockey, these Olympics have proved that you can keep the aggression and the big contact in the game without needing to resort to fisticuffs, and that’s a message that needs to be received by the NHL.

One of the smallest changes comes behind the goal line. No touch icing has saved players from running each other into the boards after a mad sprint to an errant puck, and not only is that saving even just a few seconds per game, it’s eliminating the risk of unnecessary injury. Also absent is the trapezoid era that prevents NHL goalies from playing the puck in the corners. Goalies have more freedom to handle the puck, and that makes for far more exciting play behind the net.

This is hockey at its finest. For the past two weeks, we’ve seen what could be the future of the sport. The smaller ice surface is what the majority of the players in this tournament are used to, and it has served as a great equalizer between the teams and shown the world that you don’t need a 98-foot width to have a fast game. And with all the talk about will the NHL be a part of the Olympics in 2014, maybe we should start asking if the Olympic style should become part of the NHL?

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