2002-02-23 / Sports

Metro Hockey Update: The Olympic Edition

By Andrei Petrovitch

Metro Hockey Update:

The Olympic Edition!
By Andrei Petrovitch

Hey, Commissioner Bettman… Take Notes!

Be honest: Olympic hockey is more exciting than NHL hockey. There is more artistry, more back and forth action, and way more scoring chances. The larger Olympic ice surface allows talented players to show off their creativity, while simultaneously preventing teams from engaging in the clutch-and-grab play that has tarnished the NHL for the last decade. Unfortunately, installing larger ice surfaces is impractical and expensive for many of the league's 30 franchises. However, there is another difference in the international game that can be implemented.

Under the current NHL rules, it is illegal to pass the puck across two lines (from behind either blue line to anywhere past the red line). However, such passes are legal in the Olympics, and the results have led to greater offense.

Want proof? Simply look at an Olympic box score. Such a rule change would allow superior playmakers such as Adam Oates, Mario Lemieux, and Joe Sakic to execute daring breakout passes to wingers skating on breakaways. The game would open up a LOT more, as it would be impossible for teams to implement stifling trap defenses. And just think of the scoring chances!!!

Sound nice, right? Sure it does. But many of the team general managers around the league are traditionalists by nature and are usually reluctant to make such drastic rule changes. Yet, such a rule change could give the stagnant sport of hockey a much-needed boost.

It's time for the National Hockey League to abandon the hard-line conservative thinking that has prevented the sport from catching on in America. It's time to make the game more exciting to watch. It's time to allow the star players to show off their talents and attract a larger audience.

It's time to get rid of the red line.

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