Shot blocking is a huge part of the game now.  Does is slow the game up and does it reduce the amount of goals scored?  Now the big question?  Should it be banned?  I did not think that this was even feasible or even a topic of discussion until I read a very interesting article in the recent issue of The Hockey News (Feb. 20, 2012/Vol 65 No18).  The article was written by Adam Proteau and titled Stop, Drop and Roll Your Eyes.  The article basically described that shot blocking has strangled the creativity of hockey and limited goals to the point that something needs to be done.  It was suggested in the article that it be a penalty to leave your feet (lay down) to block a shot.  The thought being that this would allow more pucks to reach the net and intern result in more goals.  It was a very interesting article and it got me thinking.

I agree that it does take away shots to the net and intern scoring chances, but so does back checking hard and taking the puck away from the opponent.  Should we make that a penalty?  I get frustrated with knee jerk reactions to the way the game is played.  We cannot continue to change the rules every time we think something is limiting scoring.  Hockey is a great game the way it is, stop with the constant talk about changing things.  I do agree that the game will evolve and changes will need  be made as the years move on, but rule changes in the NHL are all too frequent.  The thought of making it a penalty to go down block a shot is crazy.  This is one aspect of hockey that we teach our young players.  I understand that some fans want more scoring, but the fact is not all fans feel that this is the most important topic to be looking at.  I feel that a great 2-1 game is just as exciting as a 7-5 game.  The low scoring game is usually a much better played game, and is usually much more mistake free.  If scoring goals is the only thing that makes hockey exciting than numerous rules should be changed.  Everyone should be happy with how exciting the game of hockey is, and leave the rules alone.  The amount of blocked shots continues to rise in the NHL and I would guess that it will level out.  Coaches will also design methods to limit blocked shots, such as shooting wide and getting end board rebounds or passing the puck down low and cycling more in the offensive zone.  Shot blocking is an important part of the game, and needs to be looked at as a great courageous defensive play.

 

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