Did the World Cup of Hockey Increase NHL Scoring?
Holding a stage it when we feel like it tournament in the pre-season produces the usual assortment of opinions.
- The NHL suits liked what they saw;
- Puckheads thought it was flawed but fun;
- Analysts wondered what it all meant; and
- Critics complained because ... well, because.
Then there's the players who participated. They're coming to a more definitive conclusion.
Dudes showed up in mid-season form. Almost 200 of them.
Could this be a reason scoring in the regular season is significantly higher?
Right now, the NHL is seeing an average of almost six goals scored per game.
That's almost like a return to the run-&-gun '80s when Wayne Gretzkyand the Edmonton Oilers were scorching the nets.
It's like everyone on skates watched Team North America and wanted in on the action.
It doesn't hurt that many in that crew picked right up in the regular grind where they left off in the showcase.
And yes, two weeks into the proceedings isn't a large sample size. Early injuries have seen a surfeit of backup goalies between the pipes. Referees are doing their usual set-the-tone rules crackdown.
But speed and skill are being flashed in greater quantities. Physicality is down because it's hard to hit what can't be caught. More stickwork involves pucks instead of bodies. Wide-open ice is everywhere.
Still, how long can this last? If this is mid-season form, what are games gonna look like in December?
But that's for then. Enjoy the goalfest now.
Speaking of resembling the old days, remember Mike Legg of Michigan and his behind-the-net, lift-and-separate goal?
When you've got it, you've got it.
Open ice is Zeitgeist.