Friday, July 25, 2008

High or Low?

When it comes to the NHL, one of the things that alot (or at least it seems like alot) of people want is high scoring games. Talk about enlarging goal nets and shrinking goalie pads could easily be mistaken for a bad Viagra commercial. 
For me, the best kind of game is low scoring. When two goaltenders are playing absolutely incredible, stopping every shot that comes their way, it is like a chess game. It makes teams have to think of different ways to beat the goaltender other than just getting a simple shot on goal. 
Defenses are constantly adjusting to the different strategies that offenses are employing. In essence, these low scoring games become chess matches because 1 goal is going to decide things.
Lets look at the playoffs. For the most part, playoff games are tense, exciting, and have a caliber of play that separates it from the regular season. But if you look at most playoff games, they are low scoring. Only 2 times in this past Stanley Cup final did a team surpass 4 goals in a game. In fact, 38 times in the past post season did the winning team score 3 goals or less in the game. That is just under 45% of all post season games. 
The reason the playoffs are the most exciting is because they are chess matches in which play with the puck is just as important as play with the puck. When teams are scoring 5 goals apiece, it all comes down to whoever scored last (Yes that is usually the case anyway). 
But with 1-0, 2-1. 3-2 type games, the excitement level comes out and you sit on the edge of your seat. It is those types of games that show true team work because they aren't just trying to score goals like in 5-4, 6-5 type games. They are trying to hold their opposition down while trying to break through the intricate play of their defense or the brick wall that their goaltender has built in net.  
In a nut shell, a low scoring game takes much more perseverance and determination to win. You have to outplay your opponent in every zone, not just the offensive. Defense and neutral zone play are just as, if not, more important than offense in low scoring games. 
Remember, less is more. 

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