The NHL Needs to Make a Change!

02-24-2016

The three-point line was introduced to the National Basketball Association during the 1979-1980 season, and the rest is history. (1) Basketball became a more open and transitional game due to the line’s existence and despite the early criticism (and sustained criticism from basketball purists), the added paint on the court has made for a better and less predictable game.

The three-point line allows for teams to stay in games longer with the added opportunity to make up for late game deficits as seen in numerous variations, which probably is the greatest bright side to the three-point line. Other than the added notion of anything can happen, the three adds hope for players that have greater shot range even if they’re smaller sized in the big man ruled world of the NBA. The three opens up the court from suffocating defenses and allows those previously mentioned big men to breathe, allowing for more variations to score more efficient buckets closer to the hoop as well.

Still, the best bright side to the extra point shot is the allure of the added points both players and teams benefit from with an added three-pointer. One of the setbacks of the three is the difficulty in finding efficient sharpshooters from beyond the arc, but when they are discovered they are adored.

Quarter century later and its probably safe to assume that the three-point line has cemented its legacy in the NBA. It changes up the same old story of 2+2+2+2+2+2=12, to be cut nearly in half with 3+3+3+3, allowing the procrastination of a built up deficit a team has allowed to be easily made up.

The other night, the St. Louis Blues took on the San José Sharks in an NHL Western Conference showdown that the Sharks went onto win 6-3. (2) In that game, seven of the nine scored goals were within a sticks distance from the crease of the goal. Sharks forward, Tomas Hertl added two goals in the first period off of point blank ricochets rebounding  from the Blue’s goalie. The ways teams are looking to score is by causing chaos in front of the net and hoping for odd bounces, kind of like when down-low offense dominated the NBA. The game is more predictable and needs a change or maybe just an addition.

In Monday’s game, the Blues found themselves down 3-1 after the first period. Personally as an at home spectator I tuned out thinking the chance for a comeback was a long shot. However, maybe that’s the cure this spectator and this game needs… the temptation of a long shot!

The Blues exchanged goals for goals with the Sharks to make the score 5-3 halfway into the third period. Even though, the NHL allows for the craziest of outcomes late in games it was hard to feel that St. Louis would get back in the game. However, the Blue’s third goal was scored from a shot beyond the Shark’s defensive face-off circles. Now, let’s say that there was a line after the face-off circles that ran to the blue line that we called the two-point zone that had a rule that said if a is shot from this area and goes in untouched by a shooter’s teammate it is worth two points!

BOOM, THERE’S YOUR NBA THREE-POINT LINE CREATED!

Take our game of dissection for example. Suddenly, thanks to Jay Bouwmeester’s distance shot St. Louis only trails 5-4. Now, any second with the right shot from the right location of the ice and the Blues could have completely came back to take the lead!

The games would be more hectic, the ricochet goals would exist equally. The style of goals would flourish, and create a plethora of highlights with slap-shot style goals. Suddenly, Fulton Reed (The Mighty Ducks) power shooters have added value and the nose for the goal/trash men are less necessary. The game would be implementing a major style change, but that’s not an all around bad thing.

Of course with all change there will be a connection to controversy. Hockey purist will certainly have some hesitation to adding a two-point zone. The belief will be that the two-point shots will be ruining the game and the idea that a two point shot diminishes the glory of the goal. Just keep in mind purist out there, they said the same thing about the NBA three-point addition.

It’s been 26 years since Kevin Grevey knocked down the first trey of the NBA, and I don’t think the bonus shot has any lack of life in the future. (1) It’s time the NHL follows in basketball’s trail to the town of scoring changes, otherwise you can plan on even more at home spectators tuning out after quick first period leads.

Sources:

  1. http://americansportshistory.com/2014/02/13/the-history-of-the-three-point-line-in-the-nba/
  2. http://blues.nhl.com/gamecenter/en/icetracker?id=2015020892

References:

3) Hockey template (picture)

Advertisements