Sunday, August 29, 2010

Can we please kill the trapezoid?

What is it with the NHL every off-season? Someone in the NHL thinks that by tinkering with the very fabric and integrity of the game every year that these changes could somehow rocket the NHL into being the number one sports league in the universe... not just world, I said universe. So to this end somewhere right this very moment, there sits a room full of old hockey guys. And it's these guys jobs to get little Johnny Everybody and the Everybody family interested in the NHL. The way of course is not to build upon the history of the game, or to integrate the game into the Everybody's community. The way is goals, goals, and more goals. Or at least that's what the old men in the room think. So began a list of monumentally stupid "improvements" to the game to increase offense. Everything from bigger nets, to a single face-off dot in each zone, to heated skates to make the players faster... okay the heated skates sound pretty cool. However the lamest idea by far has been the trapezoid which for some reason still exists in the NHL.

The trapezoid for those that don't know is a portion of blue ice behind the goalie's net which if the goalie plays the puck outside of the trapezoid, they receive a penalty. I'll leave it to you to figure how that's supposed to increase offense. The trapezoid was implemented amid fears that popular defensive styles (aka "the trap") that teams were using to compensate for over-expansion and a depleted talent pool was making the game less popular. Goalies being able to freely play the puck was thought to bog down offense because of their ability to quickly get the puck out of the zone thereby nullifying possible offensive opportunities.

However I didn't realize how lame this was until watching the Olympics last year where the trapezoid was removed. The quality of hockey vastly improved without the trapezoid, the speed of the game increased, and I think there were more scoring chances with the goalie much more involved in the play. Not only do I feel that the trapezoid slows down the game but it subtracted one of the most exciting elements. How many times have we seen a goalie wander from the net to play the puck only to miscalculate and either be burned or have to make a scrambling save? Also with the trapezoid you limit the elite puck-handling goalies like Brodeur, DiPietro, and Turco while rewarding the lousy puck-handling goalies. Plus let's be honest, the blue paint behind the NHL nets just looks dumb.

World hunger, disease, and the threat of nuclear war can wait. I'm calling on all who read this to do the right thing and demand the NHL get rid of the trapezoid. For the good of hockey and for the good of the fans. In fact, e-mail me if you can come up with a decent reason why the trapezoid exists. I'll post any reasoning anyone has.

And for the love of god, leave the ****ing game alone.

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