Friday, February 21, 2014

Time to shrink the rink at the Olympics

From where I sit it looks like there needs to be a major change to the hockey tournament at the Olympics...


Specifically, the size of the rink. I'm not trying to downplay the skill of the players in the last 2 weeks, but the quality of play. Sure, the USA-Canada game was thrilling, in fact all three of them were. The USA-Russia game was great too. But, for the most part the games have been uninspiring. A lot of clogging the middle of the ice, keeping chances to the outside. Yes, it meant that every team was in every game. But that was more thanks to the mind-numbing level of defence, as opposed to deserving skill. Hockey is the fastest team game on the planet, sadly that speed is completely lacking on international ice. Try looking at the numbers. So far in there have been 133 goals scored in the 46 games (excluding medal games). That's 2.8 goals a game. Nearly a full goal per game less than Vancouver (3.6). In terms of individual teams, everyone has lower goal totals. Russia, had 16 in Vancouver and 13 this year. Highly defensive Switzerland produced a satisfying 11 goals in 2010, compared to a paltry 3 in Sochi. It's time the IOC took a careful look at the size of the ice and what impact it's having on the quality of hockey.  Until they do that we will remain stuck with bland hockey at supposedly the highest level of competition. 

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

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