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GM Meetings: Gillis hopes to penalize defensive zone hand passes

Mar 12, 2012, 7:56 PM EDT

Mike Gillis AP

If Canucks GM Mike Gillis gets his way, players who perform a defensive zone hand pass will get a minor penalty. The motivation, as you might have guessed, is to improve the attacking team’s chances of scoring. So this might be a small step towards addressing a bigger problem: despite all the chances made following the lockout, scoring is on the decline once again.

Based on figures from hockey-reference, the number of goals scored per game has dropped significantly since it spiked in the season following the lockout. You can notice that change easily enough by just looking at the leaderboard. Last season Daniel Sedin was the only player to exceed the 100-point mark and Corey Perry was our only 50 goal scorer. Back in 2005-06, we had five guys hit or exceed the 50-goal milestone and seven players finish with at least 100 points.

There’s likely no single reason for the decline in goals, but one of the glaring differences between the 2005-06 campaign and today is the number of power-play opportunities. We’ve seen a steep decline in the number of power plays during the last seven years. That’s relevant because in addition to aiding the attacking team, this new rule might lead to more penalties per game. It probably won’t enough to make a major dent, but it might help as part of a larger effort.

  1. jpelle82 - Mar 12, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    gillis is a whining idiot. i dont see how this improves scoring at all…how often does it really happen? would you rather they just grab it and drop it to their stick like they do everywhere else on the ice, or do you want to take that away from them too? in fact i think hand passes probably prevent more injury since the player is essentially ridding himself of vulnerability by shoveling the puck off faster. much more effective than gloving it, looking down or lowering yourself, and getting your head knocked off. the players only execute hand passes because they can…this is just butt and nose picking if you asked me….

  2. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 12, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    I really hate the idea of increasing scoring artificially by calling more penalties or making up new rules so there are more penalties called. If that’s the plan then maybe each team should just take turns on the powerplay so it’s even.

    • stakex - Mar 12, 2012 at 8:45 PM

      I totaly agree with that. A few years ago when the penelty calls were at their peak, I felt it did more to hurt the game then it did to help it. Sure more goals were being scored, but the amount of stoppages was getting out of hand… and it lead to so many “make it even” calls if one team was taking too many penelties.

      • jpelle82 - Mar 12, 2012 at 9:38 PM

        not that many more goals were scored. the 05-06 season after the lock-out was 6.1 gpg. before the lock-out, the 03-04 season it was 5.1…and last year its was 5.5. during the “dead puck era” from like 98 to 03 the average it remained between 5.1 and 5.5. we really havent seen that much of an increase at all in goals from the “dead puck era” and now. somehow in a 5 year span from 93-97 it dropped by 2 goals per game from 7.2 down to 5.2, thats pretty drastic. in the past 7 years since the lockout we have seen .5 gpg decline, not so bad.

    • kitshky - Mar 12, 2012 at 10:51 PM

      I hear ya on the numbers but I’d say almost everyone would agree that the game was a hell of a lot more entertaining post obstruction rule changes.

      • jpelle82 - Mar 13, 2012 at 9:30 AM


  3. uscthom78 - Mar 12, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    Gillis probably going to riot if he doesn’t get his way.

  4. stakex - Mar 12, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    The real issue is that no matter what the league does to increase scoring, teams and players will simply adjust as we have seen them over the last few years. The only think that can be done to increase scoring without a doubt is to make the net bigger, and goalie equipment a LOT smaller… and the league probably will not do that (which is a good thing).

    The big mistake the league keeps making though is that more penelties = better game. Even if you take penelty calls back to their peak level a few years ago the amount of extra goals scored per game will be almost unnoticeable, especially to your casual fan. What WILL stand out though is all the extra stops in play and the fact that the toughest sport on the plent has extremely weak reasons for handing out penelties… which both hurt the game IMO.

    • jpelle82 - Mar 12, 2012 at 9:54 PM

      correct. there wasnt and wont be a big difference in goals because of more penalties. all it will do is cause more controversy and negatively affect individual games here and there with borderline and stupid calls. until they put more restrictions on the goalie pads we wont see any change any time soon.

  5. blomfeld - Mar 12, 2012 at 9:04 PM


  6. blomfeld - Mar 12, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    As I was trying to say above, before some “invisible” force hit my post-comment here, I’m sure no fan of Mike Gillis. But in this context, I believe that he is “exactly” correct. The usage of hand passes is not only unfair and inconsistent with the spirit of the game, it’s also an act of cowardice and cunning. Hand passing should never be tolerated “anywhere” on the ice, period ! In fact, I don’t think that Gillis goes far enough with his suggestion that hand-passers be immediately penalized. In my opinion, the rules should dictate that once a player passes the puck to a teammate by using his hands, opposing players should then have free reign to strike at such player’s hands with their sticks with “complete and unfettered” impunity. That may sound a bit harsh to some ? … but trust me, the business of hand passing won’t be an issue any longer.

    • metcarfre - Mar 13, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      This guy gets.

      Lets not take putting the offender in stocks outside the arena off the table either.

  7. kitshky - Mar 12, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    A – You cant make a judgement on numbers when “they were calling more penalties”, that was an adjustment period. To qualify the effectiveness of it you need to check the numbers after the players and coaches had adjusted. Until quite recently, those rule changes meant a faster more exciting game.

    B – All GM’s were asked to bring suggestions and most of them were pretty much the same (delay of game penalties and the such…) this is worth mentioning because as far as I’ve heard this is the first time it’s been brought up. He’s not saying this is going to solve all the problems in the game and frankly, Gillis’ logic on this one is actually quite good in my opinion –

    “Get rid of hand passes in the defensive zone,” Gillis said. “Why when a player breaks his stick a defensive player gets an advantage is beyond me. He can put his hand on the puck and shovel it to somebody else. The offensive player can’t do that. I think small things like that continue to inrease offence are good.” (Vancouver Sun)

    C – It actually does happen a lot in games.

  8. barkar942 - Mar 12, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    I have never been a fan of the defensive zone hand pass being legal. It is like saying that in the defensive zone in soccer it is ok to catch the ball with your hands and throw it out of the zone. It does take away from the integrity of the game. The puck should be moved with your stick or your skates that are both made to touch the ice. If your hands are on the ice, then you need to get up and use our stick or skates to move the puck.

    • jpelle82 - Mar 13, 2012 at 9:53 AM

      i dont know if you have ever played hockey, but comparing it to soccer in any way is ridiculous and shameful. i’ve blocked shots and had the puck in my body and legs as i go down to the ice. the last thing i want is the puck to sit there while i’m vulnerable and off my skates. i’ve been slashed, speared, crosschecked, piled on, and cut by a skate. you get the puck out of there as quick as you can so you dont get killed, as a defenseman myself i dont have a problem with protecting yourself or having a slight advantage in your own zone…you have to give us something back there. defenseman already get beat up more than anyone else on the ice, its like throwing a steak to a gaurd dog, buys you enough time to get your ass out of trouble.

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