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Ex-Devil, Ranger Holik has some interesting ideas on how to curb shot-blocking

May 16, 2012, 1:35 PM EDT

Bobby Holik

Former New Jersey/New York center Bobby Holik is speaking out about the shot-blocking craze that’s sweeping the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Over at his website, Holik on Hockey, the two-time Stanley Cup winner says he’s “not a huge fan” of watching the Rangers incessantly collapse around their net. While he readily admits the Blueshirts aren’t the only team doing it, Holik says they’re “the poster boys of this new style.”

More from Holik:

I played for a team many still call the most boring ever, and even credit us with “ruining” hockey. I would like these folks to check the goals-for stats for some of those teams. (We led the league for a couple of years)

The so called Dead Puck Era was not caused by the New Jersey Devils winning three Stanley Cups in eight years. It was caused by rapid expansion, diluting the talent pool, and the league’s refusal at that time to enforce rules already on the books.

We are in a different era now and it’s time to focus on today’s game and how to make it better. If you think everybody blocking shots, collapsing around net (creating a force field) and eliminating most scoring chances is the proper approach then you are winning.

It is such a powerful trend it has altered player’s equipment. The plastic skate guards many players wear could be mandated on some of the teams, and they shouldn’t be. If you are going to include shot blocking as a part of your game, you shouldn’t be wearing extra equipment to protect against the consequences.

We already have goaltenders, we don’t need six.

Don’t know if I necessarily agree with this line of thinking, but it certainly is interesting. Original, too.

There’s an interesting juxtaposition at play with regards to shot-blocking. The most common phrase associated with it is “paying the price” and we’ve seen players pay it this postseason (a shot block broke Jay Beagle’s foot, for example.)

At the same time, blocking shots is now a standard practice — thanks in large part to equipment advances — and more players are doing it than ever before.

Would taking away protective material raise the price? For sure. But it would also make for a very slippery slope.

  1. noisetheorem - May 16, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    So, by this logic, we should have the players out there just wearing skates and speedos? I don’t know if I could watch that, though I am pretty sure my wife could.

    • jeffersonkostilnick - May 16, 2012 at 2:14 PM

      I would totally enjoy watching that. Matter of fact, just thinking about that got me excited that I may have to dump Frank’s Red Hot on myself and have a good time in my cube. My Boss has to hate me….

      • noisetheorem - May 16, 2012 at 2:29 PM

        now if it was *womens*hockey…

      • hockeyflow33 - May 16, 2012 at 10:34 PM

        maybe you haven’t seen many of the players in the female game…..

    • eigglesnosuperbowls - May 16, 2012 at 6:49 PM

      The communist team from jersey will be doing it next pre-season ! Their just mad they didn’t think of it !

  2. esracerx46 - May 16, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    What Holik is trying to say is that they need to take equipment used 15-20 years ago and not allow the body armor used today. Today’s equipment causes more severe injuries than it protects (bruised shoulder then, concussion today for the recipient of the check). As a result of the new equipment we see boring hockey, because their is almost no consequences for blocking shots. Its a rarity to see long term injuries given how often shots are blocked and how hard the shots are coming

    • michiganhockey11 - May 16, 2012 at 4:17 PM

      You get rid of modern equipment, you will increase injuries. It’s a double edged sword. I completely understand your point. Today’s players are exponentially faster and stronger they they were 5,10,15, et al. years ago. Go back to equipments used 15-20 years ago and the guys will get career ending/life changing injuries just from a simple body check into the boards.

      I get your point, but equipment was upgraded to match the increase of speed/strength in the game.

    • chip56 - May 16, 2012 at 4:57 PM

      Not how I read it – what I see Holik saying is that if you want to teach shot blocking that’s fine, but cut back on the armor that you can wear and see how many guys actually do it. It’s an idiotic stance and if you look today everyone involved with the NHL has basically been laughing at Holik and Marty for complaining about it.

  3. biffnasty - May 16, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    I’m glad that idiot isn’t playing any more.

  4. chip56 - May 16, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    I had typed out a very long response to this, but in the spirit of Torts I will simply leave it as “Holik can bite me”

  5. rpiotr01 - May 16, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    The whole shot-blocking thing is over-rated. NYR happen to play some really good defense. Yes, they do a good amount of sliding and down on one knee kind of stuff, but it’s not all they do. They’ve been doing a great job of generally standing and getting sticks in shooting lanes, and knowing where the other guys on their team are in relation to themselves. That’s good defense and good team work. If one guy is out of position a big scoring chance usually results. What are they supposed to do, stand aside, let other players walk in? They don’t give an inch, I don’t don’t know what else to tell you. They’ve worked for a couple years now on getting that part of their game down pat and went through a bunch of growing pains to get there (how many years in a row did they just squeak into the playoffs?), now they’re reaping the benefits of their work.

  6. rpiotr01 - May 16, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    and p.s. Rangers were #11 in scoring this year, more than NJ, PHO or LA. They’re no slouches either on the other end either, so what is anyone complaining about.

  7. hky15 - May 16, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    And who exactly cares what Holik’s opinion is?

  8. taytay099 - May 17, 2012 at 12:20 AM

    I understand his point, but I don’t think shot blocking is hurting the game. A 1-0 game can be just as thrilling as a 6-5 game.

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