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Selanne wishes hockey wasn’t so structured these days

May 12, 2014, 4:23 PM EDT

Ryan Getzlaf, Teemu Selanne, Corey Perry AP

When Teemu Selanne entered the NHL, way back in 1992 as a rookie with the Winnipeg Jets, not only did he score a whopping 76 times, he played in a league where 15 of the 24 teams cracked the 300-goal mark during the 84-game regular season.

In fairly stark contrast, Selanne’s current team, the Anaheim Ducks, led the NHL in 2013-14, scoring a relatively paltry 263 times in 82 games.

Not surprisingly, the 43-year-old kinda misses the old days.

From TSN’s Mark Masters:

Of course, the notion that the NHL is over-coached nowadays is nothing new. Where people disagree is if it’s a problem. Some are just fine with a series like the Ducks-Kings one, which Selanne says is now “all about grinding”; others think the NHL should do more to encourage scoring and scoring chances.

One thing’s for sure — NHL coaches aren’t going anywhere, so it’s up to the league to decide if the relative dearth of goals (compared to back in the day) is a problem that’s worth addressing.

  1. 950003cups - May 12, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    I always thought they OPENED UP the scoring. Isn’t that why there’s no more “Two Line Pass” rule?if Gretzky didn’t have the two line pass rule, he’d have scored even more than he already did.

    • c9castine - May 13, 2014 at 12:38 AM

      they did through the rules but strategy and the way coaches teach these days shuts everything down. its a pretty spot on observation – there is a lot of preparation on team by team basis and defenses are so well structured from the neutral zone in.

      its why a fast explosive offensive team like the penguins was dominant in the late 2000s as teams were scrambling to adjust and not so much now.

  2. guerillamilitia - May 12, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    as an NFL fan who can’t stand to watch the product they put on the field any longer… it seems hockey is destined for the same outcome.

    the sad part is ; i just got into hockey this year and found it to be much more intense than the NFL is today. i can only imagine if i started watching 30 years ago. i’d probably be singing the same tune.

  3. m1k3g - May 12, 2014 at 5:02 PM

    Damn we are all going to miss this guy when he’s gone.

    • imleftcoast - May 12, 2014 at 5:10 PM

      Agree with Selanne. Darryl Sutter should retire instead.

  4. tdrusher225 - May 12, 2014 at 5:18 PM

    Gotta love Temmu. As far as changing the game, I like the idea of bigger nets. Like Babcock said, ““By refusing to change you are changing. Purists would say you can’t do it because you’re changing the game but by not changing you are changing the game.” You want to open up the game? Give shooters a better chance to score from a distance and then offenses and defenses won’t have to crash/cover the net as much. Just my two cents.

    • pjblake2redwings - May 12, 2014 at 5:30 PM

      this isnt soccer. bigger nets is stupid

      • cyggyx1 - May 12, 2014 at 6:49 PM

        Considering Goaltenders aren’t tiny like Darren Pang and are getting bigger by the year, say 6 inches all around wouldn’t be a bad idea

  5. terrier92 - May 12, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    Both my kids played college hockey. For them it was a passion yet by the end they were glad to get away from the over controlling coaches. Now they are happily playing four nights a week in beer leagues and having a blast.

  6. gbart22 - May 12, 2014 at 5:39 PM

    I think the solution is easy. The players have gone from an average of 5’10 to over 6′ now goalies have gone from being 5’8 to 6’5 nowadays they just keep getting bigger with huge pads and the net has shrunk. Gretzky would not come close to putting up his numbers today. The net needs to be increased by a few inches. End of story.

    • stakex - May 12, 2014 at 7:29 PM

      Or perhaps a simpler, and less controversial, solution is that goalie equipment could be shrunk even more. Instead of taking a scalpel to the huge pads goalies wear, use a chainsaw. Much smaller pants, chest protector, leg pads, and gloves would likely lead to more scoring, without making a massive change to something that hasn’t been screwed with in over a century.

  7. piratehookerfrombootybay - May 12, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    Size is the biggest attribute to this. (and not the goalies) Then on top of their size they grab, clutch, slash, cross check like no other. There is so much interference its not even funny. One the ice needs to be Olympic size, that size of ice should be standard! second call all the BS that goes on. I have seen so many players leave their feet to make a check as well as alot of cross checks. Your how big and you have to put two hands on your stick a bash someone with it. Also they are ridiculous in font of their net most of the time the make it worse by hitting a player that has stopped in font of their net into their goalie. I’m all about protecting your goalie but a majority of the time it isn’t needed. The do it just to punish the player for getting to close. Play good clean hitting hockey not goon hockey! Thats what the nhl is goon hockey. The NHL is full of good goon type players with some Freaks mixed in. tighten up the goon play and give them more room and the goalies will get lit up again regardless of size!

  8. gmenfan1982 - May 12, 2014 at 8:07 PM

    I personally feel that scoring is down for a plethora of reasons but mainly because there are far more players in the league that are highly skilled than there used to be. More defensively skilled forwards. More solid defenseman that aren’t offensively minded. Goaltender equipment size is definitely a reason as well but I would also say goaltender skill level is also much higher than it ever was. Defensive responsibility is stressed more now in the game than it ever was.

  9. sayingthetruthperiod - May 13, 2014 at 7:33 AM

    1. They need to get rid of the Trap

    2. They need to shrink goalie equipment and jerseys. It is still far too big.

    3. THEY NEED TO ENFORCE THE FREAKIN RULES AGAIN AND CALL ALL THE BLEEPIN OBSTRUCTION PENALTIES.

  10. sayingthetruthperiod - May 13, 2014 at 7:37 AM

    Pretty much every team in the playoffs this year gets by on defenders skating in front of guys coming into the neutral or defensive zone even if they do not have the puck to slow down the offensive attack. CALL IT FOR WHAT IT IS.
    OBSTRUCTION
    In fact make it if a team gets more than 2 obstruction calls in a game that the 3rd one is a 5 minute major

    • hockeydon10 - May 13, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      The biggest problem with your statement is that coaches now teach players how to do that without it being interference. It’s a two-part problem. Here’s what I mean by that.

      When the forward chips the puck past the defenceman, the d-man can legally hit the forward for a short time after the puck leaves his stick. D-men today use that as an opportunity to give a little shove (hit) the forward slowing down his speed into the offensive zone. It’s not a Kronwallian hit, but that little bump is still considered a “hit” and thus still legal. (It’s not registered as a hit, of course. A lot of little bumps are given free pass but not registered as a hit.)

      Also, when a defenceman gets in front of a forward and impedes his progress it’s only interference if the defenceman stops skating. Players are coached to do that but to continue moving their feet, just much slower, so technically both players are still skating toward the puck, just one much slower than the other, thus slowing down the forechecker enough to allow the other defenceman to retrieve the puck.

      These two things are the way the rules are set up currently. I’d like to see something that allows for the quicker skater to make it past, so I’d say we’re in agreement. It’s just hard to do within the rules as they’re currently written.

  11. flash8910 - May 13, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    I blame the Devil…the New Jersey ones. NHL has not been the same since 1995.

  12. flash8910 - May 13, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    One more thought, does any watch any old NHL highlights? Like the ones from the 80’s or earlier. Look at the goalies, see how tiny they look in their pads. Think that makes a difference?!?!

  13. madmax80 - May 13, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    How about putting Pro Wrestline style ropes under tension just before the boards? So, if you hit a guy into the boards (ropes), he will slingshot away from you with even greater speed.

    This should lead to more scoring chances.

    It could also make for some great open ice hits when one guy throws a player into the ropes and he has no choice but to slingshot straight back out into another defender lying in wait for the big hit.

    \\

  14. sanclementeacupuncture - May 13, 2014 at 7:46 PM

    Yeah try and watch the Smell A Kings play…boring…beyond boring.

  15. insuranceinfo - May 13, 2014 at 11:38 PM

    The blue line and “gap control” is causing all this slog that has come into the league. Gap control makes players either dump and chase (usually not well) or stop and make a decision, allowing back-checkers to break up the play.

    Solution : either get rid of the blue line or move it to the top of the faceoff circles. Most players can score on a goalie from the top of the faceoff circle. Personally I think they should just get rid of the blue line all together. They should get rid of icing and force the goalie to play the puck and pass it up the ice.

    I would be open to making it illegal to level someone against the end-boards. Admittedly this could be hard to enforce (when is it really a ‘hard hit’) but I think the rule could be tweaked to prevent serious injury.

    Imagine a game where forwards could at any time break free and get behind the forwards. Players wouldn’t have to worry about missing a pass and icing the puck. That would put every part of the ice in play and create spaces between players.

    I am also in support of making the net slightly bigger and taller. If a goalie covers the bottom half of the net with the butterfly then the net should be big enough that an average shooter could score a goal shooting high 20% of the time. They could do offseason testing to adjust the net size.

    I know these ideas might be offensive to purists and I appreciate that. But this league is an entertainment business and it should appeal to the average person. People naturally like displays of elite skill. Youtube is full of videos of people performing amazing skills. You need to be able to hook new people who watch 30 second videos.

    Also there should be power rankings that create handicaps for various teams. It would affect what points you gain or lose with wins or losses. Every game should matter.

    Finally the league should be able to replace GMs on perpetually failing teams. Let the owner focus on building the entertainment value, not choosing lousy GMs.

    • padraig3 - May 13, 2014 at 11:41 PM

      Someone hacked my username. NBC please fix this. That’s not my username nor my address.

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