Today’s poll comes curtesy of Jordan, and although he’s a Toronto Maple Leafs fan we won’t hold that against him. Jordan wants to know what kind of game will be prevalent in the NHL 30 years from now. There are two answers for this question; either hard-hitting and fighting hockey or a more skilled game with less hitting.
We’ll start our comparison with the hard-hitting hockey of the future. Do you want to see the game filled with big, strong, tough players
dressed like football players who’s main objective is to wear down and beat their opponent physically- like the Boston Bruins? This type of game would eliminate the smaller Nathan Gerbe‘s and Martin St. Louis‘ from the game and even the Sidney Crosby‘s and Steven Stamkos‘ would have a tough time battling.
This type of NHL would put physical play at the forefront, while the skilled game fades off into the back. It would also see an increase in the number of injuries as the equipment becomes stronger and bigger. The NHL will be filled with hard hitting hockey, but the goals and skilled players won’t be as prominent as one might want.
The other option is to have a game with smaller and softer equipment with little hitting, to emphasize the skill game. This would pretty much be the type of hockey you see currently in Europe. They use bigger ice and they focus on being fast and scoring goals as opposed to crushing their opponent against the boards. When you see Canada or the USA play in tournament overseas you often see the European teams shy away from contact because they’re not used to it. They use their speed and skill to beat their opponents, and it’s beginning to work.
This type of NHL would feature less injuries and create more high-scoring games as offencive skill becomes the focal point. In the second option hitting would not be completely taken out, but they could have smaller equipment to limit the punishing blows and allow both the hitter and hittee to feel the effect, instead of the bullet-proof stuff they use today.
What do you want the NHL to look like in 30 years? No doubt the game is and will continue to change and whatever changes they make in the next 5-10 years will determine the direction in which the game is heading. Which style would you prefer?