Thursday, 5 November 2015

Mike Babcock agrees with me that hockey nets should be made bigger.

Toronto coach Mike Babcock brought up his favourite hobby horse again, stating that since players are getting bigger and bigger, the nets are consequently smaller and smaller.

I agree there needs to be an adjustment in the size of the nets.

And Pierre McGuire was interviewed on TSN 1040 Vancouver, talking about how 6’6″ goalies on their knees still cover the top part of the net, so they should raise the crossbar 6-8 inches to force these guys to stand up. He doesn’t think they should make the nets wider.

I’m unsure about this. Raising the crossbar goes against player safety I think, there will be pucks flying around at chin or ear height way more often. P.K. won’t have the incentive to shoot low, he’ll let ‘er rip everytime. Someone will get hurt.

Making the net wider would give more room lower down, the goalies couldn’t blot out the bottom of the net completely with their pads. And they couldn’t reach over with their blocker or glove from their knees, they’d be dead in the water. The incentive to remain upright would develop from there, that they can move side-to-side, post-to-post.

Some people think it’s heresy, but sports benefit from this type of tinkering. Baseball is famous for adjusting the height of the pitcher’s mound, and the distance to the plate, settling now on 60’6″.

NFL football moved the goalposts to the back of the endzone, for player safety and more open offence, but also because the kickers were getting too good. The uprights have also been moved closed together, again because kickers and training methods and playing surfaces and conditions are getting too good.

Volleyball has a different net height depending on the level of competition and the gender of the players.

So to think that the 4′ X 6′ net dimension is sacrosanct, brought down by Moses on the stone tablets (maybe it was one of the Commandments from 11 to 15?) is reactionary, a refusal to bow to the realities of the modern game.

The size of the nets made sense when Emile Francis was goaltending, but not currently with Ben Bishop.

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