Ok I try to take the same lead as my fellow Avs blogger tapeleg, and dish out nothing but Hockey Love. I even like Avs NW division foes Calgary and Vancouver, and to a lesser extent Edmonton. (Actually I think the feeling I have for Edmonton is pity, but that's a different story). But today the hate is coming, well as hateful as I can get. And the intended target is the Minnesota Wild.
Terry Frei, NHL Fanhouse, and the good guys over at Battle of Alberta all touched on it, but there's a reason to hate them They obviously play for overtime. Through 73 games a whopping 33% have gone into Overtime (well 32.8%).
Now this is a fine strategy and a good way to go (if the Avs had gone to OT a few more times this year they might be headed to the playoffs), and Vancouver has done a lot of Overtime hunting this year as well, but Minnesota seems more dastardly. because they do it the good ol fashioned way... And by that I mean they play clutch and grab hockey. They are bringing clutch and grab back, and it's starting to permeate through the game again. NJ has started It again, and more and more games are being referred inconsistently to say the least.
Wasn't the NHL supposed to do something about this? They need to do something about this pronto. I have no problem with defensive fundamentals, I don't need my hockey games to be 6-5 to be exciting. I do need teams to be in more than the middle zone of the ice. I can't stand watching Wild games.
I think a couple things could be done to eliminate this style of play... First and foremost is STOP REWARDING TEAMS FOR LOSING. 0 pts for a loss, including SO losses. I recommend 3 pts for a win, 2 for an OT win 1 for a SO win and 0 for a loss. I would be content with 2 pts for a win of any kind and 0 for a loss. But there should be no points for a loss, this isn't the special Olympics, and there aren't any ribbons for participation.
I think that's the biggest deterrent right now. It's been so egregious that the Avs announcers, The Avs announcers criticise Minnesota and say things like "If Minnesota has a lead with 10 minutes left in the period. Look for them to clog things up." Wait since when did a 1-goal lead become safe again? Especially with Manny Fernandez as your #1 goalie?
So root root root for whomever plays Minnesota in the first round. Nothing stops a system like failure, and watching Minnesota get swept in the first round would hopefully be a first step to eliminating that damned neutral-zone trap.
And the fewer Hockey fans that are exposed to Minnesota's R.E.M inducing play the better. I'd even root for the Red Wings over Minnesota at this point, now if that doesn't scare people i don't know what will