Is faster better?
Posted by Dean Holden at February 16th, 2013
By Chris Pryor, 14 February 2013
Skate, skate, skate. Speed, speed, speed. It seems like that’s where the game is going – bigger and faster. Every sport is bigger and faster. If you go back 20 years and fast forward to today, the athletes are all bigger and faster. The playing surfaces are the same size (other than the Olympic sheets) and the athletes are growing and growing.
With the size comes speed. The rules today have made it conducive for the big guy (or little guy for that matter) who can skate. The game has made enormous strides to open up the game. No longer are we able to impede progress, hence slow down the traffic.
On the roads, there are speed bumps and traffic lights for a reason, to slow down. Without these obstacles, traffic and collisions become more violent. The same holds true for our sport. With the players bigger and faster and the rules allowing them to skate at top speed without interruption, violent collisions are going to happen and more injuries are going occur.
The game is a fast game but to what point is it too fast? When do our legs outrun our brain? We play a game that we not only need to be able to skate but think at the same time. Plays and decisions have to made at a high speed but not to the point where all we are doing is skating around at 100 miles per hour and banging and crashing into everyone.
If we wonder why we don’t see any plays being made at times, it’s because the game is going almost too fast. Watch the players that can make a good play. Usually they are able to slow the game down. There are not too many guys that can skate full out and think to match their legs.
At some point we need to slow down a knotch and think, make a play. Let’s not just cross the red line and rifle the puck in and everyone go charging in there at full speed. There is a time and place for a good dump-in BUT there are times where gaining the zone and making a play is as effective. The NHL is progressively developing into a skilled man’s game and the rest of hockey should see where the game is going.
Yes, it helps to have size and be able to skate, but if you watch more closely, the guys with skill and playmaking separate from the others very quickly.