In the hockey league that I play in, there’s usually 3 lines of forwards rolling through the game. Which is fine. But I love it when there’s only 2 lines. I really dig the extra ice-team, and I feel like I get in the game more, and actually play better. This is probably reflected in my stats – virtually all my multi-point games were recorded when there were only 2 lines rolling.
Which got Day, Ted and I talking on the way to our game last night, about shrinking the bench in the NHL. It was initially spurred by Ted talking about seing the Stanley Cup in Toronto, and how the original team was only 6 players. Could you imagine? 6 players playing the entire game? I digress, so to the point at hand: What if the team-size for an NHL team was reduced so that it was really only possible to have 3 forward lines, rather than the 4 lines that teams currently roll? In terms of playtime, it wouldn’t make that much difference for a lot of players – many teams only seem to play their 4th line for a few minutes a night. But if you reduce the roster by, say 5 players, then the overall average talent of the league should increase. Every line could be a necessary and contributing force on a team. Owners should save a fair amount of money in salary. Players could each be paid more, perhaps splitting the difference with the owners.
Certainly players should have the physical fitness to play those extra minutes. Indeed, if they don’t, they wouldn’t survive in the new league, and that’s probably a good thing. I’m all for a faster, quicker, fitter game of hockey.
What do you think?