The Downward Spiral

If you feel like you’ve seen less scoring lately, it’s because you have.

It was a casual observation of mine I thought I’d check out after reading Darren Eliot’s article about the Ducks still trapping.

I almost forgot about it until Costa wrote about it sparking me to check some numbers.

So here they are:

Games 174
Shootouts 15
Goals 1112
Average goals* 6.30
Games 199
Shootouts 21
Goals 1228
Average goals* 6.07
Games 29
Shootouts 4
Goals 174
Average goals* 5.86
Games 402
Shootouts 40
Goals 2514
Average goals* 6.15

* Average goals are adjusted not to included the goal given for shootout wins

Just to double-check my stats I compared the numbers to the standings on USA Today, everything matched up.

While we're only five days into December, there's little reason to think the trend won't continue. NHL games are averaging almost half a goal less per game within two months. I doubt the NHL will be issuing any press releases about that.

However, this isn't to say the game isn't still as open or as exciting as some want it to be, just that goals have decreased. Personally, goals alone don't do it for me anyway. A 2-1 game with few penalties (not just called, but actually committed) and lots of hits is fine by me (and a fight or two wouldn't hurt either), but we're not seeing that yet. I don't have the penalty numbers, but there are still a lot being called, some for good reason, some not.

The flow that's there now is soft and it seems like the players are starting to lay off of legal checks because of a potential whistle. This is what the NHL needs to work on now. So while I post these numbers, I hope the NHL ignores them and just focuses on getting the penalty calls right and assures its players that legal hits will remain... well, legal.

Yes, the potential to trap is still there. Keep calling the clutching and grabbing and skilled teams will break free.

I'll take the open game, with some real flow and action, and if it's low-scoring, so be it.

Posted by David M Singer on Dec 06, 2005 at 03:10 PM


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