It’s an idea hockey fans have kicked around for awhile – if my memory serves me right, I believe well-respected hockey reporter Bob McKenzie has been a proponent of this for quite some time:
The Swedish Elite League has now made it legal to kick the puck in the net with your skate. All forms of off-the-skate-and-in are permitted, as long as your blade doesn’t leave the ice (for safety purposes). The guy in the picture at the top of this post may want to get that leg down just a touch.
Thanks to Linus Hugosson for the head’s up:
Swedish Elite League has decided to allow goals via skates, even with kicking motion, as long as the skate stays on the ice.
— Linus Hugosson (@linushugosson) August 30, 2012
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons, and consider whether the NHL should think about doing the same thing in the future.
Increased offense: getting the puck in the net with your boot still takes skill, and in a game where we’re always looking to increase the amount of offense, it makes no sense to rule out any type of goal that takes talent.
The debate simply shifts from “was that a distinct kicking motion?” to “was his blade on the ice the whole time?” We’re going to need ice-level cameras to enforce this one.
It opens up a new level of creativity – whether that means incorporating breakaway moves that finish with a kick, or letting a pass get by your stick on purpose only to re-direct it in with your blade, guys have another option now.
Scrambles in front of the net just got a whole lot less fun for goaltenders trying to cover pucks. The old adage from coaches is that defensemen should “get sticks up” when pucks are loose in front. Suddenly, there’s going to be tied up players trying to go Pele in front on anything near the crease. (Incidentally, the job of d-men just got more difficult.) Who wants their hand stepped on, goalers!?
Did I mention it’ll result in more goals?
Personally, I’m a fan of the rule change. I’m thinking in particular about a goal I scored in Hartford that got waved off. We were on a semi 2-on-1, but a backchecker was catching us, me specifically. Right as the pass came across, I got caught, and he lifted my stick. Tied up, I just wanted to get the puck towards the net – maybe there’d be a rebound, maybe it’d go in and they’d count it – so I angled my inside skate, and gave it a toe-flick. It went five hole, we tied the game…then it got waved off. I thought I made a pretty decent play there, and there’s no reason to have that not count.
So what say you? Should the NHL do the same and allow goals off the skate?