After the lockout, the NHL made great strides in improving the game. New rule changes, like the elimination of two line passing, made the game faster, and much more entertaining. It would be pretty easy to argue that this is some of the best hockey over the last 20 years in the NHL.
And while the league has significantly improved its product, there is still one rule that grinds my gears. Why can’t a player kick the puck into the net?
Now, keep in mind that as a fan, I love when an opposition goal is called back because of this rule. But let me highlight a few reasons why this is one of the most dated and backwards rule that the league has.
I’m not a great hockey player, and nor will I ever pretend to be. My defensive play is laughable, and I have hands like cinder blocks. So I for one can appreciate skillful players. So to actually be able to kick a puck into the net is a pretty impressive feet. A lot of those pucks are the results of pretty fast plays; anybody who has the wherewithal to actually kick that puck, frankly deserves a goal.
2. Entertainment Value
Ask any number of European players what they would be if they didn’t play hockey, and football/soccer can always be counted on for a few answers. Many of these players grew up playing both sports, so the skill is clearly there. I, for one, would love to see some of the dekes or last ditch efforts that lead to a player kicking the puck into the net.
3. Flow of the Game
If nothing else, the video review of a ‘kicked’ puck can really take away from the flow of a game, and can play a pretty big role in changing momentum in the game. By avoiding video review of suspect goals, I’m sure fans would be much happier. Think of it from an outsider’s perspective. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense to non-fans for a goal to not count because it was kicked in. And it definitely wouldn’t be that entertaining to watch continuous replays talking about it.
Bottom line, from my perspective, is that this is a dated rule, and should be one of the first that the NHL should look at changing. As long as the puck doesn’t go in off a hand or a high stick, it should simply be a goal. And that my friends, is not under review.
Stay classy, outdated kicking motion rule.