Obscuring the Issue
The NHL, eventually, will be going to bigger nets. That will make some recoil in horror, but it's going to happen. Bet on it.
I support the concept. At the same time, I can easily accept that people don' t like the idea.
As long, that is, as they do so on a logical basis.
If you think the game is already wide-open enough and has enough scoring, for example, that is a solid argument against bigger nets.
So is the possibility that raising the crossbar for high shots to be goals rather than over the net might make life a little more dangerous around the net for forwards and defencemen.
Even the notion that moving to larger nets would fundamentally change the manner in which thousands of goalies have learned the sport has some traction.
Just don't tell me that it would be an affront to the NHL record book.
Don't try and argue that current scoring marks would somehow be unfairly under attack.
For starters, you have to understand that already the record book deals with apples and oranges by statistically scoring records from the 1930s, '40s and '50s with those of the '80s and '90s.
The game has changed so drastically over the decades that in some ways its not even the same game. Yet nobody minds that Max Bentley's scoring records are held up to those of Mike Bossy or Brett Hull.
What is true, however, is that because the net has remained the same size while the goaltenders have dramatically increased in size, the available scoring area has been gradually decreased over the past 20 years, in particular.
Phil Esposito could see a lot more net, for example, than Jonathan Cheechoo.
That's not opinion. It's fact.
Making the nets slightly higher and wider, then, would actually reset the balance between goalie and shooter.
It wouldn't ruin the NHL record book. It would actually make it more meaningful.
By comparison, the manner in which goalies are now able to record victories in OT and shootouts will make it far easier for netminders like Martin Brodeur, for example, to approach Patrick Roy's all-time wins record.
Brodeur has 18 wins this season, but four have come in shootouts. Roy didn't have the ability to win games that way and had to settle for ties.
Anaheim's Jean-Sebastien Giguere has 23 wins this season, two by shootout. Those extra opportunities to register victories may make it a lot easier for Giguere to break Bernie Parent's 1973-74 record of 47 wins in a single season.
Now that's distorting the record book.
But when I hear Jarome Iginla say larger nets would "change records and things," it makes me want to scream.
He might not like the idea for a whole host of reasons.
But the record book should not be included in that list.