If you’ve been noticing that scoring is down this season, you’re not alone. There are a lot more 2-1 games than you’ll find 4-3 games it seems and that’s got some people wondering if the NHL’s old ways of clogging everything up around the ice are back.
One of those teams curious about that being the case is the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins have seen their power play opportunities decrease drastically since the start of January and they think that officials are letting the clutching and grabbing slide a bit.
Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review hears it from Brooks Orpik about how things used to be and how they are now.
“After the (2004-05) lockout, if a guy chipped a puck by you, you couldn’t touch him,” he said. “If you did, it was a penalty every single time. You just had to turn and go get it.”
That much is absolutely true, especially when you look at the number of penalties called in that first season after the lockout. Orpik says it’s different now though.
“(The NHL) didn’t tell us they were going to go easy on us (defensemen),” Orpik said. “But it’s pretty obvious that it has changed.”
Finding that balance between too many and too few penalties is hard. The NHL likes scoring to be up a bit as goals get people excited and jumping out of their chairs for one reason or another.
That said, they don’t want the games to turn into dump-and-chase fests either. Having a 2-1 game is great if the pace is breakneck and the action is intense but it’s up to the officials to make sure the ice stays open to allow for that.