Former Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke is keeping busy scouting for the Anaheim Ducks, but it doesn’t stop him from thinking of ways to help evolve the NHL.
Burke tells Kevin Paul Dupont of The Boston Globe he’d like to see the league adopt a larger ice surface to help provide room for players that continue to get bigger, faster, and stronger.
“By and large, we’re still playing on the same-sized surface on which the 5-foot-9 Leo Boivin was deemed the feared hitter of his day,” said Burke. “Our players are bigger and faster now, and if that changes, it’s only going to increase.
“A wider rink should allow for more playmaking, more scoring, better power plays… overall, a greater emphasis on skill, but still with plenty of hitting. No one wants to turn hockey into a non-contact sport.”
Burke’s idea is to make the ice a bit wider and expand to either 90 or 92-feet. Currently, NHL-sized ice is 85-feet wide while the International standard is 100-feet. He also adds he’s got the support of Penguins GM Ray Shero and Islanders GM Garth Snow when it comes to the issue.
With players just getting bigger, it makes sense to also make the playing surface larger. Getting arenas to eliminate a few rows of seating to make it work, however, might prove to be the toughest part of it all.