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The IceMan's Rant: What Happened to Defense in the NHL?

Nucks IceMan@nucksiceman@twitter.comCorrespondent IJanuary 2, 2010

Nucks and Philly

Written by: Larry “The Nucks IceMan” Johnson

O.K. I’ve stayed quiet long enough. Forty games – nothing, calm and controlled, but now I’ve got to rant!

What’s with this pamsey, whamsey, no touch in the front of the net, you can’t fight for position garbage?

This question is for any people that have coached or played hockey. This is not meant to eliminate others, because I want your opinion also.

Why is it in today’s hockey, that few defensemen play the man? Everyone seems to play the puck, either they are trying to stick check or they are mesmerized and stand around watching it.

Is it that long ago when you would play the body, your partner would take care of the puck? On the third St. Louis goal, Salo went by the player, then the rest of the Canucks either stood around, either trying to play goal or stick checking the shooter.

Not one Canuck dropped a St. Louis player on their derriere when they were fishing for the puck!

Let’s equate this to playing man-to-man in football. If everyone takes a man in hockey, especially in the D zone down low and in front of the net, forcing your physical presence on them, would it not make it difficult to shoot the puck if the opposition is:

a)     Sitting on their butt

b)    Their stick is tied up

c)     Blocked out from taking the shot

Did I go to sleep and suddenly awakened to find the hockey minds have forgotten how to play a zone D in the game? Even with today’s speed, is not the concept of playing the body still relavant?

My understanding of the rule is that obstruction occurs if you knock your man down without the puck, not if he has touched it. When did the coaching philosophy change, that the player in front should go uncovered, and be allowed to roam around like an untouchable?

Is today’s NHL idea of more offensive hockey, to allow non-contact or eliminate competing for position in front of the net?

I’m all in for the “new” NHL with the speed and scoring, but PLEASE don’t take away the ability to play D, because in every other sport, football, baseball, basketball, etc.  it is still very much a factor.

After watching the three St. Louis goals, I was ready to blow a gasket. If someone doesn’t grab Alex Edler and shake some sense into him, then please give me some oxygen, because I’m going to explode!

This stick checking “thing” in the NHL makes me sick. Either let them play defense or merge the NHL with the women’s league!

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