Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bigger Bluelines - Less Offsides

What’s the most annoying facet of an NHL game today? My first thought would be the never-ending offside calls that halt all momentum for fans and players. The league will never get rid of the offside rule, but maybe there are ways to make them less common.

Here’s the idea:

Double the width of the bluelines, making them 24 inches instead of the current 12 inches (that’s what she said…).

The extra 12 inches of blue paint should be in the offensive zone, thereby giving skaters an extra foot when going into the offensive zone, either carrying the puck or accepting a pass. Most offside calls nowadays are made in those 12 inches that this extra width would cover, so in theory, this should cut them down a fair bit. Remember, I said in theory. The dimensions of the offensive zones would stay exactly the same as well but simply have an extra foot of blue paint in them that would mean nothing when coming out of the zone.

The only drawbacks to this might be that, in theory (and total ice surface) this will increase the size of the neutral zone by two feet (24 inches). It’s deceptive because the neutral zone will look exactly the same, and in fact be the same 50 feet between the bluelines. But, of course the extra width of the bluelines would expand it nonetheless.

The first season back from the lockout, the league reduced the neutral zone from 54 feet to 50 feet to offset the neutral zone trap that many teams were using. By making the bluelines bigger they might be helping one problem (too many offsides) but adding to another (more space to implement trap).

The other argument against this is that offsides won't be reduced because players will still cheat to the edge of the line as much as possible, making this change useless.

I’d like to know what you think.


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