Some credit to the NHL is in order as I took in a couple of periods of the Flames vs Hawks last night at Big Al’s pub over at International Avenue. No fights! Some inspired play by John Goudreau of the Flames. Fairly tight checking with low scoring and the O/T shoot out didn’t conclude until the 7th round. The goalies prevailed over the course of thirteen straight one on one encounters. Some sharp stick handler tallied the winner with a somewhat controversial deposit following a deke which arguably entailed backward movement of the puck – hence testing the rules. In fact, I’m surprised that officiating didn’t utilize video replay for confirming the game winning goal.
The game has taken positive steps to enhance the entertainment value. In spite of there being regulations around the size of goalie equipment, in my opinion those goalie pads are still too big. The Hawks may have won the game had the Flames goalie been fitted with a smaller catching glove. There weren’t many penalties and much to my surprise the game was played quite cleanly. Moments of suspense were endured by Flames fans when their team was shorthanded in the overtime period. However; the dump and chase style of play is still evident asking one whether coaches believe that offense can penetrate to the net with the three on two rush. This particular game was defensive dominant thereby limiting the excitement factor. The four on four format for the overtime is a definite positive. Advertisement interference was pleasingly tolerable – especially when matched up against the adjacent screen carrying the Broncos and Texans. I did not witness any acts of poor sportsmanship and coverage by Sportsnet was good. Given my criticism of the NHL, some balance was due. A shout out to Big Al’s for your warmth as my host!