The NHL for years has been seeking ways to increase scoring with limited success, largely because coaches implement defensive systems designed to slow down players and limit chances. If that’s the case, according to Bobby Orr, the league might as well bring back the red line and promote safety.
So says No. 4, in part, to TSN: “Guys are going through the middle looking back for passes, I think our game has become more dangerous.” Orr believes putting the red line back in play, thus eliminating two-line passes, would temper the pace. That alone would better protect players from high-speed collisions.
It’s difficult to argue with Orr, one of hockey’s all-time greats, but the red line was removed in the first place because the NHL was trying to create more open ice. The decision was made with the idea players could use their speed rather than be stuck in traffic often clogging up the neutral zone.
For years, I’ve suggested that the NHL keep the red line and eliminate both blue lines. It would create two zones rather than three, open ice through the middle and promote speed and skill. With no neutral zone, it would eliminate the neutral-zone trap.