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Power Take: Fewer goals means even Stanley Cup playoffs suffer

Watching the Stanley Cup playoffs is starting to feel like watching the U.S. Open golf tournament. There’s too much randomness, not enough skill rewarded. Yes, this is another complaint about not enough scoring in the NHL, even though there is zero chance Gary Bettman & Co. will do anything about it.

Sure, upsets are exciting. But too many lesser teams tend to get too far in the NHL. The regular season is TOO utterly meaningless.

In golf, the high rough at the U.S. Open negates sublime talent. The result has been too many mediocre champs (Michael Campbell, Lucas Glover, etc.). In hockey, the offensive skill players need to be rewarded more. Aside from the uptick after the lockout, the NHL has hovered around 2.7 goals per game per team since 1998. The sweet spot is 3.00 goals per game, which is where it was (or higher) from roughly 1960 to 1997. Bigger goals, smaller goalie pads. Do whatever it takes. It’s a great game. The players are as skilled as ever. Too bad the games aren’t as exciting as when Bobby Hull, Guy Lafleur, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux were in their prime.