The NHL is always looking for ways to increase scoring and the most popular option involves shrinking the equipment worn by the league’s goaltenders. Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford has a different idea and it involves improvements to the playing surface.
Speaking with the Chicago Sun-Times, Crawford believes that the quality of the ice is the real key to increasing scoring.
“I’ve always thought the real issue isn’t goalie equipment. The issue is ice. If you can make ice like the way it is in Colorado, the way it is in Washington, Edmonton — you make the conditions like that for every game in every rink, guys are going to score. … Look at the Winter Classic, where plays are so much harder to come by. Guys are struggling with the puck on the ice, where they have to get their head down, to make sure the puck’s [settled] down. If those top players have their heads up, and don’t have to worry about where the puck’s going to be … it’s a massive difference. Massive difference between battling with the puck and making sure it’s going to be on the ice, and just playing.”
In summary, Crawford points out that the arenas with the best ice tend to feature more entertaining games with more scoring. The league’s talent will always perform their best when the ice is at its best, but the NHL will likely focus on shrinking equipment rather than trying to improve the ice in some of the most challenging arenas.
Crawford cited a recent game as an example for his argument:
“I don’t care how big your equipment is, if you can’t react to it, you’re not going to stop it, anyway,” Crawford said. “Like, how fast was that game in Colorado (a 6-4 Hawks win)? How fun was that game to watch? That was a fast game. You watch a game where the ice is just horse[bleep] — it makes a huge difference. It’s way more fun to watch.”
Crawford might be on to something, but the time and money needed to improve the ice in every NHL arena will probably kill his idea before it ever gains traction. Still, here’s hoping the league is working on new ways to keep the ice in better condition so that the league’s players can do what they do best.