After the lockout, everyone talked about the new NHL, and how a premium would be placed on offense.
In the new NHL, we were told speed and talent would matter. Players would be free to actually play, and wouldn’t spend entire periods with sticks embedded in their abdomens.
It seems that crazy-sounding idea continues to blossom.
We’re finally in a position where offense matters in the NHL. Teams can still win with defense, but it better be really tight defense.
We’re seeing the importance of offense in the struggle of two teams: the Blues and the Lightning. Both teams are off to tough starts and both of those tough starts are related to their first-period play.
Tampa has just one first period goal this season, but has surrendered nine. St. Louis has just four but has surrendered nine.
The Blues are trying to figure out just where they lost their jump. I’m going to just jump in and tell Blues management the problem: you started the season in Europe. The Wings aren’t feeling it because of their depth. The Blackhawks because of their youth. And the Panthers aren’t feeling it because you can’t break a broken glass.
Of course, the Lightning have no excuse for their struggles. Coach Rick Tocchet is trying to get his team to focus on winning puck battles. And that’s a good start. But he also might look into getting them scoring, too. Maybe that’s phase 2.
Still, while it’s tough for teams like the Blues and the Lightning, it’s nice to see other teams looking to score early into games, rather than just trying to keep the puck away from the other team.