NHL Stars Won’t Shine Until League Puts a Premium on Skill

by | Feb 3, 2021 | News, NHL | 12 comments



  1. NHL is not solely about watching the so called stars (aka Prima Donnas) skate shoot and score! Its a team game, all elements are meaningful. Fighting, checking, even trash talking.. We need less hands off and more checking and fighting . Old time hockey not figure skating hockey.

    • Tony,
      I have to agree. I’m big on defense. I was a goalie. When I’m teaching my grandchildren, yeah it’s great to score, but the defensive aspect is important. Why do most coaches in the NHL want the “complete game? Because it works, as in life, we all want to be well rounded.

  2. Refs are doing the same thing they always have except increasing the ticky tacky calls, the lack of consistency was always there.

    Each team had a ref or two they reviled for being biased against them ( not necessarily correctly),

    The game is played by bigger faster guys with better lighter equipment and rule changes made to speed up the game allowing two line pass with the elimination of the red line,limiting the goalie puck retrieval behind the net and added a ref etc

    Premier players were protected, not by the refs but by the players, enforcers ensured the clear passage for the stars and they have been removed from the game for the most part.

  3. Not much I agree with in that article. I like team play and appreciate defense. Thats what makes hockey special.

    Implying that there is more consistency in NBA officiating than NHL officiating or that they always make calls by the written rules is just not true. Same for the NFL. I prefer all of the players play by the same rules and that the stars do not receive preferential treatment.

    NFL announcers frequently say how nice it is that they are letting the players play. The most entertaining and easy to watch games do not have excessive penalties or fouls.

  4. Wow that was a bad article… Sounds like the frustrations of an EDM resident who wants to make hockey a one way game again so they can win once in a while. I get it… Still stuck in the old days of #99
    I am as well, I miss the old ways of The Hammer #8, but you won’t catch me trying to change the rules to fit our team skill set… Adapt or go home early.

    Oilers don’t miss the playoffs because the game is unfair, they miss it because year after year they suck at picking first. And defense…

    The article missed the biggest skill there is…
    Tenacity. It overcomes everything while compensating for a lack of anything. I’ll take number #9 over #99 any day of the week…

    • Bob Duff resides in Windser Ontario.

  5. Agreed. The game is in an awkward transition point. Most GMs have learned from sabermetrics that enforcers were overvalued, and that you’re almost always better off drafting the skill player. Fighting is down, but star players are still spending too much time on IR. It’s a tough game, but there’s a lot of cheap stuff that needs to be cleaned up.

  6. Although I don’t agree with the premise of the article, that’s probably one of the better peices I’ve ever read from Duff.

  7. I disagree with the overall opinion of the article. Goals are not exclusively what makes NHL entertaining, it’s just one ingredient.

    I’d rather see spectacular offense (goals, plays, rushes) and spectacular defense (blocks, steals, checks) and spectacular goaltending than watching hockey games with scores similar to NFL

    5-6 goals in a game from a team, crushed it. To see a team score 20+ goals? I’ll just check the score on the news and watching something else on Netflix

    Just my opinion in that as athletes progress generation to generation, making the sport easier so that they can score doesn’t showcase skill, it does the exact opposite

  8. Also chiming in my disagreement with most of this. The one point I agree with is consistency as I do agree that there needs to be more consistency in the officiating from period to period and regular season to post season. BUT:
    1. Wayne Gretzky and Co. were great in the exact same (or worse) circumstances. The great players find a way to make it happen.

    2. To say it takes no talent to block shots is ridiculous.

    3. Some of the BEST games to watch are games that end 1-0; not always of course. These can be incredible games of skill-on-skill

    This piece sounds like an argument for eliminating the goaltending position so that we can have 21-17 game scores. It completely lacks appreciation for the nuances and spirit of the game while arguing for the soulless products of the other leagues.

    • Well said, SCJ.

  9. Totally misguided article. NHL (read “hockey”) cannot be compared to any of the listed leagues (sports). Hockey is a true team-oriented sport where individual stars are incapable to win a Trophy single-handedly, without a coordinated play of all teammates. Best example, the “Red Machine” in 1980s. All talented players on that team played like a TEAM (“Star-Team” not a “Team of Stars”) and beat, repeatedly, The Great One & Associates. Checking and hitting and, YES, blocking, are important and must remain the part of the game.