Creating Controversy: Reducing NHL Roster Sizes

                               Jan. 25 2009 11:06 am


By: Lukas Hardonk

Lately, teams have been looking for players that will protect their more skilled ones.

Teams like Montreal (Georges Laraque), Toronto (Ryan Hollweg), and Ottawa (Jarkko Ruutu) all went out to get a tough guy, to protect their more skilled players.

However, lately it has appeared as though the game of hockey has almost become a little to fierce.

With all the discussion about hitting from behind, hits to the head, fighting, and more in the NHL, no one has done anything yet. And obviously we cannot just sit here and watch hit, after hit, after hit, going to the head, or coming from behind.

If only there was a way to decrease the chance of someone getting hurt in a fight, getting hit in the head, or even hit from behind.

Well, as I was watching the Leafs' game on January 16th, an idea that seemed pretty controversial was brought to my attention.

Reducing the size of an NHL roster.

Of course, if you were to reduce the size of an NHL roster, than the fourth line would no longer exist.

The fourth line is where most of the so called "goons" or "tough guys" play. You know, the guys that go out onto the ice and stir things up a little, by getting in a fight or laying out a big hit.

So with the desertion of the fourth line, we might not see those though guys. This means that the chance of someone getting badly hurt could go down.

However, the NHL would still be taking a risk.

If most of your players are skilled players - and you only have three lines - than the level of competition should increase, because the players will try even harder to crack a team's roster.

If the level of competition goes up, then the level of anger and tension will also go up. This means that those skilled players could become tough guys, because they will become used to fighting.

So reducing the amount of players that an NHL team is allowed to have on their roster, has to potential to make the game more violent. However, it also has the potential to make the game more safe.

Yes, fighting is a part of the game. Yes, hitting is a part of the game, and yes, if you take certain parts of hitting out of the game, than hockey might become a bit more boring to watch.

However, we all know that Gary Bettman needs to do something, before anyone else dies.

Maple Leafs Defense: Who's In and Who's Out

Dec. 11, 2008 3:16 pm EST.

With three injured defensemen expected back soon, the Maple Leafs have a jam on the back end, yet again.

Mike Van Ryn, who was injured on the 8th of November, should be back within a week, while Jonas Frogren, injured on the 22nd of November against Chicago, still has some time to serve on the IR, but should be back within three weeks. Luke Schenn remains injured after being hit by Alexander Ovechkin, but just like Van Ryn, he should be back within the week.

Once all three are back, the Maple Leafs are most likely to send down Jamie Sifers, and switch Ian White to forward, but they still have seven defensemen on their NHL roster, with six spots to fill.

The men on the bubble are most likely going to be Jonas Frogren and Anton Stralman. Jonas Frogren has not played every game possible anyways because of Van Ryn.

However, since Carlo Colaiacovo was traded to St. Luis, Stralman will most likey take the fall. The reason is because Carlo and Jonas were splitting time on the back end and Stralman has been filling the shoes of Carlo Colaiacovo. But since Stralman has played so well, he most likely will stay with the big club and split time with Jonas Frogren, who is a good, durable, and strong D-man.

But that doesn't mean that Mike Van Ryn has a safe spot.

What if Frogren and Stralman both start going on hot streaks? If they were to, then it would probably be Van Ryn (who has three goals and five assists) getting scratched.

Just look at their defense: Kaberle, Kubina, and Finger, are all safe. So once Luke Schenn (who is also safe) is healthy, which is only about a week away, and everyone else is healthy, this problem will take effect. Until then, the Maple Leafs are fine with their defense.

So, what I am trying to say here is that the Maple Leafs may be making some moves, mainly to their defense, as soon as the new year rolls around.