Is the NHL in Danger of Becoming Caught in a “Trap” Again?

May 10th, 2010 by Mark Ritter Leave a reply »
Just five years ago, nearly every NHL team had adopted some form of “the trap,” a 1-2-2 forechecking system, to better compete in the NHL. The idea was to shut down opposing offenses by clogging up the neutral zone. This effectively minimized, if not nullified, the opponent's ability to light up the lamp.

For the most part, the system worked. In fact, the 1994-95 and 2002-03 New Jersey Devils, 1998-99 Dallas Stars and 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings all turned the trap into Stanley Cups.

NHL Fans often felt cheated when exposed to the trap (a.k.a 'the left wing lock'). They were forced to watch hockey typically void of scoring, creativity, speed and flow. In the end, NHL hockey became a complete bore, causing some NHL fans to stay away en masse.

To thwart NHL GM’s premium on systems (specifically the trap) instead of skill, the NHL instituted several rule changes which made it more difficult for teams and players to successfully run the trap.

One of the major instituted rules reduced the neutral zone form 54 to 50 feet. The rule allowed for improved shooting angles, gave offenses more ice with which to be creative and incr ...

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