Last night the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime last night. The game is notable because of the strategical stalemate that took place during the first period. The Lightning employ a 1-3-1 defensive scheme that sits in the neutral zone until the opponent tries to advance the puck. To borrow from a sport I know a little more about – it’s not much of a full court press.
The Flyers called that defensive bluff and hung around in their defensive zone and basically executed hockey’s version of “come at me bro!” The Lightning didn’t flinch. The officials got bored and tried to find reasons to blow the whistle for face-offs. The only problem? The Flyers weren’t breaking any rules. So now hockey brains are reacting and wondering if the NHL needs to institute a shot clock.
What say you, Greg Wyshynski?
So what to do? Put a 20-second clock on teams in their own zone, mandating they skate or pass out of the zone in the time period or else face a penalty?
Well, then we might have teams skating over the blue line and then back into the zone, like a wrestler breaking a referee’s count by rolling in and out of the ring. You can’t be that specific about it.
Which is why the “Shot Clock” — and I can’t believe I’m saying this — needs to be up to the discretion of the referee, rather than a ticking countdown on the scoreboard. It needs to be a matter of intent.
Twenty seconds seems like a reasonable amount of time — enough for a line change, and to organize a rush. When we get to that point, the referee can use his discretion as to whether to penalize the team for delay of game or let the scene play out. But give him a tool that allows there to be consequences for inaction.
Makes sense to me. Especially considering how rare something like this is. What are the odds we see anything remotely similar to this again during the ’11-’12 season? I’d guess very low. Maybe it will happen again when the Flyers come back to Florida on December 27th? Other than that, I’d be surprised.