Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Colour of the Goal

The NHL desperately wants to increase scoring in the league, but changes such as increasing the net size have been largely unpopular. An alternative idea would be to change the colour of the goal.

Resistance to the idea wouldn't be that great, but the real question is if it would actually make that much of a difference. A short paper published by ThePhysicsOfHockey.com supports the idea. The concept behind the change is that currently the most visually striking part of the net are the bright red posts. Currently players need to move off of the part of the goal that they look to first when they shoot the puck.

A proposed net (called the 8i goal) calls for a net with dull gray posts, and a net that is red on the inside and white on the outside. The idea is to take the focus off of the posts and onto the back of the net. Ultimately the idea is not to change the number of scoring chances in a game, but make more of those one touch chances to actually go in.

Theoretically it is a solid idea. Red is well known to be one of the most recognizable colours, and doctors support at least the theory behind it. The concept is well known in Soccer, where goalies have long worn colours and patterns that they believed would help draw the shooters attention towards shooting towards them. Which of course draws the question, if after a season everyone gets used to shooting towards the red, would goalies start to place red patterns on their pads to try to draw potential scorers into shooting there instead?

The NHL might be willing to check this out, at least in a preseason game or practices to start with. During the lockout the Sabres played around with the idea of playing on blue ice (with orange lines), and while that idea was not adopted this idea may be seen as being even less radical.

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