Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The NHL is Back

and I actually watched a few minutes of it between innings of baseball playoffs. For all of you who are hockey fans, let me once again highly recommend Off-Wing Opinion by Eric McElain. He is both level-headed and energetic, making his blog an always interesting place to visit.

A number of people that I have read and listened to over the past few weeks have argued that the rule changes in the NHL have the effect of reducing the marginal physical product of size, of goonishness, of clutch and grab, etc. [They didn't actually say "marginal physical product" but that is surely what they meant. ]

The rule changes have altered the production function. Size matters less; speed, puck handling ability, and agility matter more. Here's Rico's take on it:
Slowing down all that hooking and grasping is letting new players into the league, which may explain why the [Toronto Maple] Leafs didn't go after many players....they have two such players: Kyle Welwood and Nicolas Antropov.

Welwood is the best player to never play in the NHL (been in the AHL for years). He is small, fast and extremely talented. In the preseason he has been the player creating the most chances. Antropov has been able to make the NHL in the past...but has not done well because of his size he was extremely easy to slow down using a stick like a grappling hook!

All teams have these players in the minors, and now these guys will get a shot (and will give their teams a huge ROI). I think we will see the average size in the NHL drop slightly and the scoring go way up.
One additional effect might be that if players are hooked, grabbed, and speared less, perhaps some of the fighting and roughing will also drop off.

If the new rules are effective, hockey might once again become fun to watch.

Update: Ms. Eclectic was surprised that I would watch any hockey, but I'd like to see the game become fun to watch again. Also, I'm not a big fan of the shootout, but I suspect I'm in the minority.
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