Through the first four games of their Eastern Conference semifinal, the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers have combined for 182 blocked shots.
If you're one of the many living in ever-present fear that the Dead Puck Era has just been laying dormant in the waters of the deep, waiting to rise once more like the phoenix (perhaps in Phoenix), watching scoring chances die on players' ribs and shinpads with regularity in this series has to alarm.
On Monday, Larry Brooks likened this strategic emphasis on sacrificing the body to the trap, that most evil of evils. From the New York Post:
The Rangers and Capitals will play a pivotal Game 5 tonight at Madison Square Garden in an eastern semifinal matchup that might otherwise be known as the Blocked Shot Series. Next to nothing gets through on either side, with both sides committed to doing whatever is necessary to prevent the puck from reaching the goaltender and in that way minimize scoring chances.
[...] The increase in blocked shots around hockey does not equate to an increase in commitment toward winning the Stanley Cup. It's just the latest strategy devised to negate talent, like the trap before the lockout that everyone hated with a passion.
Shot-blocking is indeed on the rise in the NHL, at least in the postseason. The total number of playoff blocked shots has risen every year since 2006-07, when the 16 teams combined for 1,140. In 2010-11, they combined for 1,522.
But 2005-06, the first year after the lockout, bucks that trend.Read More »from Capitals, Rangers and their shot-blocking: Troubling sign for the NHL playoffs?