Tim Murray thinks NHL goal-scoring crisis is ‘media driven’

Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray talks about NHL free agency during a press conference announcing the signing of Jack Eichel to a three-year, entry level contract with the team at the First Niagara Center Wednesday July 1, 2015, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)
Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray talks about NHL free agency during a press conference announcing the signing of Jack Eichel to a three-year, entry level contract with the team at the First Niagara Center Wednesday July 1, 2015, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

The semi-annual handwringing over the state of goal-scoring in the NHL has produced renewed talk about smaller goalies, bigger nets and a permanent state of 4-on-4 hockey. 

You may have read about some of these concerns in the hockey media. Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray has, and told the Associated Press this week that the “crisis” is very much a media-driven creation.

"Just to the press. To me, it's not," said Murray. "I don't think it's GM-driven, so I guess I should ask you that question rather than you ask me. Why is it media-driven?"

Of course, it’s hard to say the offensive deficiencies in the NHL a “media driven” campaign when you have guys like Mike Babcock spouting off about giant goalies and the need for bigger nets at every turn.

As writer John Wawrow notes, the 5.26 goals per game averaging entering Tuesday night was the lowest in 11 years during that same span of games.

But Murray’s not in favor of bigger nets. What he’s in favor of, and it’s a very good point, is that offense needs to catch up to defense, in both philosophy and coaching.

"Our coaches have to come up with offensive schemes to match defensive schemes," Murray told the AP. "And obviously, it's easier to coach defense than it is to coach offense. So we're not there yet."

And that’s the million dollar question in the NHL. Skaters have been surpassed by goalies in training and technique. In theory, that can change through innovation. But when coaches essentially see the path to a championship as one that crosses through their own defensive zone, it’s going to take a rethinking of the game to generate more offense.

Of course, we could just go back to 2-minute majors, have every game end 4-3, and be done with this debate…

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Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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