I am convinced of something reference adjusting the ice (playing) surface to compensate for bigger players in order to score more goals.
To tactically change the game, you might think the overall intent is to increase the complexity of the ice for the goalie. If you get him to have to think in multiple directions simultaneously, you multiply his dilemmas and increase the possibility of him allowing a goal.
I would have thought increasing the distance behind the goal line (net) would have done it. This happened this year to some extent when the net was made shallower. The advantage now goes to the skater who can make a wrap-around faster than the goalie can move post to post.
So if you put more square footage behind the net, would the goalie not be drawn to both the back AND front of the net when a skater with the puck is behind it?
Not really. Most of the focus by Goalies is on the puck, or the belief of where it is, in relation to the net opening than what the options are for the next pass. More room behind the net WOULDe have the Goalie hugging the appropriate post until puck movement shifts. But the Goalie will continue to follow puck movement and still square up to the shooter once the disk comes back out front. That’s because where the puck is only becomes a true threat when you shoot it on net. It is also why Olympic-size ice is not the answer either.
Add to your lack of space for the puck finding the net the propensity to collapse back in toward the goalie and cut down on passing and shooting room. AND there is a going thought that goalies under six feet tall don’t even get much of a look if they are not touted as the next Dominik Hasik.
No, I am convinced now the only way to adjust the ice surface in order to score more goals is to increase the size of the net itself. Players are about 10% bigger than when the rules for rink dimensions were written, so I say the net opening increases about 10%. That would be roughly six inches higher and six inches wider. That, in my opinion, would be a prudent attempt to adjust for the ever shrinking net.
And for those who say the NHL, as one of the top three sports, tinkers with their sport way too much, I would remind you ours is the fastest of the four. That tempo requires a constant eye toward how the game looks. And when something does not look right, it requires adjusting.
So I say expand the net 6 x 6 inches to increase instances of one of the three things (besides a fight and a shootout / penalty shot) that brings fans out of their seats.