A marvelous article from Justin Bourne of Puck Daddy. Click the link below for the rest of this gem.
From the mid 1990s to the pre-lockout 2000s, hockey players trying to create offense basically had one goal when they didn’t have a clean look at the net: cycle the puck.
It was an era of hooks, holds and grabs which made getting to the net like slogging through a gauntlet set in quicksand, so your best bet was to maintain possession in the corner for as long as possible and hope for a breakdown, preferably in the form of simultaneous ankle injuries to both opposing defensemen. THEN you might have some room to create something.
After defenders had the ability to mindlessly pin a guy to the boards with a knee between his legs stripped from them — how in god’s name was that ever allowed? — we didn’t immediately see a change in that offensive strategy. Players continued to cycle the puck, only it looked more like some hot NASCAR action rather than something a hockey team should be doing in an attempt to score hockey goals.
I distinctly remember a college game in which our line cycled the puck for a good nine bump-backs and feeling a touch absurd, like we were still using some archaic premise that felt outdated in modern times, like using “thus” in writing.
Thus, something had to give.