Friday, February 20, 2009
The Penalty Box
I took my girls ice skating the other day at a local rink. It was the free skate and there were a bunch of other kids there with their parents. It's school vacation week, so any fun activity that tires them out is a winner.
During a break on the boards my oldest asked me about the penalty box. Her question and my explanation got me thinking about how effective the penalty box is in hockey. The power play puts the penalized team at a distinct disadvantage... consider for a second that the best team in the NHL (Detroit) scores 28% of the time when on the man advantage. It's often a game-changing scenario and is always exciting for the fans.
So I got to thinking about what a penalty box would look like in other sports.
Baseball: If the pitcher hits a batter, the pitcher's team plays one player down until they're able to get an out. How would you play the field with eight players? Would good offensive teams be able to exploits the gaps? Would it be exciting?
Football: Personal fouls should include losing a player for the next play. Can you imagine seeing Tom Brady pick apart a team forced to play defense with ten players?
Basketball: No more flagrant fouls. Put the offender in a courtside "penalty box" for two minutes and make the offending team play one man down. How does a team play man-to-man defense when they're one man down?
Soccer: They've got it covered with the whole red card thing.
How else could the penalty box be a positive addition to team sports?
Cool photo at the top of this post is from neat1325's stream on Flickr.