It happened again watching the Detroit Red Wings take the Pittsburgh Penguins apart. It was like it was during the series between the Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks, witness to the devouring of an innocent by a skilled predator.
It was a very unpleasant game to watch as the Wings used the second period to devastate the Pens. I had to recall the second period game in the Hawks v Wings series in which the same thing had happened.
Here is how I see it happening on the ice. The second period, when there is a long change, the Wings get control of the puck in the offensive end of the ice. They use superior skill to move the puck around and, using one man changes, keep their line fresh. Meanwhile, the opposition, whether the Hawks or the Pens are unable to make the change needed to bring fresh legs to the defense.
Soon, the Wings have worn down the defenders and score. The opposition, which is almost always made up of younger players, wants to speed the game up, but the Wings slow it down. They wear away the young legs in the second period and gain an overwhelming lead.
At the end of the period the younger team has a shell shocked goalie and one line that is burned out. That line now needs greater rest going into the final period of play. The remaining lines are over extended and begin to wear. The wheels come off the younger team and you begin to see physical aggression.
This is a terrible way to play hockey. It is boring, defensive, you name it. I hope the Pens are able to pull it together and use the same key to take the game to Detroit, to make their defensive line wear down in the second period and finally collapse. It can't take much, the Wings is a team of old dudes. But it will take patience, which neither Chicago nor Pittsburgh has shown.
In any case, I've now walked away from more hockey games this year featuring this style of game play by Detroit than I have games since I started watching hockey. That is not a compliment to the new hockey.