The 3 things Leif outlines as being needed to 'fix' the game are:
Leif wrote:Make all sticks 40-46 inches long--no more 6 foot poles.
Widen the pocket and make it lees deep so that an accurate and athletic check dislodges the ball.
The initial face off move must be away from the “X” and knee’s can’t touch the ground.
I whole heartedly agree with the 'widen the heads' point, as a long pole I shouldn't have to nearly kill the attacker with a feet firmly planted, lumberjack style swing that breaks my stick and his stick to dislodge the ball (even then it didn't work). I also shouldn't be able to dodge through traffic with the same pole and completely legal pocket, confident in the knowledge that unless somebody connects with the ball in the pocket from below its staying in there.
Is the face-off really broken? Changing it to a loose ball as he suggests does 'de-specialise' the position from a FOGO to anybody who can box out and do a good ground ball, but it is one of the unique parts of the game. remove this and the start of any period of play becomes more like ice/field hockey. what happens to the wingmen? are they allowed to just run in and flatten the opposition guy whose trying to get the ball, or would it be the same as currently, where you have to let them play until the ball comes out and how would a ref keep track of this? I might make the game more TV friendly, but at the cost of something that makes the sport more unique.
I don't like the idea of everybody having the same size stick, I enjoy playing pole far too much. also changing the head reduces many of the disadvantages(or advantages, depending on where you play) associated with them: easier to remove the ball from an opponents stick means less incentive to throw wild/dangerous checks, wider heads will make it more difficult to do accurate full field clears and swim through traffic with a stick that will leave keepers crapping themselves as it arcs through the air towards them (no disrespect intended to any keepers out there but would you rather face a shot from a short stick or a pole?).
Does removing them completely really create the kind of game we want to play? every player would have a 'match up' meaning that the best dodger on the team becomes the go to man for the offence, as he can just run round/through anybody he pleases, so nobody passes to anybody but him when he is on the field. Good for creating an 'all-star' team, bad for developing players skills/awareness and retaining them in what is very much still a minority sport. throw in a pole or 3 and then the offence has to work a bit harder, move the ball around as the best dodgers on the team have to either switch defenders or get shut down. I personally think that the quick passing game is the best kind of team game to play and watch, removing the poles doesn't really promote this kind of play.
I have not had the opportunity to play against/with a 6 pole defence, fun as it sounds from a D mans point of view. Also has the face off ever had a different format? I scanned the article again but couldn't see where/if I had seen it.
I do quite comfortably fit into his bracket of players with 6 years of playing experience who are resistant to change, but if as a group we ( the 'young-uns') are to help 'fix' the game as we have learnt to play it, move back towards the game as it was, we will need to understand exactly why the format we are progressing to is better, both for us as players and for the game as a whole.
just previewed that and realised I've written an essay, sorry.