Defensemen struggle in the new NHL, because for their entire life they could use their stick illegally -- to a greater or lesser degree. Now they can't at all. They have to play the opposing forward as if they have no stick in their hands so they are required to mirror him perfectly. Actually, they must also learn to poke-check again, something that's been missing for thirty years.
By Jack Blatherwick, Ph.D. / Physiologist, Washington Capitals Hockey Team.