Monday, August 25, 2008

Changing the NHL

Yahoo!'s Greg Wyshynski has been running a series all summer on "5 ways I'd change the NHL," and yours truly is up for the honour today.

And the commenters over there are merciless.

For the most part, I'm reasonably happy with the NHL these days, so I offered only a few well reasoned tweakings. My suggestions:
  1. No more empty buildings
  2. Put a second team in/near Toronto
  3. Slightly larger nets
  4. Lower the salary floor
  5. Play a shorter season
Other blogosphere entries lately have come from Tom Benjamin, Craig Custance, Mike Chen and Will Leitch.

Would be interested to hear others' suggestions.
.

42 Comments:

At 3:02 PM, August 25, 2008, Blogger wade little said...

While I agree completely with numbers 1, 2, 4 and 5 - making the nets won't make goalies any more acrobatic.

All you're going see is goalies watching pucks blast by. The scoring may have been down, but the excitement wasn't.

 
At 3:35 PM, August 25, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

I'm a bit of a purist, so I don't like changing the net size mainly on principle. But the other 4 are decent proposals, although 72 games is unrealistic if everything else seems status quo. Not sure what order I'd prioritize your suggestions, but I like #1 probably most of the suggestions anyways, so you got that right.

Want my suggestions?

1. Move towards a two tiered league.
Let's face it, expansion is inevitable and once the league hits 32 teams, the NHL will have reached maximum capacity in the current 1 league format. I hearby propose a shift to a more European style tiered alignment to maximize interest in the league, and also make European expansion a bit easier to accomplish. Expand the "NHL" to 40 teams, with two divisions of 20. Put 8-10 teams in Canada, 30-32 in the USA. Relegate 4-6 teams and promote 4-6 teams each year. Have teams from the top division play ones from the lower division throughout the year, but obviously weighted less.

2. Drop the roster size.
This should go hand in hand with any future expansion measure. Drop the maximum NHL roster to 20 or 21, and drop the amount of skaters from 18 to 16 dressed per game. Let's put the stars out there more often. As a bonus for the owners, this would drop the payroll of your team by about $1.5m or so a year. The NHLPA gets a couple new franchises for the newly "unemployed". It's a good balance.

3. Quit building cookie cutter arenas to bring back home ice advantage.
When all the new arenas were built in the 90's, they all got built to the same dimensions. Why? The Bruins' identity (big bad Bruins) largely evolved from the fact that their smaller arena size made physical play that much more a premium. The fans identified with it, and the Bruins were tough to play against at home. Now, with every rink the same size, you hardly even realize you're in a hostile environment. Have standards for exactly what size a NHL rink has to be, but I say have teams choose anywhere from the Boston Garden size to an international ice surface. 1 rulebook for gameplay, but 30+ different ice surfaces. If baseball can still have the Green Monster and a freaking hill in centre field, then hockey can still have variety in rink size.

4. Drop the delay of game penalty.
I don't want too many gameplay changes, but no one can ever explain to me why shooting the puck over the glass in your own zone is worse than icing it. I don't want to see icing be a 2 minute minor, so the solution is simple... if a team shoots the puck over the glass in its own zone, have them not be allowed to change lines... just like icing. I liked the icing rule change, and hated this glass rule even when it was just for goalies.

5. Mandatory visors and no touch icing.
I classify this as more safety first then gameplay, but both need to be done, and the sooner the better. If they have to use a grandfather rule for visors, fine. I'd prefer they didn't, but let's just get on the path to ending needless eye injuries. And while we're at it, let's not have any more end board crashes a la Foster and Michalek.

My first 2 assume expansion is inevitable. If it isn't, then those two don't need to really be discussed. #3 is probably my favourite.

 
At 3:41 PM, August 25, 2008, Blogger Jon said...

How would you make sure the buildings are full?

Maybe a promotion where you have until an hour before game time to buy tickets, then the remaining tickets become available. The catch? The remaining tickets are sold for the cost of 2 beverages in the arena and you get a coupon to that effect.

People would go for the deal, but to ensure seats the next time they'd have to buy actual tickets earlier.

Just a thought.

 
At 3:49 PM, August 25, 2008, Blogger FAUX RUMORS said...

Our 5 suggestiions:
a) We'd stop rewarding losing by eliminating the 'lottery' for the draft. Allow each team the same chance like the Crosby draft
b)Reduce goalie equipment to pre 1990 sizes. Also eliminate that silly trapazoid. Let golaies play the puck, BUT once they leave the crease make them vulnerabvle to body contact like any other skater!
c) Eliminate the instigator penalty as it currently exists. Give the 'instigator' an extra 2 minutes, but without the auto ejection
d) Reduce the season length.
e) STOP the insane practice of an automatic 4 or 5 min penalty if blood is drawn! If the stick foul deserves to be penalized more than 2 mins the fact that the skin of some players is more easily lacerated than others shouldn't be the determining factor. Its not even a written rule that they should do that!

 
At 4:01 PM, August 25, 2008, Blogger Going Five Hole said...

Faux, the 2005 lottery was sort of weighted and therefore each team did not have the same shot at Crosby.

You either had 1-3 ping pong balls depending on 1st picks and playoff appearances from the prior 3 seasons.

 
At 4:17 PM, August 25, 2008, Blogger Sig said...

1) Get rid of fights in the final five minutes rule. Fans used to stay because messages used to be sent. Now they all head for the doors early.
2) Expand playing rosters to 19. Need an extra tough guy... you got it. Need a shootout sniper... you got it.
3) Modify the instigator. A two and a five is all you need. No ten-minute misconduct as it really doesn't even hurt a team to lose an enforcer for ten minutes anyways. Up the number of instigators from three to at least five before a suspension is in order. This would have affected on guy last year... Godard. But at least players would feel comfortable policing the game.

 
At 4:17 PM, August 25, 2008, Blogger XsavagistX said...

sorry, but the "futbol" tier system SUCKS. the league isnt exactly brimming full of off-the-wall talent to sustain even 32 teams (but then later you say to SHORTEN the rosters, depleting the already liquidated talent level among MORE teams. something doesnt ADD UP). theres plenty of teams in the NHL right now that are bordering on AHL junk outside of a top line or some super stars. youre a fool if you think an expansion to 30-32 in the US teams is sustainable. the NHL is fine, if anything, DOWNSIZE it and dump teams and move a few to more sustainable markets. as expenses go up in the coming years because of energy scarcity, running leagues from top to bottom is going to become more expensive. thinking that expansion is infinite is hilarious and only lives in the abstract mind of economists. the NHL needs to think for the long-term and be realistic in its perspective for economic sustainability. its OK "now" as the revenue expanded but that will eventually peak and fluctuate; most likely decline a bit. theres only so much money the NHL can reel in against competing sports dollars and there isnt going to be another temporary Gretzky-like boost to the league with Fox Lazer pucks. the best thing they can do now is get more cash out of Canada right now.

and people are seriously wanting to dump the lottery? why? so the Red Wings can get John Tavares? why even have a draft? just let the players choose which teams they want to go to through agents and bidding wars. even MORE fun! the money never ends anyway! we'll have a 50 league team soon! Brian Burke will dump in his pants when he sees a 17 year old get a 5 million dollar a year contract before he plays a game.

keep the games the same, the goalie pads MORE NARROW. keep the rest of the game the same.

 
At 4:24 PM, August 25, 2008, Anonymous scott said...

Um, increase some of the fans ^ meds.

 
At 4:55 PM, August 25, 2008, Blogger dave said...

making the nets bigger isn't going to improve the quality of play, it would just artificially inflate goal totals. i don't really see the point of that, long term

 
At 5:03 PM, August 25, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

xsavagistx>> My reasoning for expansion with roster contraction is simple... one, there is demand for more than 30 NHL teams right now. James proposed one underutilized market, and I can think of a few more of the top of my head: Houston (insane that there isn't a team there), plus the mainstay expansion talk of Vegas, Winnipeg, KC, Quebec, etc. Anyways, the next step is obviously to 32, so one step at a time before tiered leagues come into play. Drop the roster size by 2 players and you cut the team operations costs you talk about rising. So each team is better off financially with 2 less players to pay, and the players only lose 18 potential jobs in the turnover (2 players per 30 NHL teams = 60, 2 full new 21 man rosters = 42). So, the talent level is actually bumped in a 32 team league in this case.

The two tiered system would imply a dropoff in talent in the 2nd tier... so the top tier (20 teams)is actually more talented than 1 league of 32 teams. And tiered leagues isn't a "futbol" only phenomenon, it is true of virtually every European sports league, including pro hockey. If you have the 16th-25th best team on the continent, the end of the regular season has a TON of meaning. Sure, you can't go from 40th to 1st in one year, but that's just the reality of the situation.

I'd keep the draft the same, so in a lot of ways the 2nd tier would be a lot younger than the 1st tier. Surely this would be more exciting for fans of the Panthers and Blue Jackets who can't seem to get close to making the playoffs.

 
At 5:12 PM, August 25, 2008, Anonymous degroat said...

"making the nets bigger isn't going to improve the quality of play, it would just artificially inflate goal totals. i don't really see the point of that, long term"

Making the nets bigger would make it easier to score a goal easier. That'll add more excitement (because of a greater chance of scoring) to each shot and it'll add more excitement to games because teams down a few goals would have a greater shot of coming back and winning the game.

As for some of the other suggestions... stop trying to fix things that aren't broken. The draft system works fine and the two tier idea is awful. Any system where a major league team becomes a minor league team in North America would fail miserably.

 
At 5:18 PM, August 25, 2008, Blogger Art Vandelay said...

The comments to the List on Wysh's site are classic:

...isn't it hypocritical to say expand the nets for more goals and then decrease the games so you get less overall goals/points? Come on Mirtle, think this through a little.

To the guy's credit, he spelled "hypocritical" correctly, so he can't be a total moron.

 
At 5:18 PM, August 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...the two tier idea is awful. Any system where a major league team becomes a minor league team in North America would fail miserably.

Agreed on that point. The ticket prices would have to drop astronomically if the team was relegated to the minors, and then how would it ever get any better to move back up?

Talk about attendance problems - wow.

 
At 5:56 PM, August 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Relegation system is horrible and that's why many leagues in Europe are trying to get rid of it. It's a tough go because it's been there forever and change is always tough.

But they will disappear in few years when difference in money between two levels reaches even higher mark.

 
At 6:01 PM, August 25, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

I'll leave one last comment on my suggestions and leave it at that for now...

I used to agree with the majority here that thought a tiered system couldn't possibly work. It's a major what if scenario, but when ideas like European expansion actually seem like they're being explored, I don't think it's so nutty. I think it's the only way that you can still have elite competition, broad North American expousre, and global reach.

But, I could be wrong. If the NHL remains North American and stops at 32 teams, I guess we're OK as is.

 
At 6:13 PM, August 25, 2008, Anonymous Gerald said...

Saskhab, your suggestion about obtaining savings from fewer roster spots is incorrect. The players are guaranteed a percentage of overall revenue. That percentage will apply regardless of how many players are on the roster.

 
At 6:17 PM, August 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favourite comments are after Craig Custance's column. One of his changes was to eliminate all the Canadian teams -- clearly a joke. But most of the leper commenters are ripping him like he was serious.

I mean, really. And to think these morons get to vote in elections.

 
At 6:28 PM, August 25, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

Saskhab, your suggestion about obtaining savings from fewer roster spots is incorrect. The players are guaranteed a percentage of overall revenue. That percentage will apply regardless of how many players are on the roster.

Would it be unreasonable to amend the CBA to account for this if such a stance were taken?

 
At 7:34 PM, August 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't see anyone changing the amount of revenue guaranteed to the players. The whole point of the lockout was (apparently) ;) to reduce the proportion of league revenues that went to payroll, because the owners claimed that something north of 70% of the revenues were going directly to player salaries, and they couldn't afford that - so they negotiated a lower number that would be hard and fast, so no matter how much the contracts were, escrow would keep the owners from spending like the proverbial drunken sailors.

I think the biggest problem with relegation would be ticket prices. I don't care how young and exciting a team is, if they are young, exciting minor leaguers I'm not paying major league prices - and if other people think the same way, their revenues will shrink, the team will remain crappy, the revenues of the league as a whole will shrink, and everyone will spiral toward the drain together.

On a positive note:

I'd like to see every team have at least two open practices each month so the fans can come and see their favorite players, with no admission fee - maybe a couple cans of food per person for a local food pantry, or a new or used children's book for a day care center as admission, or something.

I also wouldn't mind seeing the draft abolished entirely, and let players sign with whatever team they want to. If they want to stay around home, if the local team is interested, then they can. If they want to sign with a very good team because they think it will be the best move for their professional development, they can. If they want to sign with a bad team because they see an opportunity to play in the NHL right away, they can do that too. Not knowing where you are going to work when you start out your career is so college-fraternity-pledge-like. In every other profession people starting out in their careers don't get "drafted" by a particular law firm or tech company with no say in the matter themselves.

 
At 7:45 PM, August 25, 2008, Blogger Ebscer said...

How I would change the NHL...

Get rid of the puck over the glass rule,

get rid of the puck over the glass rule,

and also I would like to get rid of the puck over the glass rule.

(nine other rules as well)

 
At 8:06 PM, August 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>> Get rid of the puck over the glass rule, <<

I would like to see this watered-down -- no longer a penalty, but the offending team cannot change lines (like is done with icings now).

Cos some D-men are really good at making something intentional look accidental.

 
At 8:59 PM, August 25, 2008, Blogger Paul F said...

It's a little counter-intuitive, but ban the composite stick. Why take away one of the scorer's advantages?

1. Goalies have long resisted shrinking pads, pointing out that everyone and their mother can shoot the puck 95 MPH now. If you take away weapon #1 and restrict the booming shot to the Al MacInnises of the game you just may get some real change.

2. Fewer embarrassing broken sticks and broken plays. More scoring chances.

3. Fewer eye injuries. It's a lot harder to accidentally Dr. Hook an opponent with a flick of the wrist if that wrist is holding a hefty piece of lumber.

4. Money savings all around. Of course, this is the reason this would never happen. Nike wouldn't be very happy.

One rule, four improvements. Your welcome.

 
At 9:25 PM, August 25, 2008, Anonymous archleester said...

1. Every game worth the same number of points in the standings.I don't care how. whether its 3-2-1-0 ,straight wins and losses, or back to W-L-T.

2. More Canadian representation in NHL, definitely So. Ontario, maybe Winnipeg, possibly QC (but new arena needed). Either thru 2-team expansion and/or relocation.

3. More shots on goal. Further reduction in goalie equipment size. Leave the net alone.

 
At 9:59 PM, August 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The winning team should get one point (for the standings) for each goal they scored in the game. For example, a team that won 4-3 would get 4 points. A team that won 1-0 would get one point. No team would play the trap. I think that would be awesome. You couldnt completely give up on D, however, cause you still need to win (or you get no points). I would probably put a cap on the maximum number of points (not goals) -- say 4 or 5 per game.

 
At 10:00 PM, August 25, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Shots on goal are really the same as they've always been, even in the Gretzky era. They may, however, be of a lower quality given the improvement in defence/coaching strategies.

 
At 11:27 PM, August 25, 2008, Blogger itchit said...

@James - I agree with all 5. Probably why I enjoy your blog.
@Saskhab - I've long been a fan of your #3 idea!
To all who oppose bigger nets or rinks, Rumpelstilzchen said it best: "Bigger nets and a bigger rink make sense you yokles. It's like in ski jumping: if they didn't make a bigger landing area as the jumpers get better, the jumpers would land into the crowd."

For my own 2 cents: I'd like to find a way of fixing the goon fights the battles for the star "rescued princess" scenario which leads to casual viewers believing hockey fights are fake -ala pro wrestling. I find it way more exciting when Iginla and Lecavalier drop the gloves themselves. These fighters like Laraque are getting so huge one day they'll put a fist (minus boxing glove) right through the other guy's face.
How about forcing all the skaters on the roster to play at least 10 mins on ice. Then if a team wants to dress a goon they have to risk putting him on the ice for some goals against!

 
At 1:24 AM, August 26, 2008, Blogger Adam C said...

The quality of Wyshynski's commenters leaves much to be desired. He clearly made a sacrifice there when he left Deadspin.

Good ideas, James.

Saskhab: as a more reasonable commenter, can you explain how adding 5 cm to the width of the net affects the "purity" of the game? Especially given that you're in favour of non-standard rink sizes.

Paul F: 5 improvements. No more $500 sticks for nine-year-olds.

 
At 1:34 AM, August 26, 2008, Anonymous ]effadams#2 said...

1. Smaller goalie equipment.

Come'on! This is so simple. The idea of goalie gear is to protect the body, not cover the net. Can't we use kelvar or something.

2. Way less games in the season.

There is no reason that each team needs to play more than 40-50 games in a season. None.

3. No more TV timeouts.

This has to be the stupidest thing ever implemented in any sport. The game is supposed to be fast and flowing, not interupted every 6 minutes so a fat man's wife can tell me about Viagara.

4. Boards that have some give.

I do not enjoy watching men breaking each other's bodies against solid glass walls. Someone is going to die and it will be a PR nightmare.

5. Every team plays on Saturday.

One day of each week [heck, make it Wednesday] hockey junkies can get their big fix. If you are going to have 30 teams then you best show them all on the same day, or I may never see Phoenix, Calgary or Florida.

 
At 1:46 AM, August 26, 2008, Anonymous Slater said...

All of the comments regarding net size amount to not much more than alchemy; throw a bunch of crap in a pot, boil it up, and see if we get better hockey out of it.

In reality, nothing will happen until the AHL goes with it for a season and we can observe the effects. Only then can we make realistic judgements on the validity of changing the net size.

Of course, I've always felt that they should just make the puck smaller. That would totally solve a bunch of problems...

 
At 3:07 AM, August 26, 2008, Blogger Paul F said...

No more $500 sticks for nine-year-olds.

Or anyone else in my league! I can't be bothered to shell out that much, let's level the playing field!

And I have to sheepishly edit myself:
One rule, 5 improvements. *You're* welcome.

 
At 5:48 AM, August 26, 2008, Blogger Baroque said...

"My" suggestions (really my favorites from other people):

1. Realignment into four divisions (either eight or seven teams), top four from each division make the playoffs, and the playoffs go to a divisional format. True rivalries develop organically out of playoff series and the echoes in the following regular-season games, not out of force-feeding a team the same opponents over and over and over until the fans get bored.

2. Make the over-the-glass rule the same as icing.

3. Goalies are safe in the crease, but if they wander they can be hit. In my Mom's words, "either stay put in your cage or take a hit like a man!" :)

4. Toss the composite sticks. They break so much they limit player effectiveness - and what good is a hard shot if it misses so much that the boards beg for mercy? For many of the best players I would think a stick that was more durable and enabled them to handle the puck more effectively would be more desirable.

5. I concur on NO TV TIMEOUTS. It completely negates the negative effects of icing because the players can get a rest, and I love it when both teams are changing on the fly and the goalies don't freeze the stupid puck and there is non-stop action for minutes on end. There are already two intermissions for commercials, plus they can just put the corporate logo by the ubiquitious score box as I've seen in soccer. As a modern American, I've learned to tune out commercials - but like most sports fans, I am conditioned to glance at the little box to confirm the score, see how much more time is left in the power-play, etc. so that would actually be more effective.

6. Freeze all logo changes, color changes, third-jersey births, and jersey re-designs for the next five years. If it's a current classic keep it that way - if you have an ugly uniform, you're stuck with it for a while. This is getting ridiculous. :)

(And I'm glad someone else thinks the commenters leave something to be desired. I thought it was just me being an elitist.)

 
At 9:30 AM, August 26, 2008, Blogger mmmmm...beacon said...

Go back to the old names. Campbell and Prince of Wales. (And the old black and orange all star uniforms)

Adams, Patrick, Smythe and Norris.

Im sure we can come up with two other builders names to throw in there. How about the Bowman and Imlach divisions?

Thats what set the NHL apart for so long. No cheezy locational division names like every other professional sport.

 
At 9:32 AM, August 26, 2008, Anonymous PPP said...

(And I'm glad someone else thinks the commenters leave something to be desired. I thought it was just me being an elitist.)

Oh God no. The majority must have scraps on their knuckles from dragging them. My favourite is when Wyshynski puts up a guest post and the first five comments slam him for what the other person wrote.

 
At 11:25 AM, August 26, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

Saskhab: as a more reasonable commenter, can you explain how adding 5 cm to the width of the net affects the "purity" of the game? Especially given that you're in favour of non-standard rink sizes.

I don't know if it does, and some other sports have made similar changes. I'd equate baseball constantly tweaking the strike zone to a similar change, and basketball changing the height of the net as another one. Football doesn't really make these changes, unless you just compare the difference between American and Canadian football. Soccer flirted with a bigger nets idea back in the late 80's to open up the game, but decided against it.

Hockey has always been played on varying ice surfaces, and having every rink in the NHL have the same dimensions is a new phenomenon. I think my proposal is a bit more "traditional" than the current arrangement, although potentially letting the Oilers (as an example) build an Olympic ice surface would be a NHL change, for sure.

I'm more a rules purist than a league purist, as you can tell by my first proposal, and even then... it's just in anticipation of a potential global league, really.

The current roster size is also a relatively recent phenomenon. The 4th line didn't exist for a long time in NHL history.

 
At 11:38 AM, August 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, everyone else gets to post thier "5 ways" list. Screw it, I say!!!! Here's mine (which I think is a pretty darn good one)...

1) A win is 3 points, ot win is 2 points, shootout win is 1 point. if you lose, you get nothing, nada, zip - A lot of people complain that the current point system doesn't push players to play till the end...that they coast during the end of third just to pick up the gauranteed point. So what about eliminating the point altogether if you coast? What about rewarding a full team effort during the first 60 minutes and reduce the value of the shootout (aka - the glorified skills competition)? How's this scenario...a team can only make the playoffs if they win the last game of the season, and they have to do it within regulation because they need the 3 points. Tell me that wouldn't make for a killer end of season game!

2) No touch icing - I know the board of governors keeps rejecting the idea, but I really don't understand why. The games would go by a little faster and it's really pointless when some guy gets hurt becuase he's thrown against the boards while chasing after the puck. There really is no merit to this and no-touch icing needs to be implemented.

3) Invert the post inward - As a goalie, I hate it when people say "the goalies are too big!!". No, the goalies are better trained, better all around athletes, and the defensive systems clog up shooting lanes. But if you invert the post, there's no need to touch the goalie equipment. Shots that beat the goalies clean now count (as they should). No need to adjust the record books either.

4) Put the all-star game at the end of the season, have it during the same week as the entry Draft, and have award both to the same city - the host cities for the draft and the All-Star game always complain that they just don't get enough money from the hotels, shopping, etc. The ratings for the All-Star game are pretty low and make the regular season one week longer than it should be. So how about a host city that now has TWO events back to back!! The regular season gets cut down. The host city gets twice as many people going for more days. And the draftees get to see thier idols playing. How about a "draftee all-star" game where the projected top picks play an exhibition game before the All-Star game? Wouldn't they love the chance to up thier position in the draft by showing off thier talents against thier peers? Tell me you wouldn't want to see THAT game!!

5) First round of playoffs is a best of 5, the subsequent rounds are a best of 7 - A shortened post-season means the stanley cup won't be awarded in the middle of the summer. And at most, an owner may only lose two games from the season. Not bad if this spurs more interest in the game.

Ok, screw the "5" list. I got 2 more, beotches!!!

6) Phoenix goes back to winnipeg; Florida panthers go to seattle. then re-align. (if columbus doesn't show improvement within 3 years, they go to kansas city).

7) "NHL Films" - make a video production company similar to NFL films and create good films. There's a whole network available that's just screamin' for compelling storytelling about the NHL players, the organizations and fans. NFL Films is one of the reasons the NFL is as popular as it is today. Don't tell me the NHL can't pull off something similar.

 
At 11:38 AM, August 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, everyone else gets to post thier "5 ways" list. Screw it, I say!!!! Here's mine (which I think is a pretty darn good one)...

1) A win is 3 points, ot win is 2 points, shootout win is 1 point. if you lose, you get nothing, nada, zip - A lot of people complain that the current point system doesn't push players to play till the end...that they coast during the end of third just to pick up the gauranteed point. So what about eliminating the point altogether if you coast? What about rewarding a full team effort during the first 60 minutes and reduce the value of the shootout (aka - the glorified skills competition)? How's this scenario...a team can only make the playoffs if they win the last game of the season, and they have to do it within regulation because they need the 3 points. Tell me that wouldn't make for a killer end of season game!

2) No touch icing - I know the board of governors keeps rejecting the idea, but I really don't understand why. The games would go by a little faster and it's really pointless when some guy gets hurt becuase he's thrown against the boards while chasing after the puck. There really is no merit to this and no-touch icing needs to be implemented.

3) Invert the post inward - As a goalie, I hate it when people say "the goalies are too big!!". No, the goalies are better trained, better all around athletes, and the defensive systems clog up shooting lanes. But if you invert the post, there's no need to touch the goalie equipment. Shots that beat the goalies clean now count (as they should). No need to adjust the record books either.

4) Put the all-star game at the end of the season, have it during the same week as the entry Draft, and have award both to the same city - the host cities for the draft and the All-Star game always complain that they just don't get enough money from the hotels, shopping, etc. The ratings for the All-Star game are pretty low and make the regular season one week longer than it should be. So how about a host city that now has TWO events back to back!! The regular season gets cut down. The host city gets twice as many people going for more days. And the draftees get to see thier idols playing. How about a "draftee all-star" game where the projected top picks play an exhibition game before the All-Star game? Wouldn't they love the chance to up thier position in the draft by showing off thier talents against thier peers? Tell me you wouldn't want to see THAT game!!

5) First round of playoffs is a best of 5, the subsequent rounds are a best of 7 - A shortened post-season means the stanley cup won't be awarded in the middle of the summer. And at most, an owner may only lose two games from the season. Not bad if this spurs more interest in the game.

Ok, screw the "5" list. I got 2 more, beotches!!!

6) Phoenix goes back to winnipeg; Florida panthers go to seattle. then re-align. (if columbus doesn't show improvement within 3 years, they go to kansas city).

7) "NHL Films" - make a video production company similar to NFL films and create good films. There's a whole network available that's just screamin' for compelling storytelling about the NHL players, the organizations and fans. NFL Films is one of the reasons the NFL is as popular as it is today. Don't tell me the NHL can't pull off something similar.

 
At 1:01 PM, August 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Return to pre-lockout men's hockey but cut down hooking and holding.

I'd love to see that hockey played again. Tampa's Safe is Death and Calgary's Sea of Red. Oh, man!

Battles in the front of nets. Now we have five guys in there and all of them are watching puck basically in contact free zone.

Defencemen used to knock guys on their asses, now they are fronting. Headline news are now "#¤#&/ blocked shots???

Darva Gonger wanted her name back, I want my real hockey back.

 
At 3:40 PM, August 26, 2008, Anonymous Deaner said...

To me, I always thought one rule would fix most of what's "wrong" with the NHL, while pleasing the purists:

Go back to when the power plays didn't end just because someone scored. This rule existes back in the 50's (or 70's? forgive me, I'm younger than that), and was only instituted to cut back on those dominate Habs teams (part of the reason I can't remember which decade). Remove this rule, you get:
A) more scoring
B) less penalties
C) more exciting hockey because of A and B.

All this without affecting anything that wasn't there a short while ago. I still don't understand why this is rarely (if ever) mentioned among improvements in the game.

Thoughts?

 
At 3:41 PM, August 26, 2008, Anonymous Deaner said...

PS: James, in regards to this rule being dropped, do you hear anything about it? Could you drop a name or two of someone you may have heard mention it in the past? I'm curious if it's out there among those in the game.

Thanks.

 
At 5:03 PM, August 26, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1.Fire Bettman
2.Fire Bettman
3.Hamilton and Winnepeg
4.Fire Bettman
5.Did I mention fire Bettman

 
At 5:35 PM, August 26, 2008, Blogger Baroque said...

(And I'm glad someone else thinks the commenters leave something to be desired. I thought it was just me being an elitist.)

Oh God no. The majority must have scraps on their knuckles from dragging them. My favourite is when Wyshynski puts up a guest post and the first five comments slam him for what the other person wrote.


Thanks for the confirmation. I don't read his stuff very much and wasn't sure if they were all like that. :)

I like the all-star game at the end of the season, too, especially if there is some kind of a "prospects" game tossed in - but if the draft is awarded to a team that finished well out of the playoffs, what if they already melted down their ice on the rink months ago? It must cost to maintain the ice surface - and I can't see an owner who hasn't had any playoff revenue keeping the surface in good shape for an exhibition game.

Also no-touch icing. I've never seen it affect a college game in any way that I would consider negative.

And abandon the shootout. Just a stupid gimmick. (I think that's about ten things for me - but that's only 2 in binary!)

 
At 12:00 AM, August 27, 2008, Blogger Doogie2K said...

What the hell, I'll throw my hat into the ring.

 

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