NHL: If it ain't broke, stop fixing it!
I have been watching the greatest game on earth (Ice Hockey) for a little over a decade now. Unfortunately, I feel the NHL has made many unnecessary changes over the last few years. For example, what is going on with OT? I am what many people would call a traditionalist. I would like to see the game of hockey changed as little as possible. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman doesn’t seem to agree with me and every year he comes up with a dozen ways to change it. The following are a couple examples of recent changes he has made:
4 on 4 Ot Hockey- “Why?” This is what every new fan asks me when I try to explain why a game would suddenly change from 5 on 5 hockey for 60 minutes to 4 on 4 for 5 minutes. The answer most would give is time and space. Time? If time is such a major concern in Overtime then why is it only played for 5 minutes? Look at any of the major sports (Football, Basketball, Baseball) they pretty much play until a winner/loser is decided. Why is this? Because no one wants to watch a tie. Too many ties is one of the NHL’s biggest problems and don’t even get me started on Regulation Ties. Does anyone know how many ties there has been in the NFL? One, maybe two. No not in a season in the history of the entire sport.
Solution: 20 minutes of Sudden death O.T (5 on 5). Even the most defensive minded team has trouble stopping an opponent for an entire period.
Expansion to Atlanta, Nashville, Columbus-
Don’t get me wrong I have no problem with any of these cities having NHL franchises. I think the problem with expansion in the NHL was too much too soon. There just isn’t enough talent to fill that many teams. Every year you see more and more players, most have never heard of, filling the rosters of your favorite NHL teams. It has gotten so bad teams have started to recruit retired players that couldn’t hack it years ago and can’t hack it now (see: Alexander Daigle).
Solution: Stop expanding damnit!!
Goaltender crease? What crease? This will go down in history as “What the hell was Gary Bettman thinking?”. Players in the NHL several years ago couldn’t seem to get their fat feet out of the goaltender crease and dozens of goals were disallowed. This rule, which has probably been around since the beginning, somehow disappeared from the rule book a couple years ago. Does anyone smell white-out? Instead of making players learn the rules he is perfectly happy changing the rules in any way to bring about higher scoring.
Solution: It’s the decade of the goaltender. Stop expanding and your talent pool with catch up. The goals will follow.
I could go on forever, but I won’t. I hope everyone enjoyed my first article. Please send me comments.