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jl-1

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There used to be a thread on that, but I searched and couldn't find it. It must have been archived.

I love this game, and we all do otherwise we wouldn't be spending the time that we do on here. It's one thing, in spite of the odd disagreement, that we all share, along with our passion towards the Canadiens. But there are things that truly are bugging me about it that I feel should change, hopefully for the better. In my opinion, here they are:

Commissioner

Don't see this as a racist comment, but Gary Bettman must go. He's an American who didn't know anything about the game, was put in a position that he's not qualified for, and he's ruining the game little by little. Whether it's though over-expansion, rules changes, killing TV deals in the states, not much that he's done has improved the game. He'll claim having expanded the league to 30 teams. I was looking at
over the years and it's not pretty. Count them, 13 teams draw less than 17,000 fans at each home game, and 5 of them can't draw 15,000! He's building on sand instead of working on the foundation. Instead of using expansion as a source of revenue for the league, he should try finding ways to make it work in the existing markets, otherwise everything will come stumbling down, especially going into a questionable economy! I'd like to see a Brian Burke, Scotty Bowman or Ken Dryden at the helm, people who know the game, people who understand the game and people who would guide this league to where it should be, instead of making look like a Mickey Mouse league.

Instigator rule

The referees, the league simply can't handle the discipline. Let the players police themselves in removing the instigator rule, the worst rule in hockey. Knowing that they are protected by rules, some players are taking liberties knowing too well that no retribution will come their way. If someone takes a shot at someone's head, let the players teach him a lesson instead of penalizing them for defending a teammate! He'll think twice before doing it again. Of course though, referees would have to use discretion so that goons don't go after star players for no reasons, but that's much less of a problem than the other problems the instigator rule creates.

Shootout

Can we please get our game back instead of trying to lure fair-weather fans? The NBA doesn't decide games with free-throws. The NFL doesn't decide games with field goals contests. MLB doesn't end games with a home-run derby. I don't like soccer and I don't watch it more because they have shootouts. Leave the skills competitions where they belong, at the all-star game. I remember when it was exciting to see a penalty shot during a game... not anymore, the novelty has worn off!

Here's what I'm proposing: The BCHL has been using a format that works! Play the first OT for 5 minutes at 4 on 4, as we know it. If it's still tied, then proceed with 5 minutes at 3 on 3! Before flying off the handle here, hear me out. For one, it's still a team game instead of a one on one. Second, I wasn't a fan of the idea until I got to experience it watching the BCHL for 10+ years now. You can have the most boring hockey game, the last 10 minutes of OT make up for it. And that's at the junior level, can you imagine with NHL players? I'd be curious to know what former BCHL players like Duncan Keith, Chuck Kobasew, Brendan Morrison, Paul Kariya, Travis Zajac or Kyle Turris would say about the idea.

Here are some very interesting stats to backup the idea:

  • In the past 5 seasons, the BCHL has seen 2,520 regular season's games
  • Off those games, 399 were decided in OT, either at 4 on 4 or at 3 on 3
  • Only 58 games in 5 seasons ended in a tie, about 2% of all games played!
What does that mean? At the NHL level, if there are 1230 NHL regular season's games x 2% = 24.6 games or 0.82 tie games per season per team! Now if the NHL can't live with that, I don't know what's wrong with them.

No-touch icing

This is long overdue and I don't know what the hold-up is when GMs and Governors meet. It's a huge safety issue and a stall tactic. I love the new rule where the team icing the puck can't change, along with the new "No TV time-out" after an icing, but no touch is a must!

Two referee system

Time for the NHL to realize that it is simply not working. First of all, there is no room on the ice. How many times do we see referees in the way of the play? Players are bigger and faster, the ice is the same size, yet we add an obstacle?

Then there's the problem of having two different judgements on the ice, calling two different games. It creates huge frustration for the players, coaches and the fans as there is no consistency within the same game! How many times have we seen a referee making a decision not to call a penalty on a play right in front of him, only to see the other referee who's 100 feet away raise his arm to call it? At least with one referee, it's the same consistency within the game and seeing who's refereeing, everyone knows what to expect for that game! If the play is too fast, allow linesmen to call a bit more. They already can blow the whistle for too many men on the ice and they can go to the referee to inform him of a high stick or spearing. Simply allow them to blow the whistle on those and voila, some of the problem is solved.

Contraction

The talent is too diluted across the league and too many players are in the NHL and shouldn't be, including past prime veterans. Preferably, I'd like to go down to 24 teams but it's unrealistic. I think that if we contracted two teams and went down to 28, it would be a step in the right direction. Atlanta and Florida would be my choices. I would also relocate two other franchises: Nashville and Columbus to Winnipeg and Quebec City. I think that both those franchises, under a salary cap and revenue sharing, could work better than in non-traditional hockey market. Then go with 4 divisions of 7 teams each.

Playoffs' format

With 28 teams, 4 divisions of 7 teams each, use the divisions and conferences for scheduling purposes, but go back to the overall standings for playoffs. First againsts 16th, second against 15th, third against 14th and so on. Yes there could be a bit more traveling, but that's the luck of the draw. This would allow for the possibility of a Toronto-Montreal, Edmonton-Calgary or NY-NY Stanley Cup finals.

Suggestions to increase offense

We need to stop the non-sense of making the nets bigger, preventing players from blocking shots (no disrespect intended to Bob Gainey who's at least trying something different), keeping goalies in their crease, smaller equipment, etc. What's next? Put a blindfold on the goalies and they'll have to play by feel and rely on their hearing? The one compromise I'd be willing to do is to go back to the old days, when the PP lasted a full 2 minutes regardless if the team scored or not. Not perfect, but better than what we've been reading and hearing!

There you have it, my very own NHL. What's yours or what are your ideas?

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JL, I agree and disagree with some of those:

Bettman: As a Canadian fan he's frustrating, but his job isn't directly to act on behalf of the fans, it's a representative of the owners. He nearly ruined the league in the 90s, however, he redeemed himself from the lockout forward. Revenues have skyrocketed the past four seasons under his leadership. While long term who knows if it's sustainable, he's been doing a great job the past few seasons, so he isn't going anywhere.

Also, expasnsion, while he can lobby for or against it, is not his decision, it must be voted on by the board of governors. In fact, I'd say he was told to draw up an expansion plan by the owners. So it's tough to blame him for just doing his job.

Instigator: I'm fine when players take "liberties" with not giving out instigator penalties. My problem is we're starting to see players going after others for perfectly legal hits. You should be able to throw a hit without having the crap beaten out of you. I also don't want to see less hitting in the game as a result of this (if players start being afraid to throw hits). I am against getting rid of it, but I may be open to an idea hwere the refs could use their discrtion: if the attack was in response to something illegal, don't give an instigator penalty. However, if it is in response to something that was part of hockey, give the penalty.

Shootout:

I agree, although must say the shootout has been good for less traditional fans. I also don't like your conclusion: "What does that mean? At the NHL level, if there are 1230 NHL regular season's games x 2% = 24.6 games or 0.82 tie games per season per team!". I don't think you can apply the junior stat to the NHL due to the sheer difference in talent level (goaltenders and team defense).

No-touch icing Agree, we either need no-touch icing or a hybrid solution where icing only waived off if it is clear the player is winning the race to the puck

Two referee system: Disagree, I think this solves more problems than it causes. While there are always going to be issues, one ref simply can't see enough. In the olympics where there's one ref, the calls are more inconsistent than with two.

Contraction:

I'd like contraction, but it will never happen. As well, while it would be nice for Winnipeg and Quebec to have teams, I don't believe it financially makes sense long term. When the economy is good and Canadian dollar high, they could compete. But if the salary cap keeps rising, the dollar falling, and economy in worse shape, they will become the same struggling franchises we want to relocate there. The only place in Canada that can probably support more teams long term is Southern Ontario. We need either another Toronto or a Hamilton team.

Playoffs format: Not sure, would be interesting

Suggestions to increase offsense:

Agreed. Another decent one though is making it so that the puck must be cleared from the zone before calling a penalty, instead of the infringing team just needing to get possession of the puck. It should increase goals and give another reason for teams not to take penalties.

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Quebec City area is just a bit larger than Winipeg which is just a bit larger than Hamilton:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_1...areas_in_Canada

The thing is though Hamilton has tons of cities to pull fans from: GTA fans (population: over 5 million) who can't get leafs tickets, K-W-Cambridge (population: half a million), London (population: close to half a million), and a bunch of other cities.

The actual population of the city isn't as important as the total fan base you have access to.

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Bettman: As a Canadian fan he's frustrating, but his job isn't directly to act on behalf of the fans, it's a representative of the owners. He nearly ruined the league in the 90s, however, he redeemed himself from the lockout forward. Revenues have skyrocketed the past four seasons under his leadership. While long term who knows if it's sustainable, he's been doing a great job the past few seasons, so he isn't going anywhere.

How much of the revenues going up are due to the Canadian dollar? We'll see in the next financials I guess, especially that it was reported that 60% of the NHL's revenues is Canadian.

Instigator: I'm fine when players take "liberties" with not giving out instigator penalties. My problem is we're starting to see players going after others for perfectly legal hits. You should be able to throw a hit without having the crap beaten out of you. I also don't want to see less hitting in the game as a result of this (if players start being afraid to throw hits). I am against getting rid of it, but I may be open to an idea hwere the refs could use their discrtion: if the attack was in response to something illegal, don't give an instigator penalty. However, if it is in response to something that was part of hockey, give the penalty.

I shiver at the though of adding more to the "referees' discretion". :D

Shootout:

I agree, although must say the shootout has been good for less traditional fans. I also don't like your conclusion: "What does that mean? At the NHL level, if there are 1230 NHL regular season's games x 2% = 24.6 games or 0.82 tie games per season per team!". I don't think you can apply the junior stat to the NHL due to the sheer difference in talent level (goaltenders and team defense).

If anything, I'm thinking that the percentage would be even less. Yes the goaltenders are better but so are the scorers. Teams with offensive defensemen like Lindstrom, Markov, Campbell, would be at a huge advantage. I have a feeling that there would be even fewer tie games than in the BCHL, and the excitement and entertainment factors would be outstanding.

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Sorry, I had too many quotes and had to make two posts.

Two referee system: Disagree, I think this solves more problems than it causes. While there are always going to be issues, one ref simply can't see enough. In the olympics where there's one ref, the calls are more inconsistent than with two.

In international play, the refereeing is worse all the time. Part of the problem in the NHL is that you have referees who don't belong. Some should be retired and others are either not ready or the level of play is simply over their abilities. Cutting down would allow for only the best referees to work.

Suggestions to increase offsense:

Agreed. Another decent one though is making it so that the puck must be cleared from the zone before calling a penalty, instead of the infringing team just needing to get possession of the puck. It should increase goals and give another reason for teams not to take penalties.

I like that idea as well. Maybe do both?

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The thing is though Hamilton has tons of cities to pull fans from: GTA fans (population: over 5 million) who can't get leafs tickets, K-W-Cambridge (population: half a million), London (population: close to half a million), and a bunch of other cities.

The actual population of the city isn't as important as the total fan base you have access to.

and the Niagara Region (my area) just under 500,000.

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i was thinking about that making you have to clear the zone if u take a penalty thats a great idea

i agree with pretty much everything jl posted which is rare :P but damn good change of rules id be down for it 100%

most of the time the refs blow the whislte and the penalized team did not have control sooo yea a clear way of control is clearing the zone or maybe a 5 second puck possesion

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Who does Bettman work for? You're right, the owners. :)

That's my point, he's just the face of the owners, he really doesn't have all the power people assume. If it wasn't Bettman, it would be someone else, but the owners/board are really who controls that sort of thing.

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How much of the revenues going up are due to the Canadian dollar? We'll see in the next financials I guess, especially that it was reported that 60% of the NHL's revenues is Canadian.

I shiver at the though of adding more to the "referees' discretion". :D

If anything, I'm thinking that the percentage would be even less. Yes the goaltenders are better but so are the scorers. Teams with offensive defensemen like Lindstrom, Markov, Campbell, would be at a huge advantage. I have a feeling that there would be even fewer tie games than in the BCHL, and the excitement and entertainment factors would be outstanding.

Who's "Lindstrom"? :huh:

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In international play, the refereeing is worse all the time. Part of the problem in the NHL is that you have referees who don't belong. Some should be retired and others are either not ready or the level of play is simply over their abilities. Cutting down would allow for only the best referees to work.

I still think there is just too much going on for the one ref, especially now with the crackdown on small infractions like hooking. Of course there are times when you say "stupid two refs", but I think this is outweighed by the good it does

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I still think there is just too much going on for the one ref, especially now with the crackdown on small infractions like hooking. Of course there are times when you say "stupid two refs", but I think this is outweighed by the good it does

Fair enough, it's totally debatable both ways with good points on both sides. I just don't like the inconsistency during the same game.

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Shootout

Can we please get our game back instead of trying to lure fair-weather fans? The NBA doesn't decide games with free-throws. The NFL doesn't decide games with field goals contests. MLB doesn't end games with a home-run derby. I don't like soccer and I don't watch it more because they have shootouts. Leave the skills competitions where they belong, at the all-star game. I remember when it was exciting to see a penalty shot during a game... not anymore, the novelty has worn off!

Here's what I'm proposing: The BCHL has been using a format that works! Play the first OT for 5 minutes at 4 on 4, as we know it. If it's still tied, then proceed with 5 minutes at 3 on 3! Before flying off the handle here, hear me out. For one, it's still a team game instead of a one on one. Second, I wasn't a fan of the idea until I got to experience it watching the BCHL for 10+ years now. You can have the most boring hockey game, the last 10 minutes of OT make up for it. And that's at the junior level, can you imagine with NHL players? I'd be curious to know what former BCHL players like Duncan Keith, Chuck Kobasew, Brendan Morrison, Paul Kariya, Travis Zajac or Kyle Turris would say about the idea.

Here are some very interesting stats to backup the idea:

  • In the past 5 seasons, the BCHL has seen 2,520 regular season's games
  • Off those games, 399 were decided in OT, either at 4 on 4 or at 3 on 3
  • Only 58 games in 5 seasons ended in a tie, about 2% of all games played!
What does that mean? At the NHL level, if there are 1230 NHL regular season's games x 2% = 24.6 games or 0.82 tie games per season per team! Now if the NHL can't live with that, I don't know what's wrong with them.

I'd like to add to this... Two points for the winner, no point to the looser, whether the game is decided in regulation time, 4 on 4 OT or 3 on 3 OT. In the rare occasion when the game ends in a tie, it's one point each, like the good old days as they will have earned it!

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  • 2 months later...

Shhhh ... no one tell Roberto Luongo that the NHL is monkeying around with widening the nets again.

Please recall that the Vancouver Canucks goalie famously threatened in 2007 to quit the NHL if the League decided to expand the size of the scoring area behind him. From the Vancouver Province in Sept. '07:

"I've been working 20 years at a game I love trying to improve myself and to start over from square one is not something I'm interested in," Luongo said at today's morning skate. "It changes everything for the goalie and it doesn't, in my mind, bring more excitement to the game if the nets are bigger and guys score from the blueline."

Granted, much of the scuttlebutt back then involved a "soccer-sized" increase between the pipes, which some believed was a scare tactic floated to get the NHLPA to decrease the size of goalie equipment as the lesser of two evils. But the less extreme idea of changing the size and shape of the goalposts in juice scoring has been kicked around since 2005, when goalies like Marty Turco and Martin Brodeur were shown prototypes.

That concept was on display yesterday at the Toronto Maple Leafs practice; where, in what must be a total coincidence, a slew of reporters from the hockey media's most influential newspapers just so happened to be working. The League described the goal as having posts with "a 'teardrop' shape, like the rim of a paper coffee cup that has been squeezed."

The results were intriguing for those who believe more scoring means better hockey, and naturally depressing for the puckheads who don't believe big numbers in the box score and the leader board do anything to enhance the game's entertainment.

Which leads us back to a debate that's once again on the front burner: Should the NHL increase the size and change the dimensions of its nets to juice scoring?

First, from the Globe & Mail, here are the specifics on the goal that was tested, with a few comments from Anaheim Ducks goaltending coach François Allaire, who came up with the concept nearly five years ago:

The prototype is still six feet wide and four feet high, but instead of circular posts, the net tested has oval-shaped posts with the flatter, longer side positioned on the inside of the goal. The belief is when pucks hit these posts or crossbar, they have a better chance ricocheting in for a goal, instead of bounding out. ...

... "I don't have any official stats, but I would say one out of every four shots that beat a goalie but hit the inside of the post bounces in rather than straight out," Allaire explained. "If we can cut the posts in half and have a flat surface turned inward, you would see more goals. This would make the net bigger by about two inches on the width and an inch on the height. ... It would not take away from the skill of a goaltender, but would reward the shooter for beating the goalie."

As the Globe pointed out, the net at Leafs' practice was a tad different than Allaire's concept because "instead of a totally flat surface on the inward part of the post, there still is some curve to the post."

The Toronto Star had reactions from NHL VP of hockey operations Mike Murphy and Leafs goalie Curtis Joseph, who has a few years of experience playing goal on a professional level with a regulation net:

The initial reaction, from Murphy and Leafs goalie Curtis Joseph, is that pucks off the crossbar were indeed likely to go in but shots off the post didn't necessarily react in the same way. Some pucks that might have gone in off the rounded posts seemed to stay out at certain angles.

Joseph said he noticed more shots were going in on the short side but fewer on the far side, where pucks tended to kick out toward the boards. "It's just a guess. You'd have to shoot a thousand pucks (to get a true reading)," he said. "The jury's out."

A possibility now, said Murphy, might be to experiment with "a combination of leaving the posts round but changing the crossbar only. We'll look at it and see if it is worth moving forward with."

There are plenty of these procedural debates among NHL officials, players, media and fans: fighting, head-shots, obstruction and the like. The bigger-nets debate has been an interesting one because the battle lines aren't as clearly drawn.

Sure, from a purist's perspective, the notion of tinkering with the size of the scoring area is a mortal sin at this stage of the game's development.

It's a fundamental altering of the sport, akin to the NFL shortening the field by 10 yards or the NBA increasing the size of the rim.

Then again ... rule book, schmule book. In case you haven't noticed, there have been a few changes since they started tabulating the stats in hockey. How do you think that Gretzky fellow would have fared in 4-on-4 overtimes with the 1980s Edmonton Oilers?

If it comes down to what the players' want ... well, just look at what Matt Bradley of the Washington Capitals wrote this summer in our "5 Ways I'd Change the NHL" series:

2. Make the nets bigger. With the size of goalies and their equipment now, sometimes you look up and there's not much net to shoot at. Some of us can't always hit the part of the net we see. Make'em bigger and there will be a little more margin for error.

Those in favor of larger nets have a simple premise: Everything else in the game has been changed for the benefit of offense expect for the goal cages, which have remained static even as goalies and their equipment have had less in common with Terry Sawchuk and more resemble the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man.

Those against larger nets also have a basic philosophy: It's not about the goals.

Good hockey means good offensive flow, with back and forth scoring chances. Widening the nets will turn a 3-2 game into a 5-4 game, but so what? If it's still NHL hockey with clogged neutral zones, big players crushing skill players and more defensive systems than offensive flair, a few more goal horns doesn't change that. Perhaps widening the ice surface, rather than the nets, would give the game more excitement while juicing offense as well.

For a purist, the NHL's intentions for making the nets bigger fit right in with its other recent changes to the game. You'll get more highlights for SportsCenter, just like with the shootout. You'll get records falling thanks to artificially created circumstances, just like when the League crows about attendance or all-star voting. And hey, you'll get to hear the goal song in your local arena a few more times, which is always exhilarating.

But will you get better hockey?

yahoo.com

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