Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Play uh... Puck!


I can't speak for everyone. Or for that matter, most likely any of you. But I, for one, am thrilled to find out that hockey is back, baby!

Now it's time to move forward. Here is my self-indulgent list of next steps that need to be made:

1) Fire Goodenow and Bettman. These two guys self-servingly turned the NHL into a laughingstock. If anybody is still reading this now, you're most likely scoffing at the idea of the NHL even mattering to anyone anymore. And for that these two men are to blame.

2) Zero-tolerance interference rules. The sport of hockey is, without question, the fastest, most exciting sport on the planet. But over the last few years we've seen it turn into boring neutral zone slogs that punish any team who doesn't play the dullest style of defense known to man. Meanwhile future superstars like Datsyuk, St. Louis, and Iginla are struggling to blossom. If the league is to succeed, we need to show the world how dazzling these men, and dozens like them, can be.

3) Eliminate the red line. Making two-line passes illegal stifles offense and breakaways. And a breakaway goal is one of the most exciting plays you'll ever see. Take the ankle weights off - let 'em play!

4) Shootouts in the regular season. Who wants to go home to a tie? What is this English Premiere League? Jolly good show, chaps. Might we contest this once more in a fortnight's time mayhap? Bullshit. How about a five minute overtime of 4 on 4. A five minute overtime of (ooh!) 3 on 3. And if that doesn't work. Shootout! Breakaways, best of five. Who doesn't want to see that? And then the record book is Ws and Ls. Nothing that looks like: 25-12-15-6. Even cricket isn't as weird as all that!

5) No-touch icing. This isn't so much about excitement as it is about safety. These 200 pound guys are racing down the ice to go after the puck. 95% of the time it ends up being icing anyway, but after getting up to 40 mph, they slam into the boards, and people get hurt. It's unnecessary and a waste of time in the first place.

6) Reduce the goalie pads. Have you ever seen old games on ESPN or something? It doesn't even have to be from the 60s. Like, Grant Fuhr and those guys in the 80s. They're so freaking tiny in goal. Plus, they don't even really seem to know what they're doing. They're stumbling around trying to stop pucks and failing I might add, (Fuhr, the best goalie from my childhood was hovering just under 4 goals against per game back when he was winning the Cup every year. Nowadays, if they're not under 2, they suck.). They looked silly. Today, they're armored like tanks and have been training since birth to stop the puck. Let's get those pads down to 80s size and get the goals against up.

7) Referee consistency in the playoffs. There's nothing worse than the refs cracking down on penalties during the regular season, but once the playoffs start - anything goes. This ends up favoring the worst teams in the league. Teams that couldn't win on skill during the regular season can go all the way in the playoffs because they revert to the boring trapping, grabbing, interference-based defenses that we eliminated in point #2. I will NOT lose to crappy no-talent (except for Iginla) Calgary again this year.

8) Make it fun again. I don't know exactly what to do here. Free ticket games, party stuff, who knows? Marketing people can jump in. But they had damn well better think of us as they move forward.
And let's play some hockey!

3 comments:

emeryroolz said...

Awesome! I look forward to completely ignoring this stupid snorfest of a sport again soon!

Michael Grant said...

This from the guy who was a competitive highland dancer until he was 19.

emeryroolz said...

That's not true! It was 29!