5 Ways I’d Change the NHL

August 6, 2008

Puck Daddy is running a series during August called “5 Ways I’d Change the NHL.” While I’m not one of the big boys he’s asked for comments, what is the point of having your own blog if you can’t throw in your own two cents? So, here is my list of 5 Ways I’d Change the NHL.

1. Extend regular season overtime to at least 10 minutes. This extention would allow play to fully develop and allow more chances to be taken by the players. Right now, everyone plays tentative, hanging on for that five minutes so that the game can be decided in a shootout. We know that playoff overtime hockey is some of the best out there. There’s no reason that regular season overtime shouldn’t be as well.

2. Get rid of the shootout. Goalies are naturally jumpy enough without having to have the added pressure of saving three consecutive breakaways put on them. If the game is tied after overtime, the game is tied. No one will go home unhappy because the game was tied.

3. Don’t award a point for tying a game after regulation. While these points can help a team in the playoff chase, more often then not, its a case of “only a stinkin point. Yay!.” The fans start getting down on the players, as the fans sense that they players are playing towards getting to the end of regulation tied in order to get that consolation point. It doesn’t make for good hockey.

4. Stop trying to force hockey into markets where it’s not successful. How many times have we seen empty seats in Florida and Tampa? I know that Tampa has won a Cup during its short history*, but more often than not, it seems like the majority of fans at any game in the Sunshine State are from the opposing team. That’s completely off-the-wall, and doesn’t bode well for the long-term survival of the franchise. ( Yes, I know Tampa is trying to turn things around this year with the new owners, new players and new mess of crazy, but this idea is based on past history with this franchise)

* Edited to remove earlier blunder on Florida winning a Cup. I’ll just be over here ducking from all the rats being thrown at me. 🙂

5. Promote more players than just the “stars” on each team. As anyone who’s watched the NHL knows, most hockey players have personality in spades. Yet the media campaigns continuously revolve around the same five or six guys. Open up the promotion so that more players are featured. This doesn’t necessarily have to be on a national level, as each team can do it. If commercials don’t work, then open up the merchandising options. Everyone in Buffalo has Ryan Miller gear. Puckbunnies corner the market on Pominville and Roy gear. Occasionally, you’ll see a Hecht or Vanek shirt. Right now, merchandising for the Sabres covers 3/4 of the alleged and highly promoted core of the team. If you’re going to include guys like Gaustad, Stafford and Paille in your core, then use them in your merchandising and promotion!

One comment

  1. I think shootouts can be silly but I hate tie games even more I think. What you end up with is teams playing very conservative towards the end of the game/OT, where they will not be trying to win the game, they are just trying to make it through OT so they get a point. That’s what happened in the 90s and a lot of games were 0-0 ties. Boring hockey. I’m not the type of person who needs a high scoring game to be entertained, I know a lot times 1-0 games can be just as exciting as 9-6 games, but there’s something about ties that leaves me unsatisfied.

    I do agree with what you said about the point system, it just doesn’t seem right. I’ve thought and read of various ways to change it, and a lot seem better than the system the NHL has now.

    Another thing you mentioned was the length of OT during the regular season. I agree I think five minutes is too short. Especially when one team gets a power player. That’s two minutes in a five minute period. They either need to shorten the length of a power play in OT or they need to add more time to the OT period.

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