Friday, June 22, 2007

A Message to NHL Owners - You're Killing the Game

So the "hockey guys," you know the ones that own the teams, got together on Wednesday and decided to "tweak" the NHL rules again.

This after Gary Bettman sqwaked that the NHL should just leave the rules alone for a couple of years to see how they pan out.

But when the Commissioner's grand plan of increasing scoring to bring back fans didn't exactly pan out (scoring didn't go up that much and the NHL's fan base has become the laughing stock of media articles), a "tweak" was apparentely in order.

And, once again, the NHL's brand of hockey will cease to resemble anything that was played in year's past. Forget tradition. Forget the fans. Just shut up and buy a new $300 streamlined jersey and pay the 6% increase in ticket prices that we popped on you. Oh yeah, all the while to watch our "niche/regional" sport.

So let's take a look at the latest and greatest from the "hockey guys."

A player can now be awarded a shot when on a breakaway in the neutral zone. Wonderful... more goal scoring (remember, it's the end all) and more crucial decisions left in the the hands of the NHL referees. Boy I can't wait for a game to be decided on a last minute penalty call that results in a penalty shot goal. That'll make things interesting. And the NHL will get to watch an arena full of fans loiter the ice with whatever is in reach. Brilliant "tweak."

Interference can now be called a major penalty. That's right... interference. Yeah, I wonder how many dives we will see this year when a player is interfered with? Seriously, can we please scrap the "H" from NHL and replace it with "SOI" for Soccer on Ice. I can't wait to see Sean Avery grabbing his knee when he gets clipped, only to get up and skate over to the bench while blowing kisses at Elisha Cuthbert.

The term "gross misconduct" was removed from the rule book. Any "gross misconduct" will now be deemed a "game misconduct." While this isn't really that big of a deal, it seems like the NHL wants to get rid of anything that was unique to traditional hockey. Keep up the fine work.

Now the biggest story of all out of this meeting of "hockey guys" was the the owners shot down the General Manager's (half of whom actually played the game) recommendation to increase the number of instigator penalties to five before a suspension occurs. This would allow players to police the dirty play the occurs during a game and keep the decisions in the hands of the players and not the league disciplinarian.

According to my source, 18 owners voted against this rule change.

According to published reports, the Chicago Blackhawks voted to remove the rule all together.

According to more published reports, the International Hockey League voted to remove the insitgator completely.

Ah, two leagues heading in totally different directions.

Here a few tips to the "hockey guys." Increasing scoring isn't working... it won't work. You do realize that soccer is the most popular sport in the world and most game see fewer than three goals a game, right? Hockey isn't a family game. It's a game where you should wait to take your kids until they are ten and be ready to give a good response as to why those two guys are fighting on the ice.

Stop ignoring tradition. Stop ignoring fan and player polls that consistently say that they want more fighting in the game., that they want the instigator gone.

Stop jacking up ticket prices to watch a niche/regional sport. Stop with the new jerseys... the old ones were unique. And no one wants to pay $300 for the new ones... especially if that leaked Capitals' jersey is what we have to look forward to.

Get rid of this bogus schedule... fans consistently say that they want the old one back, you know the one where they get to see their star players every year?

Pay attention to the Ducks and the way they won the Cup this year. Pay attention to Brian Burke and his ideas.

And I beg of you, stop "tweaking" the rules. I am really at the point now where I think that all these "hockey guys" are trying their hardest to ruin the game.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Get rid of this bogus schedule... "

Totally agree. All the talk heading into these meetings has been unsubstantiated gossip and rumours about moving the Preds, when the one thing they should be doing is concentrating on fixing their stupid schedule. That makes at least three meetings in a row now where they have done nothing about it. I couldn't give a damn about anything else coming out of these meetings except for that one issue, and somehow they avoided it again.