Hockey Headlines

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Finding My Way Back

I spent my entire weekend looking at something like the picture to the left. A team offered to pick me up for the Provincial Championships this weekend, and I accepted. I spent the entire day on Saturday in the sun and heat to help our team land in fourth overall in the pool of sixteen teams that qualified for the playoffs on Sunday. We were all pretty stoked. Sunday saw us take the field at 10am for the single-elimination playoff round, and we went gangbusters on the rest of the teams. We played back-to-back-to-back-to-back, and ended up on the top of the heap.

We're officially Co-Ed Provincial Champions! However, before we get into Softball Blog In Canada, let's bring this back to the ice. I got a few comments on the Five Ways I'd Change The NHL article I wrote, and I want to address these because it's sort of like a Q&A section. I like some of these ideas, but some of my ideas need some additional explanation.

Chronic Ice Man wrote, "Since Detroit is in the Eastern time zone, they should be relocated to the Prince of Wales conference and all original six teams should be placed in the same division for at least two years".

I like this idea, but there would be a number of teams who would miss out on playing an Original Six team over the course of a season. As you probably know, the Original Six teams are a pretty big draw in terms of ticket sales, so I'm sure a few teams would complain due to the missing "big ticket" games.

Also, when I designed the "new" divisions with the traditional names, it was done to try to alleviate the costs of travel. The price of gasoline isn't going down, and I'm sure that a few teams' bottom lines are feeling the pinch. This divisional alignment should help them save a little more money by cutting down on the costs of travel.

Feizal wrote: "I have a rule change of my own: automatic double minors for goalie interference. protect those guys as much as you can! esp. my boy luongo".

An interesting proposal, but one that I think would do more harm than good. There are already a number of GMs across the league that have complained loudly regarding some of the phantom calls that goalies get. However, what would constitute a four-minute penalty? Does Tomas Holmstrom deserve four minutes for this play?


Now, I'm not saying he did or did not deserve a penalty, but calling a double-minor for goalie interference - a call that is already highly subjective - will seriously hinder a team. Not only that, but guys like Holmstrom, Johan Franzen, and Brendan Shanahan, who are so skilled in front of the net, would be significantly reduced in their roles. I don't think this one would work.

Anonymous wrote, "Wider ice would put all play along the boards out of sight".

Really? You're telling me that if given more space, the players would choose not to use it? The NHL already has the problem that a lot of the game is played on the boards. If there was more room to move, powerplay units would have more room to operate. Flashy skaters like Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, and Scott Gomez would have more room to operate, and make defenders have to cover more room. Opening up the ice will help to kill the trap as well because there's more room to move out there.

Back to your comment, I know what you're saying regarding not being able to see the play along the boards. But hockey will always have a portion of the game played along the boards. That won't change. My proposal is to open the game up even more, and the guys who can skate and score do exactly that.

As for the owners, if you owned an NHL team and could play games in front of 15,000 people and have 100% capacity, would you choose that over having 18,000 seats and playing to 75% capacity? Ticket sales is supply and demand. That's why Toronto always plays in front of capacity crowds, and why tickets are so hard to come by. Economics isn't hard, but some people just don't grasp the concept.

WingsRock wrote, "I LOVE the idea of putting the original six back together".

Again, travel costs and the opportunity for every team to have some Original Six teams roll through town makes this an illogical idea. Don't get me wrong - it's one I would support if there were less teams in the NHL. However, I don't think most teams would agree to it, let alone agreeing to contraction.

Steve wrote, "heres an idea for an even fairer conference setup and for better hockey: get rid of atlanta and phoenix and have four divisions of 7. anon is right sight lines are built in arenas are built specifically for this size arena, updating is very expensive".

I can tell you right now that contraction will only hurt the game in the USA. This isn't even an option. In fact, if you really want to swing outrageous ideas, I've left a spot open in the Norris, and a spot open in the Adams. Those spots could go to Winnipeg and Quebec City, respectively, and make four divisions of eight teams each. Personally, I am against the expansion idea, so I'll just leave the alignment as it is.

As for sight lines, this is something that should have been done long ago. Don't get me wrong: I have no issue with the NHL-sized arenas right now. I'm simply saying that the ice surface needs to get bigger.

Look at it this way: Major League Baseball stadiums have all sorts of sizes and shapes of their fields. The elder stadiums - Wrigley Field, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park - have homeruns hit out of them on a daily basis. The once-feared Green Monster is no longer a challenge for hitters, and MLB parks are getting bigger. Why? Players are getting bigger and stronger. And this is why the NHL needs to look long and hard at this. I'm not saying it has to happen now, but they should consider this at some point in the next 10-20 years.

Ok, I'm going to aloe myself up as the sunburn on my face and neck make me feel like I'm on fire. I encourage comments and questions to these responses or to the first article. Have a good one, everyone!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

3 comments:

Kirsten said...

Nice work, dude! Are you a catcher?

Teebz said...

Nope. I pitch, and play the corners. :o)

I like first base because there's a pile of action there. But I'm a team guy - I'll play where ever I'm told to play.

Kirsten said...

Nice. I play first base when my knee is giving me trouble.

Pitching is extremely difficult. I commend you on your excellence if you can pitch with any degree of acuracy. As a catcher, I commend you for not making my people work too hard.