Tuesday, August 19, 2008

If I Ruled the NHL...

So yeah, hockey. Remember that? Last off-season was a pretty wretched one to live through as a fan but as a blogger it was way better than this one. There was something to write about right up until the puck dropped the next season! I'm dying here, people.

Over at Puck Daddy (Kate accidentally called it Puck Bunny one day so now we always refer to it as that), Greg W. has been running a series where different people share 5 ways they'd change the NHL. So here, for your reading enjoyment, are my changes. Some of them are repeats of things that have already been said over there but hey, deal with it:

1. Extend overtime to 10 minutes and bring back the tie.
I can certainly understand not wanting to play marathon games during the regular season but five minutes of overtime isn't enough. Just as the teams are starting to create some pressure and get some good chances, the horn goes off and we move to a shootout which, by the way, sucks donkeys. If we're all agreed that the shootout isn't good enough to decide who wins a playoff game - and oh, sweet lord may that day never come - it's not good enough to help determine who gets into the playoffs in the first place. I admit, when I first started watching hockey I hated ties. Now I'm over it.

2. Shorten the regular season.
Do we really need 82 games? I could lose ten games, easy. There's always a stretch at the end of the regular season where I'm ready for the season to end and I love hockey. If we end the season sooner it cuts down on some of the grind on players and we can also start the playoffs sooner. Maybe the ice would be better for the most important games of the season and I would sure appreciate not having to sweat through my jersey in May and June. (To the wise guys out of town, no, it is not still snowing in Buffalo in June.)

3. Make player tees available for any player in the league.
If you go to the shop at MLB.com you can order a player tee for any player on any team. If I want to order a Detroit Tigers tee that says VAN SLYKE 18 on the back, by golly, I can. I may be the only putz in the world wearing a jersey tee for a first base coach but hey, I'll be happy. It seems so simple that it kind of boggles my mind that you can't do the same for the NHL. Seriously? Is it that hard to iron on letters and numbers, NHL? One of the best things about sports, particularly hockey, is how those little role guys can steal your heart. If people out there want Andrew Peters' name and number on their back, God bless 'em, they should be able to get it and they should be able to get it without have to plunk down $200 for a jersey.

4. Lose the kicking motion rule and do something about the inconsistent officiating.
If the puck goes off a skate, it's not a goal. The end. I can't sit through another debate about whether the player used a kicking motion or was merely turning his skate to come to a stop. I'm convinced the same goal wouldn't be called the same way one night as it would be the next so it's time to lose the rule.

And please, call the game the same way in the third period as you do in the first, the same way at the end of the season as you do at the beginning, and the same way in the playoffs as you do in the regular season. I don't even care how you call it - blow the whistle for the slightest infraction, let everything go - I'd just like to know what to expect.


Tell the crowd in the arena why a goal review was called the way it was. The refs are already mic'd up. I don't need a lengthy explanation, just a simple, "Upon review it was ruled that the puck was gloved into the net." Sometimes it's obvious what's being looked at but sometimes you're stuck with no clue. On at least a couple of occasions last season I was trying to get a peek at the TVs in the press box to see if I could ascertain what the problem was.

5. Don't let people order jerseys with their own names on them.
Some people needed to be protected from themselves. You look stupid, people.

A couple of random Olympic thoughts:

Kate reminded me of something that I keep meaning to bring up. One of the things I dislike about the Olympics is that I think silver is far prettier than gold. I'd totally want a silver medal. (104th thing about me: My engagement ring and wedding band are platinum, not gold. I don't wear a lot of jewelry anyway - 105th thing about me! - but I don't own a single piece of gold jewelry.)

And regarding the judging controversy in the women's uneven bars, good grief, give it a rest, NBC. I personally don't understand why there can't be two of a certain medal awarded if gymnasts have the same final score, but everyone knew coming into the competition that there was a tie-breaker system and the explanation wasn't really that hard to follow. And while I understand that as an athlete it would be tough to not end up with the medal you feel you deserved, hello, THAT'S HOW GYMNASTICS WORKS! If you don't want a judge to have the final say-so on where you finish, well, I guess you should have become a swimmer.


Lee Andrew said...

1. Another reason to bring back the tie, which you didn't get to is the standings system. When I first started paying attention to Ice Hockey and somebody explained the points for an overtime loss my first reaction was, "Ice Hockey is pretty stupid."

2. Here's another reason to support dropping 10 games. Competition. If the NHL dropped 10 games then the season would end and the playoffs would start about mid-March. The playoffs would end Mid-May. Then the NHL would avoid being up against the NFL PLayoffs (Jan-Feb) and the NBA PLayoffs (June-seemingly the following June). Not to mention the French Open (End of May-June) and the Women's and Men's College World Series (June).

I like silver too, it's actually my favorite color (shhh, don't tell green). That's why I painted my car silver although it really turned out gray, which is ugly.

I don't know why they can't hand out two medals either. Other events seem to hand out multiple medals when there is a tie. I think the tiebreaker should be they both hang from the bars and try and knock each other off.

Becky said...

"5. Don't let people order jerseys with their own names on them.
Some people needed to be protected from themselves. You look stupid, people."

On kids it's cute - like they're dreaming of making it to the big time. On adults it looks like they're trying to relive their childhood. Or maybe their wife/girlfriend bought it and they're being nice about wearing it.

Only youth sizes would solve that problem.

Jennifer said...

I think the tiebreaker should be they both hang from the bars and try and knock each other off.

Lee Andrew, I like your thinking. That would be simple enough that EVERYONE would understand it, not to mention entertaining.

Heather B. said...

Lee, I almost mentioned the overtime loss point but I get a headache if I start thinking about that stuff too hard so I left it alone. It is weird though.

I did think of the less competiton angle of starting the playoffs early but I couldn't really remember when everything else started and I was too lazy to look it up so I'm glad you mentioned that.

I think the tiebreaker should be they both hang from the bars and try and knock each other off.

Yes! If the Olympics were a little more like American Gladiators I would find them FAR more interesting. Great idea.

Becky, I dunno. I think you gotta break kids of bad habits young. If you give a kid a jersey with their name on it you have to at least explain that it's going to look ridiculous past a certain age. It should come with some kind of official NHL paperwork that says so.

Meg said...

I don't know why they can't hand out two medals either. Other events seem to hand out multiple medals when there is a tie.

They used to. And they still do at other gymnastics competitions. It's stupid.

And having a tiebreaker system like that one is also stupid. Why not just have them do the damn routines again and give it to whichever gymnast is more consistent if you can't handle a tie?

Vanek's Hair said...

I am against bringing back the tie. Totally. I like the ten minute overtime and then a shootout. But dump the current points system where you get two for a win, one for an overtime loss, 1/2 point when it rains in Omaha, etc. Adopt the Vanek's Hair Point System (aka VHPS): Two points for a win (regulation, overtime or shootout) Zero points for a loss (regulation, overtime or shootout). Simple, easy to figure out, and every one judged by the same rules. To all of the "Well, why should a team who lost in a shootout be treated the same as a team who lost in regulation?" ANswer: Because they both lost. If you want two points, win.

Dropping 10 games will never happen because the owners do not want to give up more than 10% of their season revenue. So I can compromise. Instead of the convaluted schedule which currently exists, only play games on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It will help ratings, because the schedule will be predictable. It will also eliminate the 6 games in 7 night stretches followed by 5 days off.

I agree with the kick rule. Enough is enough with the "distinct kicking motion" garbage. If the motion is so "distinct" why does it take an hour to review the goal. The less the officials have to interpret, the better the game.

I don't know why in gymnastics dual medals cannot be awarded. I know that in swimming, if the times are duplicate, two people are awarded the same medal. I presume the same applies to track. As to the complaining on NBC: The games are in CHINA. In a close call, who do you think is going to get the edge CHINA or not-China? In 2012, Great Britian's athletes will receive similar benefits in London. Home gymnasium advantage.

Heather B. said...

To all of the "Well, why should a team who lost in a shootout be treated the same as a team who lost in regulation?" Answer: Because they both lost. If you want two points, win.

If we have to keep the shootout, I would whole-heartedly go along with VHPS. Losers shouldn't get any credit in the standings because they LOST! And under your system maybe fewer games would make it to the shootout because teams who don't do well there might actually play hard in the OT rather than leaving their fates up to a glorified skills competition and risk coming away with no points. I could get behind that.

I didn't realize the Olympics were the only big gymnastic events where dual medals aren't awarded in the case of a tie, Meg. That makes it extra stupid.

Jennifer said...

Dual medals being awarded is unacceptable. I say that when there's a tie, they drop the gloves (metaphorically) and see who comes out on top. If this were the case, Nastia would have gotten the GOLD last night. She strikes me as being quite feisty.

Kate said...

If hockey adopted the VHPS, they should just lose the points altogether and switch to a win/loss system. If there are no points awarded for anything other than a win what's the point of points? I just thought I'd point that out. I don't mean to sound pointed here but I thought the point of points was to make a point of rewarding teams even if they don't win the game. My point is just that in that scenario, points are silly and totally go against the point of points. Point point point point. :P

ElmaGolf said...

1) NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!!!!!!

I'm not some Ameri-centric hater of soccer, but "ties" are one thing I never want to have in common with that sport. You need to break ties - even if only from an entertainment point of view (which is, after all, why we go to these events). The old "kissing your sister" feeling applies for me, and I saw way too many "protecting the point" 3rd periods that were utterly unwatchable before the shoot-out.

First, I'll give you the irrational reason you should support them. Where else are you EVER going to see Hank Tallinder make Martin Brodeur look so silly on a break-away?

From a rational standpoint - don't get too hung up on the fact that they're not used in the Playoffs (and never, ever, ever, ever, ever should - no matter what the Olympic people are thinking). There are plenty of things that happen during the regular season that determine who gets in the playoffs, but have little semblance to Playoff Hockey. Things such as:

- Interference Penalties - exist in the regular season (not as much recently), completely go away in Playoffs
- Fighting - same thing
- 2nd Halves of Back-to-Back Games vs. a Rested Opponent
- Games where Neither Team plays Defense - The points earned in that "Pond Hockey" opener against the Islanders still count towards the playoffs, but have no semblance of Playoff Hockey
- 5-on-3 Man Advantages - do you ever remember one of these in a play-off game? If there ever was one, it probably became a 4-3 within seconds once an attacker skated within 3 feet of the goalie (make-up call anyone?)

I know it's only a "skill contest", but overall, it generally will even out and won't affect the playoff picture that much (with a few anomalies such as the Sabres disastrous performance this year). It's not a perfect solution, but probably the only reasonable one out there.

I'd never want a team to get zero points for losing a shoot-out. You can't tell me playing a team even for 65 minutes should get the same result as a team that gets waxed 3-0. They're entertaining, give you a sense of closure, and will even out in the end.

2) Agree with VH - they'll never let the revenue go (unless the players give back 10% in salary - not gonna happen).

3) Didn't realize they weren't available - it's an outrage (my sister had a Dave Snuggerud (sp??) jersey, so I assumed everything was available).

4) Eh - I'm fine with it either way (used up all my righteous indignation on the shootouts). ;)

5) I share a last name with a Buffalo Bill, so I have a free pass on that one.

Give out the dual medals at the Olympics. If you're going to have a tie-breaker, it has to have some element of skill, not some technical formula. It's like losing a Golf Tournament on a Match of Cards.

Heather B. said...

Kate, could you say that again? I think I missed your point.

Jennifer said...

So, what's your point, Kate?

amy said...

Don't let people order jerseys with their own names on them.

Confession time: my father has a Cleveland Indians jersey with his own name on it. But our last name is the same last name as one of the characters in Major League, so having a jersey with his own name on it is a pretty good inside joke in this case. The couple of times he's worn it to games in C-town, people have actually stopped him and told him they liked it.

What really bothers me are people who have jerseys with "Stanley Cup" as the name and the year as the number. I think its bad juju.

ElmaGolf said...

"I think its bad juju."

As a fellow superstitious type, I love that phrase.

I chastise every golfer who squashes a June-Bug with their putter - "that's just bad juju"(never seen one of them recover from the fear to make their putt).

"It is very bad to drink JoBoo's Rum.. very bad"

Mark B said...

My solution to getting rid of shootouts wouldn't work because it could last an hour but I would go with 4 on 4 for 10 minutes and then if it's still tied, 3 on 3 for five minutes. If it's still tied then, it will be a tie in the standings. I doubt we would have more than one or two ties a year with that system. It would be a rarity, kind of like in football.

Heather B. said...

Elma, I can understand not liking ties in a sporting event and I definitely used to be there. But I don't know, last season convinced me that maybe sometimes games should be a tie. I found it much more frustrating to watch say, Buffalo and Jersey battle each other for 65 minutes (repeatedly) and then have the game decided in a shootout. (Yes, I will freely admit that shootouts started to bother me more once the Sabres started sucking at them.)

- Interference Penalties - exist in the regular season (not as much recently), completely go away in Playoffs

Yes, well if you look at point 4, I'm going to do something about this one :P

I guess I see all of your other points - fighting, back-to-backs, pond hockey - as an inherent part of the game and the shootout as more of a made-up thing. I don't think I'm explaining that very well but it makes sense in my head... which is a big help to the rest of you, I know. At any rate, I can understand people being unhappy with ties.

And I totally agree that we're never going to get a shortened season because of the decrease in revenue. But hey, when I'm in charge what I says goes. Sometimes it's not about the money and the poor owners will just have to deal. (I'm looking at a short but glorious reign.)

I share a last name with a Buffalo Bill, so I have a free pass on that one.

Golf? Never heard of 'im! :-)

Jennifer, I love that we both went with the obvious joke. There was a swimmer named Hackett getting a lot of pre-race talk this weekend and when he finished in second Mark and I both said at almost exactly the same time, "Well, I guess he couldn't quite hack it." Yes, that's the level of humor you get at the B. house.

Amy, technically that's probably cutting it close but I love Major League so I'll let it slide! That would be pretty fun.

Heather B. said...

Gah, I can't keep up with you guys!

Mark, if you do that, I think it should just be 3-on-3 from the beginning. That'd be crazy but totally fun. Or let's just get everyone off the ice but the goalies. Put both guys in their respective nets, put the puck at center ice and when the whistle blows the madcap insanity begins.

"It is very bad to drink JoBoo's Rum.. very bad"

"You trying to say Jesus Christ can't hit a curve ball?"

Lee Andrew said...

Just don't confuse Juju with Juju Bees.
Juju = bad
Juju Bees = good

TheTick said...

On the 'Bonus' rule change: I actually saw an 80s or early 90s NHL clip where they did that for a penalty call. I think it was after a big brawl, but the ref went on the mic and broke down why each player was penalized (ie, not just 'number 76, 2 minutes for roughing'). Heck, all the sports need it.

Lee Andrew said...

Hey, while you're ruling the NHL why not televise some hockey games in the south.