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.
BONUS OFFICIATING CHANGE:
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.