A few months ago, I wrote an article for TheHockeyHouse.net on 7 Ways To Improve the NHL. I recently looked at the article again, and realized there was some things that I would change if I was Gary Bettman (who is even more overpaid than Scott Gomez. Bettman makes $7.5M compared to Gomez’s $7.35M). These ideas are in no particular order.

 

 

nhl.com

1. Change the All-Star Game- Last year’s ASG saw something new, having captains pick the teams from the pool of players selected by fans and the NHL. It adds a twist to the game and can leave us with some pretty interesting line combos (the Sedin’s were split up last year). But more needs to be done to the game itself.

The skills competion the day before the All-Star Game is always the most exciting part of the weekend. The most talented players in the world show off their in exciting fashion. But the whole point of the weekend is the ASG, right? They need to add more to spice it up.

The NHL should look at having a team of the best NHLer’s face off against the best players from Europe, with some sort of major prize going to the winner. This would be great exposure for the top talent overseas looking to someday play in the NHL. The Europeans would want to prove they can beat the best, and would push the NHLer’s harder then any other ASG has pushed them before. This would bring so much excitement to the game, and would be a lot different then just having a game where the players couldn’t care less. This would be a bonus for the players, the league and us fans.

If this can’t happen, how about having all the all-stars throw their sticks in the middle and have the ref toss sticks to each side? At least that would give us fans something to look forward to see.

Canadiens vs Predators
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

2. Improve the Scheduling- I’m not a season ticket holder to any team, and never have been. If you are one, wouldn’t you want to see star-players more often in your arena? Ok, I know you don’t want to see Crosby or Stamkos light the lamp every time he steps foot in your home turf, but they make the game more exciting than Patrice Bergeron ever could.  Some cities have to wait two years to see many teams and players like Carey Price, Alexander Ovechkin and Joe Thornton. For example, Montreal played Nashville for the one and only time early this year, in Nashville. This means Montreal won’t be able to see the best defenseman in the league in Shea Weber, and one of the best goaltenders in the league, Pekka Rinne. Speaking of Montreal, why did they have long periods of times with no games?

This brings me to another thought. What about shortening the season to 70-75 games?  The season is very long already, and the Stanley Cup winning team has to win 16 games to win the championship, and with lets say 5 pre-season games, that’s a minimum of 103 games a team will play in one year. In big market cities, like New York, Toronto and Montreal, you would be forking out crazy amount of money. But for the games you don’t go to, there are hundreds of other fans willing to take your place. Will the schedule ever get shorter? The owners won’t allow it.

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3. Let The Referees and Linesmen have mic’s: This isn’t too important, but this would allow the zebras to talk during the play, and hopefully help make the right call. Sometimes refs may miss something, or they don’t agree on an issue, so letting them talk while the play is on could only benefit the striped police men.

USA vs. Canada Men's Ice Hockey at 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver

4. Commit to the Olympics and bring back the World Cup of Hockey- This doesn’t really improve the NHL, but it makes hockey in general better. The worlds greatest athletes are showcased every couple years in the Olympics. Since 1998, NHL players have been able to compete in the Winter Olympics, but there is talk they won’t be heading to Russia in 2014.  The league’s concerns with Olympic participation are fully accurate, though. The world’s best hockey players are gone for two weeks and the NHL/NHLPA  doesn’t even get a penny for it.

But taking the best players out of the biggest stage in the world is like taking Billie Joe Armstrong out of Green Day. It should never happen. The Canada/U.S match up from 2010 has to be one of the greatest hockey games ever played, and defiantly one of the most memorable events ever in the Winter Olympics. Don’t be surprised if players like Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk head over to Russia in 2014 to be eligible for the Olympics. Major European leagues won’t likely take their players out of the Olympics, giving them an edge over teams like Canada and the States.

I think I speak for most fans when I say the NHL, IIHF or whoever wants to should bring the World Cup Of Hockey back. The old Canada Cup has produced some of the greatest hockey memories ever. Personally, the entire 2004 WC had to be one of my favorite moments in hockey. If the NHL decides to not go to the Olympics, this could be a good alternative.

5. No Front-Loading Contracts- I’m not sure if this would ever happen, but the NHL should not allow front-loading contracts. Everyone knows about Kovalchuk’s massive contract. It’s not good for the NHL, and I doubt he will still be on the team by year 13. He will be making $11,000,000 next season, and $1,000,000 in 2020-21.

I asked on twitter (@StevenEllisNHL) for your input on what the NHL should change. Here is what you said:

 

@RealCNN-Ban “No-Trade” clauses and clean up Salary Cap loopholes.

Players like the idea of not worrying about getting traded. I don’t think they would ban NTC’s, but it’s still a good idea.

@ColdSnacks-Introduce an NFL style “coach’s challenge” – 1 each for the entire game. Help prevent calls like last night’s.

This one is interesting. The game he is Chris is referring to is the Pittsburgh/Montreal game, where Kris Letang scored in OT, despite Price having it covered. It works in football, why not the NHL?

@AnthonyStelll- not limit only 2 assists per goal. everyone who touches the puck before a goal should get an assist. And longer OT

I am defiantly for having more than 2 assists. Longer OT…not so much. TV networks have other stuff they wan’t to air.

@BshawLeafs27- If I were Gary Bettman, I’d resign

Who else agrees?

 

I welcome your suggestions.

 

 

About The Author

Steven took a different route towards his hockey interests. Starting out as a big Habs fan, he started to gravitate towards the more obscure levels of hockey, such as the low level tournaments in Asia, strange club matches between teams most people in North America can’t pronounce, and even some 3am contests between Bulgaria and New Zealand. Aside from his love for strange hockey events, Steven occasionally acts as a mediocre ball hockey goalie following a failed attempt at making it to the NHL as a fourth line house league grinder. Beyond hockey, Steven is an avid racing fan and loves to chat about NASCAR, F1, Indycar, you name it. Oh, and don’t get him started on music. That is, unless you want the whole history of metal and a guitar lesson. Currently, Steven is a credentialed media member with the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL, as well as with the Oakville Blades of the OJHL. Steven has also hosted the television show "The Hockey House" on TVCogeco in Ontario, as well as a segment under the same with on LeafsTV in Toronto. Home page: http://www.thehockeyhouse.net

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