“Bettman has only a marginal interest in the weaker teams. He only wants the NHL to make a bigger profit as a whole.” -- Dominik Hasek

April 30, 2007

Changing The Rules

There's a saying in most temperate climate cities that "if you don't like the weather, wait until tomorrow, it will be different." Something similar could be said about the NHL. Don't like some minor issue in one game, wait until tomorrow, the NHL will change the rules. Or at least the NHL most columnists seem to want.

Not a week passes without another high-profile hockey writer calling for sweeping changes to how the game is played, usually in response to some minor, insignificant annoyance they perceive to have occurred. Maybe a playoff game goes on too long one night, so somebody calls to end overtime. Or maybe a game ends with a very low score, so somebody calls to widen the goals. Or maybe some douchebag goon gets knocked out in a fight, so somebody calls to ban fighting. Or, just today, a goal was dis-allowed because a player kicked the puck, so somebody calls to allow kicking pucks into the goal. You name it, if any aspect of the game of hockey has been just a tiny bit annoying in one game somewhere, some columnist has joined the fight to change it.

Usually they mean well. The most common explanation is that the insignificant annoyance they seek to change is hurting TV ratings or is driving fans away from arenas. Or maybe it's keeping hockey from catching on among "casual" sports fans. You know, the moron in your office that never watches football but wore a Colts jersey to work the day after the Super Bowl. Yeah, we desperately need that guy on our side. But he doesn't watch hockey because he heard that a game went to double overtime once and he just couldn't imagine sitting still long enough to find out who won.

Does any other sport suffer from such constant introspection and demand for upheaval? Do baseball fans constantly call for a home run derby instead of extra innings? Do football fans demand that a field goal be worth five points instead of three? Do basketball fans insist that the baskets be raised to eleven feet because it's way too easy to score? If not, why not?

Maybe my memory is weak but I don't remember this attitude among hockey columnists prior to the lockout in 2004-05. The shootout during the regular season was batted around for a long time, and while I don't care either way, I understand the argument that it has improved the fans' experience. Other than that, I just can't recall anything like what we now have to endure.

Hockey is not basketball. The final score will never be 110-98. Come to think of it, who takes the NBA seriously anymore? Hockey is also not football. It is not a game so dumbed down and accessible that literally any knuckle-dragger can walk in the room and understand exactly what is going on. Hockey is not baseball, either. It's not a relaxing, recreational escape for people bored in the hot summer months. There is no reason hockey has to be anything like any of these sports.

There are lots of hockey fans already, and many more just waiting to discover the sport for how great it is. The rules don't need to be changed, the sport needs to be promoted. And constant introspection and hand-wringing among those who should be the NHL's greatest champions only makes the league look like a figurative politician, changing the message every day just to pander to more people.

Knock it off and enjoy the game for what it is. If you can't do that, why are you still here?


B_Washington said...

All good points.

The funny part is that all those "problems" have solutions that aren't very drastic that could easily be implemented.

Want less 2-3 OT games, call the rules the same in OT, don't stop at a shootout.

Want more goals? restrict goalies pad sizes (which have gotten absurdly big anyways).

Actually just making the goalies pads smaller will erase both those "problems" and there's no need for any dramatic overhaul of the game.

You don't replace all 4 tires because one has low air pressure, you put some air in it and go.

Dear Lord Stanley said...

I agree with the goalie pad reduction. I've said before that I'd love to see Brodeur look more like Dryden used to, and then try to put up similar numbers.

Teebz said...

Maybe the answer is to stop changing the damned rules! :o)

Mike Thompson said...

With the proliferation of the butterfly, a reduction in pad size won't noticably increase scoring, IMO. The reduction needs to come in the Chest and arm protectors. Efforts have been made to limit the size of the shoulder and elbow floaters and to have the chest protector more tailored to the player's physique, but they are behind the restrictions made to the gloves and pads, IMO. Still, I'm a goalie, so I may be biased.

hockeychic said...

Very good points. The playoffs seem to bring the "rule changers" out by the boatload. OT is one of the most exciting things about playoff hockey. I would hate to see the Stanley Cup decided by a shoot out.

Anonymous said...

i know u like hockey and all but you dont gotta diss all the other sports man i played football and i still do and i would never diss hockey or baseball or basketball

Anonymous said...

the very article is about not changing the rules anda ll these comments have been about changing the rules. it's simple, hockey is hockey. If you don't like the way the game is played then you don't like hockey and as such are not a person that really matters to hockey fans. If some douche bag columist that doesn't understand the game wants to change the rules to make it more enjoyable for him, THEN HE'S NOT A HOCKEY FAN. Neither is anyone else who thinks the pads have to be reduced or rules changed every 3 minutes. Hockey has been fine for over a hundred years so either love it for the beauty of the game or stop annoying real hockey fans.

and BTW, comparing drydens numbers to broduers is ridiculous. The game had smaller shooters, softer shots and and slower game all together. the real question is let's see dryden use his gear and get the same numbers in broduers time. Fact is they're both different eras and can not be compared. As far as athletic talent by an individual, broduer has him beat HANDS DOWN.

Topic Guide

template by free-web-template.blogspot.com