UA-59049186-1 What's Going On Fixes the NHL - Good if it Goes

What’s Going On Fixes the NHL

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Dave Lozo wrote an article for Vice detailing 42 suggestions on how to fix the NHL. Some are good, some not so much. The whole list is here. If I don’t discuss a suggestion, it means I think it was just meh. In addition, since we talk about the Blackhawks here, I’ll discuss what some of these would mean for them. Let’s go…

1) Get rid of the salary cap. The salary cap unfairly depresses salaries and creates parity, the most boring thing in sports. I used to be a very big proponent of salary caps so everything would be “fair,” but I was an idiot. If you own a team and want to spend $100 million on it, let’s go. Can’t keep up with the spending? Too bad, find a new way to win.

Agree 100%. At the very least, go to a system more like the NBA’s, where you can go over the cap to re-sign your own players.

What it would mean for the Hawks: I’m sure I’m forgetting someone, but something like:

Forwards

Brandon Saad – Jonathan Toews – Teuvo Teravainen

Artemi Panarin – Andrew Shaw – Patrick Kane

Alex DeBrincat – Nick Schmaltz – Vinnie Hinostroza

Andrew Ladd – Marcus Kruger – Michael Frolik

Extras: 1 of Ryan Hartman, Tommy Wingels, or John Hayden

Defense

Duncan Keith – Brent Seabrook

Niklas Hjalmarsson – Dustin Byfuglien

Nick Leddy – Rutta/Gustafsson/Forsling

Extras: Whoever isn’t on the third pair

Goalies

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

2) Get rid of the draft. My fallback here is “get rid of the draft lottery,” but again, the draft unfairly suppresses earning ability. Rich people are only in favor of a free market as long as they’re the ones that get to exploit it. Let’s replace the draft with a recruiting system like in the NCAA, where if you make a good enough pitch to an available player, that player will come to your team. Sure, this favors big-market clubs but too bad.

No. Absolutely not. We just got rid of the cap, we need some way for the league to be competitive.

3) Get rid of fighting.

Make it happen.

What it would mean for the Hawks: You didn’t see Brandon Bollig on the hypothetical roster above.

4) The FIEGI playoff format.You know it. You love it. Let’s do it.

But really, we need to get rid of this divisional nonsense. Let’s meet in the middle and go to a 1-8 format. Stop changing things nobody wants changed.

Go back to the 1-8 format.

What it would mean for the Hawks: In 2016, they draw San Jose in the first round instead of St. Louis. The Sharks don’t present the same matchup problems the Blues did and the Hawks win that series. From there, it depends how the St. Louis-Nashville series goes, assuming the same result in Dallas-Minnesota. If the Predators win, they face Dallas and I like the Hawks over Anaheim or L.A. and then over Dallas or a Nashville team that’s still a year away. A matchup with Pittsburgh in the Final is a coin flip. If the Blues beat the Predators, they play the Hawks and that series is coin flip like it was the first time.

5) Leaving your feet to block a shot is a penalty. I hate when sports reward no-talent try-hards, and hockey rewards them more than any other sport.

Absolutely not. Defense is a part of the game.

6) Bigger nets. Let’s go three inches vertically and horizontally and see what happens.

Leave the nets alone. I’ve got my own suggestion to improve offense I’ll get to later.

7) Puck off the netting is in play.

No. Don’t need more fluky bounces.

9) Home teams wear white, road teams wear dark. Bring it back.

Do what the NBA did and get rid of dedicated “home” and “away” uniforms. Home team picks what sweater they want to wear, away team picks one that’s a different color. Might be white, might not. I’m for more color vs. color games.

What it would mean for the Hawks: Bring back the black third sweater.

11) Referees must explain every video review ruling. I need more than “the call on the ice stands” or “the call on the ice has been overturned.” Tell me why! It’s not always clear! I don’t need a 1,000-word explanation, just the basic reasoning.

I like it. Next step: teach Ed Hochuli how to skate.

12) A 3-2-1 points system. Three for a regulation win, two for an overtime/shootout win, one point for an overtime/shootout loss.

Been pounding this drum for a while. Not opposed to just bringing ties back, either.

16) Unrestricted free agency begins two years after your entry-level deal expires. As of now, 25 is pretty much the age when players can explore free agency but that number is almost always higher because teams buy UFA years and that player winds up getting there when he’s 29 and on the downside of his career. I’m trying to get players to market when they are 23, which I’m sure is still a flawed idea but I’d like to care about July 1 again and I’m sure other fans would, too.

Three years. Get to UFA at 24.

17) One interconference game between teams per season.

Pass. Scheduling is fine. This just creates problems for teams who now have to deal with season ticket holders who are upset they won’t get to see Sidney Crosby/Connor McDavid that year.

18) Mandatory Olympics. We are going to the Olympics every four years whether they are in Vancouver or on the surface of Jupiter.

19) World Cup in years between Olympics. And then we play our silly cash grab with Team North America and Team Europe so we have a best-on-best tournament every two years. The games are always in North America. Sorry, rest of the world.

Ideally, yes. But that’s a lot of hockey for the players. Also, the idea about the games always being in North America sucks. Alternate between North America and Europe and always play them on Olympic ice.

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20) Get rid of the trapezoid.

Do it.

21) You can’t ice the puck while shorthanded. I’m on the fence about this because teams will just ice the puck and create more whistles, but it has to generate more power-play goals so let’s do it.

Whatever excitement the increase in scoring would create would be way more than offset by the extra whistles. Hard pass.

23) Ban the shootout. Earlier, when I said one point for a shootout win or loss, I was lying, because the shootout has been abolished and we now play 3-on-3 until someone scores. Personally, I think 3-on-3 is as dumb or dumber than shootouts, but you people seem to like it so let’s compromise and play 3-on-3 until someone scores to avoid shootouts.

24) Overtime goes until someone scores. Yeah, like it says. If you can play 5-on-5 in the playoffs until 1 AM, you can play beyond five minutes at 3-on-3 in the regular season.

I hate the shootout, HOWEVA, if we’re going to a 3-2-1 points system, I’m okay with it. I don’t see many 3-on-3 overtimes going very long, but even one 20-miunte overtime in December is too many.

25) 3-on-3 wins are separated from regulation wins in tiebreaker.

Like it.

27) High sticking penalties can be challenged. It doesn’t happen a lot, but it happens enough where we need a safety net against guys being issued high sticking penalties when really the guy who got hit in the face was hit by his own teammate’s stick. It’s easily correctable and should never take more than a minute.

At face value, I like it, so long as the review is short (more on that later.) But where do we draw the line challenging penalties?

28) “Original Six” results in prison time. If anyone is caught using the term “Original Six” you will receive 25 years to life in a federal prison.

I know it’s a joke, but still, hard pass. Celebrate the history of the game.

29) Any head contact results in an ejection and is reviewable. I understand that hockey is fast and you can wreck a guy’s head with a “clean” hit that gets torso first, but aren’t we at a point medically where we can say it’s way too easy to destroy a brain? Do we really need a guy wiping out another guy with a “clean” open-ice hit that renders him unconscious?

The point of a check is to separate the other guy from the puck so you can take it. “Clean” hits involving the head almost always result in the receiver of the hit needing medical attention, which stops the game and defeats the purpose of the hit. There’s nothing wrong with slowing the game in the context of these hits, which will all be reviewed so no one is ejected for the wrong reasons.

There’s no good way to do this. The only way you’re going to get rid of all head contact is to remove hitting from the game entirely. The best case scenario for what Lozo’s suggesting here is a copy of the mess that college football has.

30) You can kick pucks for goals.

32) Hand passes are legal everywhere.

No on both. Why even have sticks then?

33) All broadcasts need a shot total graphic on the screen at all times.

Agreed.

34) Linesmen can call penalties.

That they can’t already is ridiculous.

35) No more Lady Byng Trophy.

Hard pass.

36) NBC can’t broadcast games anymore.

NBC is fine. When ESPN broadcasts games, it’s not much better.

37) NHL.com’s stats page is overhauled.

Yes. The website is a joke.

38) Every team needs one person wearing a 69 jersey.

When did PFT Commenter start covering hockey? I mean, I bet he’d like it. Plenty of grit.

41) Delay of game penalties for goalies freezing the puck outside the crease.

Pass. Ideally, it would be a little leas easy for goalies to take whistles, but this seems too restrictive.

Now for my own suggestions:

1 . Games are played on Olympic ice.

If you want to increase offense, this is how you do it. Open the ice up. Let’s see teams plug up the ice when they have 15 extra feet to defend.

What it would mean for the Hawks: Patrick Kane with 15 more feet to operate.

2. Reviews are limited to 60 seconds.

If there’s not clear evidence to overturn a call in 60 seconds, the call on the ice stands. Speed the game up. This goes for every sport with review.

3. Hurricanes become the Hartford Whalers again, Coyotes become the Quebec Nordiques

And if the Islanders don’t start drawing, they’re the next team to get moved.

Twitter: @KSchroeder_312

E-mail: schroeder.giig@gmail.com

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