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Old 09-16-2009, 10:03 AM   #1
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The NHL: How to Improve It

Most fans agree that the game is not as exciting now as it was fifteen-to-twenty years ago (I would agree), that there are too many teams (I would agree), and that some of the teams are in poorly-chosen markets making weak franchises (as a Canadian, I obviously agree).

So, I was just wondering how all ye hockey fans would improve the NHL, if you had the power to do anything?

Here's what I suggest:

-- Reduce the number of teams from 30 down to 24.

-- Either cancel them, or move the franchises in Phoenix, Nashville, and the two in Florida to Connecticut, Quebec City, Hamilton, and Winnipeg. Add Raleigh to that pile (even though it's doing pretty well).

-- Ideally, there would two conferences: one in Canada, and one in the USA, thus ensuring a Canadian franchise vs. American franchise in EVERY Stanley Cup final. However, I don't think it's possible to have 12 franchises in Canada, so that might not work mathematically... still, why not have all the Canadian teams in one Conference? The players wouldn't mind in that they would avoid the hassle of extra international travel, and the fans would love it.

-- Reduce the sizes of the Goalies' pads to about 2/3 what they are now (back to what they were in the 80s). Further limit the size of the catching glove.

-- Increase penalties for stick infractions, cross-checking, holding, etc., esp. in front of the net (the NHL has actually done a good job of this since the lockout, but hockey is still the most inconsistently refereed major sport). You shouldn't have to take out a life insurance policy to be a goal scorer.

-- Reduce the # of playoff teams to 8 -- the top four from each Conference. Three rounds of playoffs, like in the 70s, is more than enough! It was okay in the 80s when you knew the first round was going to be easy for top teams, but nowadays the first round is like an attrition battle, leaving everyone exhausted before we even get to round two. By the time the whole thing is over, I'm almost sick of the game.


These are my thoughts... feel free to agree/disagree, or add on to my list!


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Old 09-16-2009, 10:17 AM   #2
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Old 09-16-2009, 10:24 AM   #3
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Sorry, it's my first post on this forum -- I assumed I can start a new one, since my topic isn't about the upcoming season...? Apologies if I'm wrong.


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Old 09-16-2009, 11:51 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by 65980 View Post
Most fans agree that the game is not as exciting now as it was fifteen-to-twenty years ago (I would agree), that there are too many teams (I would agree), and that some of the teams are in poorly-chosen markets making weak franchises (as a Canadian, I obviously agree).

So, I was just wondering how all ye hockey fans would improve the NHL, if you had the power to do anything?

Here's what I suggest:

-- Reduce the number of teams from 30 down to 24.

-- Either cancel them, or move the franchises in Phoenix, Nashville, and the two in Florida to Connecticut, Quebec City, Hamilton, and Winnipeg. Add Raleigh to that pile (even though it's doing pretty well).

-- Ideally, there would two conferences: one in Canada, and one in the USA, thus ensuring a Canadian franchise vs. American franchise in EVERY Stanley Cup final. However, I don't think it's possible to have 12 franchises in Canada, so that might not work mathematically... still, why not have all the Canadian teams in one Conference? The players wouldn't mind in that they would avoid the hassle of extra international travel, and the fans would love it.

-- Reduce the sizes of the Goalies' pads to about 2/3 what they are now (back to what they were in the 80s). Further limit the size of the catching glove.

-- Increase penalties for stick infractions, cross-checking, holding, etc., esp. in front of the net (the NHL has actually done a good job of this since the lockout, but hockey is still the most inconsistently refereed major sport). You shouldn't have to take out a life insurance policy to be a goal scorer.

-- Reduce the # of playoff teams to 8 -- the top four from each Conference. Three rounds of playoffs, like in the 70s, is more than enough! It was okay in the 80s when you knew the first round was going to be easy for top teams, but nowadays the first round is like an attrition battle, leaving everyone exhausted before we even get to round two. By the time the whole thing is over, I'm almost sick of the game.


These are my thoughts... feel free to agree/disagree, or add on to my list!
I agree with some of this, disagree with others. One thing that is never going to happen is to less the playoff teams, so that's not even worth talking about. But, even if the business reasons that preclude this from ever happening did not exist, I'd still disagree. The NHL playoffs are a fairly amazing spectacle, and a lot of sports fans don't perk up as it pertains to the sport until the playoffs. Playoff hockey is amazing, I cannot get enough of it, so shortening the thing that best shows off your sport seems like a mistake.

Reducing the # of teams is also never going to happen, but, here we agree. Such an oversaturation, in markets that just cannot/will not support a hockey franchise. Contraction would be a blessing to the sport on the whole.

I'd love to see more teams back in Canada, to be honest. It just feels right. Having a hockey team in the desert or Tennessee feels very wrong.

I can very much get behind the goalie pad change, definitely. Ditto for the penalty increases.


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Old 09-16-2009, 11:56 AM   #5
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YouTube - NHL Woos Fans By Increasing Scoring With Bigger Nets, 3-Point Line


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Old 09-16-2009, 12:01 PM   #6
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Old 09-17-2009, 05:43 PM   #7
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play something other than hockey.


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Old 09-18-2009, 06:01 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 65980 View Post

-- Either cancel them, or move the franchises in Phoenix, Nashville, and the two in Florida to Connecticut, Quebec City, Hamilton, and Winnipeg. !
You know Hartford, Quebec City and Winnipeg all had franchises that failed and moved to other locales, right. How does it make sense to move teams back to spots that already proved unable to sustain a franchise?


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Old 09-18-2009, 10:07 AM   #9
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Old 09-18-2009, 10:13 AM   #10
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You know Hartford, Quebec City and Winnipeg all had franchises that failed and moved to other locales, right. How does it make sense to move teams back to spots that already proved unable to sustain a franchise?
I don't know about Hartford, but those Canadian cities failed not because of lack of fan support, but because of a dearth of private money to build badly needed arenas with luxury boxes. All levels of Canadian governments rarely, if ever, help fund construction of new arenas, even if there's a threat of moving.

But franchises in those cities can definitely work, that I can assure you.


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Old 09-18-2009, 01:48 PM   #11
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I know about Hartford. The team sucked. The name sucked. (What Hell is a "Whaler" ? They should have just cut to the chase and named the team Whale Killers and gotten it over with.) And, lastly, the uniforms sucked. (They should have just had a whale fin with a circle and a slash on the front of the jerseys.) So, when a team is shitty and has a shitty name and uniforms, chances are fans won't really care. That is until that team decides to leave town. Then they'll actually care, but it will be too late. Even worse is when your team wins the Stanley Cup after they've relocated. Ouch. With this all said, I don't really see Hartford getting another NHL franchise. Not with the Bruins and Rangers nearby to tear the Connecticut fanbase in half. Not to mention the Islanders, Devils and Flyers also being relatively close.

I also don't see the NHL going back to Quebec City and Winnipeg. Quebec has Montreal and I don't believe Winnipeg could sustain a franchise with the size market that they are in.


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Old 09-18-2009, 03:44 PM   #12
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well maybe they can move to long island when the islanders move.


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Old 09-18-2009, 03:56 PM   #13
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well maybe they can move to long island when the islanders move.
If they really want to improve the NHL, have the Nassau Coliseum blown up. That place sucks. But, I did see my first U2 show there.


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Old 09-18-2009, 04:02 PM   #14
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Make all games worth 3 points. 3 for a regulation time win, 2 for an OTW + 1 for an OTL. Wouldn't improve the game per se, but .... I think it makes sense.

Get some consistency with the calls. I'd like to see fewer penalties called overall, but so long as a hook is a hook is a hook, I'd be ok with that too.

I think the defending team should be able to wave off icing, though the team icing should still not be allowed to change.

Stop handling the players with 2 sets of rules depending on how much of a star the player is.


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Old 09-18-2009, 04:37 PM   #15
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You know Hartford, Quebec City and Winnipeg all had franchises that failed and moved to other locales, right. How does it make sense to move teams back to spots that already proved unable to sustain a franchise?
Yes, that's why I picked those spots, of course. Well, my (admittedly) limited understanding of NHL economics is that those particular franchises -- esp. the Canadian three -- were screwed by the then-lack of revenue sharing and the then-large disparity between the US and Canadian dollars. Both these problems (the former being the major problem) have been solved to some extent now -- the league certainly works harder at maintaining franchises, no matter how weak the fanbase. And the fanbase will never be weak in Canada, and should be strong in New England.


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(What Hell is a "Whaler" ? They should have just cut to the chase and named the team Whale Killers and gotten it over with.)

I also don't see the NHL going back to Quebec City and Winnipeg. Quebec has Montreal and I don't believe Winnipeg could sustain a franchise with the size market that they are in.
A "whaler" is a person who hunts whales -- ever read Moby Dick? Maybe that name wasn't the most politically correct for a team, but it was probably an attempt to appeal to the white, working-class male fans that are the traditional support demographic for hockey teams. (As for a stupid name, how about the "Flyers" in Philly? That's awful. They should have named them the Steel-Pipe Fitters or something, akin to the football team.)

As I explained above, I think in the current NHL economic situation, those Canadian franchises would be totally fine -- in fact, they were fine before in terms of ticket sales, but they suffered merely for being in "small markets", a problem that shouldn't exist anymore. Winnipeg actually had a pro-team from about 1971 to 1996, which is a quarter-century, and they regularly sold out. You have to remember this is hockey-mad Canada, where yesterday's meaningless pre-season game in Montreal sold 21,000 tickets. Fan support and ticket-sales is not a problem.


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