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Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Completely Infeasible and Far Fetched Plan to Save the NHL

There has been much discussion around these parts lately about the popularity of hockey now and in the future. I firmly believe the NHL is sliding slowly into irrelevance and you could make the argument that it is already irrelevant. Let's face it, when 80% of the franchises are located in a country that doesn't give a shit about the sport, there is a problem. That being said, there is hope....

Step 1: Retract some gosh darned teams

Why was hockey so badass in the fifties and sixties? A few reasons. A shallow player pool, resulting in amazing talent spread across every team; passionate rivalries because teams played early and often; and teams that didn't change players every week, giving more casual fans a better opportunity to learn the players, resulting in knowledgeable, passionate fan bases.

None of this exists now.

Solution: get rid of at least ten teams, preferably in places that are not selling tickets. I'm far too lazy to research who actually sells tickets, but I'm going to suggest who to contract.

Florida, Nashville, Atlanta, Carolina, Phoenix, Tampa Bay, Washington, San Jose, Columbus, and I would recommend consolidating L.A. and Anaheim into one team. Anaheim is in L.A. at this point.

I would love if more teams could be moved to Canada, but there does not seem to be places to put teams. Winnipeg and Quebec City are the only places big enough, but we know how that turned out.

Step 2: Slash costs.....Slash ticket prices

I realize costs are way down from before the lockout, but they are quickly escalating again. The NHL likes to pretend it can contend with the big boys as far as salaries, and as an extension of that, ticket prices. The reality is that they cannot. This league has nowhere near the revenue the other 'Big 3' has.

The NHL has an average salary of 1.75 million. The NFL has an average salary of 1.1 million. I realize NFL teams require twice as many players, but you must admit, this is retarded. Each NFL team makes 84 million dollars a year in TV money. The average NHL team takes in 81 million dollars a year total. This does not equate at all, especially when you consider how much more the NFL makes in terms of merchandising and other such things.

The way to bring people back to the rink is to reduce prices. The average family pretty much can't go to a game at this point. The only way to make this possible is to reduce costs, and this means reducing player salaries.

Step 3: Rule changes?

I'm not necessarily in favour of any or all of these changes. Is it worth saving the game if you're just going to bastardize it into something unrecognizable? Nevertheless, consider the following:

Remove fighting : The effect this would have is arguable. Some love fighting, some hate it. My guess is this would be a wash. You'd lose as many as you gain. In fact, forget I even brought this up.

Enforce the obstruction rules : This also doesn't work in my opinion. It just results in more powerplays, which are just guys passing the puck around, and are not overly exciting. This section is not working out the way I planned it. Maybe this game is not salvageable.

Bigger nets : The problem with hockey in most peoples eyes is flow of the game. Making the net bigger only results in more goals, not more flow. The game becomes no more exciting. Bigger nets are also useless. This is why I never write anything on here.

Olympic Ice : This is the moneymaker. The argument here is that the rinks cannot accommodate the changes. I call bullshit. Just add a few more feet of the pipes under the ice. The only issue I can see here is that you lose a little bit of seating capacity, but in most markets these seats are empty anyway, which looks retarded on TV. As an added bonus, you get more expensive front row seats because the circumference of the ice is larger! It's a win-win. This should also clear up some space on the ice for some sweet stuff to happen. The best hockey I ever remember seeing is the 2002 Olympics. This may have had more to do with who won and such but whatever.

Four on Four : I think this is dumb. It's all I'm going to say.

Conclusion:

This is much longer than intended and I didn't say half the shit I wanted too. But it's a start. To me, the biggest problem is the economics of the league. Like I said, they want to compete with Baseball, Football, and most of all Basketball. The reality is that they cannot right now. Someday they might get back to the hey day of the early nineties, but that will not happen soon, and not without some big time changes to the league. Status Quo is simply not good enough.

18 comments:

Wally MS said...

Maybe I should I have read this post first. My comment touched on most of these issues. The one thing I didn't think of was bigger ice surfaces. That would be awesome. Even if you don't go all the way to Olympic size, bigger rinks would allow the game to open up and would eliminate the trap. The main point against this is it would cost to much to change the surface. I say if it is going to help in the long run, who gives a shit? Pony up the cash, most of the owners are billionaires anyway.

Also they should make hockey like it was in the eighties and early nineties. All the old people say hockey was better in those days. But how do you do that? Bring back the old equipment. Smaller pads (players and goalies), old gloves and wood sticks. Helmets and skates can stay the same. Could be fun.

PigBearMan? said...

Smaller pads are a HUGE deal to me. I hate hearing about bigger nets and stuff when clearly the goalies just have pads that are way too big. You can't even say that it's for added protection. The shoulder pads are getting too high, and the leg pads are getting too wide and long. I saw one goalie early this year who's pads literally almost touched the ice (Lightning maybe?).

As much as it pains me to say it, if you're having a list of teams to retract, New Jersey needs to be in there. They thought the new arena would help sales because it moved to Newark, but people just keep saying that it's no better than East Rutherford. Obviously they wanted a new arena, but moving to Newark didn't do anything to help.

PigBearMan? said...

Alright I was going to comment on the Devils some more, but I think I've got enough to make a post. Stay tuned.

Clock Cleaner said...

I like step 3.

Sounds kinda like Michael Cera wrote that step.

Wally MS said...

Didn't they already make the pads smaller and bring them down to Brodeur sizes? Him and Hasek are the ultimate examples that you don't need massive pads to be a good goalie.

The Manute Bol Experience said...

You don't need huge pads if you are Brodeur or Hasek. You just named the two best goalies of the last twenty years; they don't really count.

Wally MS said...

But that is what I am saying, in order to be good you don't need big pads. Luongo is another example, he used to have the biggest pads. Now with the smaller pads he is just as good if not better. Having smaller pads make you a better goalie because you have to be in position to make the save and you have to be manoeuvrable. With big pads you just stand there and wait for the puck to hit you.

The Manute Bol Experience said...

Yeah, I see you point. I just thought I'd call you on your terrible example.

By the way, congrats on the Leafs playing themselves out of a good draft pick again.

PigBearMan? said...

Do they actually enforce the new pad sizes? I thought they claimed they had rules against bid pags years ago, but everybody knew they didn't care.

Clock Cleaner said...

Bid Pags. Ol' dyslexic lindsey at it again.

Nazi Synthesizer said...

I don't think thats dyslexic. Isn't when you mix up letters...not pull one out of your ass. I think he just typo'd.

Clock Cleaner said...

Dyslexia is a learning disability that manifests primarily as a difficulty with written language, particularly with reading and spelling. Dyslexic individuals often have difficulty "breaking the code" of sound-letter association (the alphabetic principle), and they may also reverse or transpose letters when writing.

PigBearMan? said...

Hahah I did mix up letters. biD paGs. That's awesome. Usually I have the odd speech dyslexia, but never written.

But yeah...it was a typo. My literary skills crush yours, assholes.

The Manute Bol Experience said...

You have to admit, that's quite the coincidence. You should probably see a doctor about that.

Nazi Synthesizer said...

It was a typo. Put the dictionary away, Webster.

Clock Cleaner said...

NOOOOOOOOO. I could have sworn he was actually dyslexic.

Nazi Synthesizer said...

He might be.

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