Tuesday, May 17, 2005

In the Top 4? In my dreams

There's a story that the "Big 4" commissioners (Tagliabue, Stern, Selig, and Bettman) are meeting Congress to discuss steroids. Considering pre-lockout hockey ratings in the US were south of NASCAR, arena football, and bowling, this makes me further question our federal leadership. Although I'm not sure taking the "cream" and the "clear" could really spruce up the crotch chop.

Monday, May 09, 2005

No News is Bad News

Latest news from the NHL talks? Nothing is happening. Glad to see the owners and players are committed to getting a deal done. If anyone needs me, I'll be watching curling on "The Ocho".

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

My Top 5 Rule Changes

Ok, I'm too lazy to come up with 10 rule changes or improvements, so I figure 5 (ok, 6) should be enough. Here they are:

1. Actually enforce obstruction. Maybe the obstruction rules need tweaking, maybe they don't. What they definitely need is the refs to enforce them as they are written. If someone is skating after a loose puck and a defensemen changes his skating line to make contact with that person, it's obstruction. I don't care if they fall down or not. We need to stop the clutch-and-grab style away from the puck. If the refs won't enforce it, get new refs. I'm really fed up with this stuff.

2. Smaller goalie equipment. Buccigross wants bigger nets, and I want control over the equipment. Very strict guidelines on everything a goalie wears: leg pads, blocker, catch glove, chest protector, jersey, helmet, everything. If that means very tall or big goalies can't fit into the equipment, too bad. Small guys don't have a reasonable shot of making it in the NBA or NHL, what's the difference? And don't tell me bigger pads mean more safety. Patrick Roy wearing a 58 jersey don't help squat in terms of safety, but it does stop pucks from going under his arms.

3. Eliminate red line offsides (two line passes). This change makes the Olympic game more interesting, and the European game faster. Let the fast guys skate.

4. Move the net back to where it was pre-Gretzky. He was a master behind the net, and I think this is at least partially why they moved it out. Well, time to move it back. More room in front = more goals scored.

5. Reinstate touch-up offsides. I'm not sure why the league ever agreed to a rule that would increase the number of stoppages of play.

6. Goalies can play the puck wherever they want, but if they're out of the crease, you can hit them like any other player. I want to see Brodeur's skill at clearing the zone, or Lalime's lack of it. But having an invisible force field around you when you're wearing 3X the amount of pads as everyone else makes no sense.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Rule Changes

Ok, so I'm grasping at straws, but there's been a spate of recent coverage in Hockey News (the best sports publication out there) and John Buccigross's column on espn.com about "sprucing up the game". Here's Mr. Buccigross' list (without all the commentary):
1. Bigger nets
2. No skater interference
3. Penalty deterrents (like serving the entire two, disqualification for too many penalties)
4. Adopt all AHL rule changes this season (wide blue lines, tag up offside, crease behind the net, net closer to the boards)
5. Paint helmets interesting colors and designs
6. Mandatory ref and player microphones
7. No music before faceoffs
8. Take out the red line
9. Play-in games for the playoffs

The tenth suggestion was more of a joke than anything, so I didn't include it. Numbers 5, 6, and 7 don't really have anything to do with the game itself, so I can't say I really care. People don't go to football games to watch the halftime show, unless you're planning on booing Ashlee Simpson. Fixing what happens when play isn't going on is a distant second to fixing the game on the ice. Exhibit A: the XFL. You can have clever nicknames on the back of your jersey ("He Hate Me"), Matrix-like camera tricks, and the hottest women in the world as cheerleaders, but having a second-rate sport will kill you. And in the past 5-10 years, hockey has been a second rate sport.

I'll post my suggested rule changes in the next few days.

Monday, May 02, 2005


Bring on the scabs. I'm not real sure of all the pitfalls of fielding (icing?) replacement players, but I say let's go. I'm a hockey fan, first and foremost. I want to see top-level play. If the only people that will provide it are minor league, college, and international players, then I say "where's the season ticket form?" I'm not willing to pay the same prices, but I'll pay more than I'm paying now (i.e. nothing).