Most people fear change, but few groups of people loathe it more than hockey fans. This is a sport that feasts on nostalgia, with the league’s biggest successes of the past decade being the Winter Classic and commercials like “History Will Be Made” and “No Words.” Remember “No Words”?
…tear, tear, tear.
Ah, the good ol’ days, right? “Everything was better then.”
And, maybe some things were. But there’s no way the NHL would be the great product it is today if the league wasn’t willing to evolve, and it has been, to the chagrin of many. They knocked out obstruction, limited goalies ability to break the puck out, downsized their gear and more, all in the interest of improving a product that was becoming overly defensive. Things got sloggy, so they opened up the game. Negative trends emerge, they fix ‘em, and we move on.
I’m in favor of the game evolving with the talent, so with the GMs meetings taking place in Boca this week, I figured I’d throw my hat into the ring. Here are the changes I believe would lead to a better NHL product.
One thing Darren Dreger tweeted about today after the initial GM meetings was the idea of punishing faceoff cheaters by having them move back a foot. This would be fantastic.
As it stands, when a team needs an extra couple seconds to get set or catch their breath, they’ll send in a winger to take the draw who’ll proceed to cheat so egregiously that he gets kicked out. The team then looks around to figure out who’s going to step in and take it, then…blah blah blah, 10 seconds burned, mission accomplished.
If you don’t want to make that a flat-out delay of game penalty (as mentioned here), I love the idea mentioned above. If you cheat, the other team has a better chance at winning the draw. Fair’s fair.
By the same token, there was an idea to widen the hashmarks (as they do in international play) so there’s less contact off the draw among wingers and d-men, which means less picks, which means more room for talent to work.
Yes, yes, and yes.
Make goalie interference reviewable
Goalie interference is a pretty important call. As it currently stands, when a dicey goal is scored, you hope the ref was looking directly at the player/tender interaction, then you hope he had the right angle of it, then you hope he saw something that indicates if the goal should count or not and doesn’t have to guess. There have been a number of cases where goals have been called off this year when the player never touched the goalie. Why leave this to chance? That’s a pretty pivotal decision. Read the rest of this entry »