10 Improvements to save the NHL

Discussion in 'Sports' started by Jimmy C, Jun 7, 2007.

  1. Jimmy C

    Jimmy C
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2003
    Messages:
    1,250
    Likes Received:
    0
    The great Tim Cowlishaw has ten things the NHL needs to do to improve the game - what do you all think?

    Here is the article

    The Anaheim Ducks could hoist the Stanley Cup as early as tonight which would shock not only Ottawa fans but about 300 million Americans who had no idea that hockey season was still under way.
    Like the last two Finals between Canadian teams and teams from nontraditional U.S. markets, there have been great goals, terrific saves and punishing hits. And like those series, no one (relatively speaking) is watching.

    On Saturday night when LeBron James led Cleveland into the NBA Finals, the NBA earned a 5.3 rating. That's not what the league used to get for conference finals, by any means. But it was far better than what NBC drew (1.5) for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
    Quick, before commissioner Gary Bettman renders this league extinct, here are 10 ways to fix the NHL and deliver an improved product to more viewers in 2008.
    1: Put microphones on all coaches and captains for all games. One of the things that the millions of fans that flock to NASCAR races each year really enjoy is the ability to hear every word exchanged between Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his crew chief, Tony Eury Jr.
    The scanner technology is there to let every fan in the seats eavesdrop on what's being said. We don't want lame interviews conducted by bench reporters. We want to hear the real thing, and if we're paying $100 a ticket, we deserve it.
    2: Start the season a month later. The Stanley Cup Finals should be starting when the NBA Finals are ending. For two weeks, you get the closest thing you're ever going to get to undivided attention.
    The technology is good enough to make ice playable in late June. Starting the season a month before the NBA in the heart of college and pro football season does nothing for the NHL.
    3: Convince the selfish Eastern Conference general managers to act in the best interests of the game and change the schedule. This was voted on and rejected a few months ago. But Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, moving into the prime of what's going to be a fantastic career, needs to play a game in Dallas and Los Angeles and Chicago every year. Not once every three years.
    4: Kiss up to ESPN. Make amends. There's still enough room for programming at the world-wide leader to get your games back there. Versus gives the NHL no presence at all. The studio show has Bill Clement, a great analyst, in the misguided role of host.
    Get back to ESPN – even if it's ESPN2 – and get your highlights back on SportsCenter.
    5: Let the skaters in shootouts go without their helmets. In the Sixties and Seventies, we could easily identify Bobby Hull, Jean Beliveau, the flowing locks of Guy LaFleur.
    Then safety reared its ugly head, and now we have no idea what these players look like. Most of the regular-season highlights we see of the NHL are from shootouts. Let's see the players. Women will like this one.
    6: Eliminate the ability to ice the puck during penalty killing. You can't do it 5-on-5 but you can do it when you're being penalized? Montreal GM Bob Gainey never really thought that made sense and he's right.
    [​IMG] AP
    Television ratings have fallen flat for the Stanley Cup finals.



    If they ice it, bring back the puck back for the face-off and the penalty killers have to stay on the ice.
    What that would do is increase scoring from the game's best players, make power plays more powerful and cut down on penalties which would increase the flow of the game. All of those are good things.
    7: Adopt the 2-3-2 travel format for all series. Commissioner David Stern did it for the NBA Finals after the 1984 season to ease the travel for newspapers. Those Boston-to-Los Angeles-to-Boston-to Los Angeles-to Boston trips were hard on the budget, not to mention hangovers.
    Do it for all series. Increase (even by a fraction) news media coverage of the playoffs. It can't hurt.
    8: Adopt the shootout after 40 minutes of playoff overtime hockey. Once you get past that point, the hockey gets ugly. Fans need to know that if they stick around until a little after midnight, they are going to see a winner. Networks need to know that, too. They aren't making any money with those long ad-less overtimes.
    I would keep unlimited overtime for any game that could decide the Cup Finals.
    9: Move the U.S. league office to Atlanta. Being in New York, the NHL can at least pretend it's a big deal. Bettman and other league officials need to walk the streets of Atlanta or, I don't care, Raleigh or Nashville and learn that nobody knows who they are. It will help them figure out what they have done to the game.
    10: Contract to 26 teams. Arrive at a formula based on revenue, attendance, won-lost record and local ratings. The two worst performing teams are dropped and their players are dispersed after next season. Two more go a year later.
    Now you have fewer and better teams and you get to see the stars more often and you increase your chances of making the playoffs. Those are good things.
    Someone should let Bettman know how his grand plan of "expanding the league's footprint
     
  2. Jimmy C

    Jimmy C
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2003
    Messages:
    1,250
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here it is guys dissect away!
     
  3. TomVols

    TomVols
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2000
    Messages:
    11,170
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm lukewarm about #1 but adamantly opposed to #2. I am not wild about mics on coaches and players, but can live with it (it's in the MLB and NFL as well). #2 is an idea I hate. While part of me would not be opposed to having sommething to watch (along with baseball) in July, the NBA finals and playoffs don't matter one whit to me. If there's an NHL playoff game on or an NBA playoff game on, I pick the NHL hands down everytime. It's more exciting for a hundred reasons. Besides, I've seen stats where the NHL has more viewers than the NBA. Notice that Cowlishaw compares to small market NHL teams in a Game 3, against two major market teams in a deciding game of a championship series. If the NBA couldn't draw a bigger rating there, they need to disband the NBA quickly. Wonder how the other games rate?

    #3 is a good idea. I hate the unbalanced schedule. However, how do you balance it without having a season that lasts 11 months?

    More to come...........
     
  4. Jimmy C

    Jimmy C
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2003
    Messages:
    1,250
    Likes Received:
    0
    Tom

    The saturday night NBA game (conference finals) - not a big tv night for anyone, drew a 5.3 rating, the nhl (stanley cup finals) drew a 1.5 - the lowest night for NBC EVER. You were one of the 10 watching :)

    I dont care about #1 - but I do think the NHL has got to get creative to get the fans more involved. If micing up the players and coaches helps, they have to think about it.

    The way you balance the schedule is take some eastern conference games away from the east and send them west. the NBA has figured our how to do it. I remember when MJ came to town with the bulls every year, the local sports guys treated his arrival like the superbowl, it was close to the same when crosby came to town this year. Can you imagine if he comes even close to the great one, what he could do for hockey in each of the western towns he comes into every year - it would give hockey a huge PR boost (even if it is just one game). There are some pretty good western conf players that dont get much exposure out east either

    I love #6, and I think #10 is very much needed by the NHL (and mlb for that matter)
     
  5. ccrobinson

    ccrobinson
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    Messages:
    4,459
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've said it elsewhere about the NHL, but #4 has to be done. Pride needs to be swallowed and fewer dollars accepted from ESPN in order to get interest in the NHL back.


    #2 is a bad idea. Watching hockey in July makes no sense. While I understand that it will never happen, I still believe that cutting down on the number of playoff teams, and shortening the season by a few games per team will help. Eliminating franchises would help with this. For instance, I still don't understand the point of a professional hockey team in Columbus, Ohio. No offense to Columbus intended, but it's nowhere near the top 20 TV markets in the U.S., much less when you include Canada.

    This suggestion wasn't on the list, but should be.
    11: Get rid of Gary Bettman. I'm going to continue banging the drum on this one. He almost single-handedly destroyed a professional sports league.
     
  6. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2003
    Messages:
    15,125
    Likes Received:
    0
    I say implement all 10 (or 11) of em, it cannot make the league any worse.
     
  7. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here's a few ideas to save the NHL:

    1. Trade the puck for an oblong air filled pigskin with pointed ends.
    2. Trade the blue lines for yard lines.
    3. Trade the ice for grass.
    4. Trade the face off for a kick off.
    5. Trade the H for F.

    That is probably the only thing that will make it a mainstream sport.
     
  8. AF Guy N Paradise

    AF Guy N Paradise
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2002
    Messages:
    1,080
    Likes Received:
    1
    The lowest rated prime time show on NBC of all time?

    That alone tells you a lot.
     
  9. TomVols

    TomVols
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2000
    Messages:
    11,170
    Likes Received:
    0
    I seriously doubt that.

    That said, I know I don't watch tv on Saturday nights, unless my wife and I are watching a DVD, or the Vols are playing on Saturday night. I will miss my Preds, Reds, etc., so I can be with my family. I force my family to be with me if the Vols bball or fball teams are playing :)
     
  10. AF Guy N Paradise

    AF Guy N Paradise
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2002
    Messages:
    1,080
    Likes Received:
    1
    That is what the rating gurus are saying... The lowest prime time show on NBC of all time for the last game. Even some cooking shows beat the hockey game.
     
  11. bobbyd

    bobbyd
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2004
    Messages:
    1,468
    Likes Received:
    0
    For me, only one thing will make the NHL more interesting...get some talent back in Denver so that the Avs can actually contend again, and the put them on TV more often!
    OK, so maybe i'm a bit biased here...
     
  12. TomVols

    TomVols
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2000
    Messages:
    11,170
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with #4. #5 is not necessary in football, so why do it in Hockey?
    Disagree with #6. You're a man down for crying out loud. You need something to even things out. In basketball or football, you don't lose a player for a foul or a penalty. It's 6 on 5. Having a man advantage is considered the ultimate in team sports. If you can't keep the puck in the attack zone, that's your problem :)

    I like #7 in theory. However, the road team only has to win one game in the first two to suddenly have home ice, so I'm not crazy about it, but I can live with it.

    #8 - Part of me likes the idea of a finality and how it might save the players, but nothing is more exciting than playoff OT hockey. Sudden victory, sudden advance...it gets no better.

    #9. Not a bad idea. Bettman could get elected governor of Tennessee if he keeps to his guns and keeps Mr. Blackberry from taking the Predators from the beloved Music City to some small Canadian outpost.

    #10 - okay. Start with the Islanders. They're dead in the water, and NYC doesn't need three teams. LA doesn't need two. South Florida doesn't need one. Take the last one from one of the floundering Canadian franchises, though two could come from there. I'd prefer that the Sharks were eliminated. Then maybe the Preds could get out of the first round of the playoffs :laugh:

    My additional requests:
    - Stop giving division champs seeds 1-3 in the playoffs. Makes no sense to have a team with 100+ points seeded 4th (yes, I'm biased because it's caught Nashville two years in a row). The NBA stopped this, and so should the NHL. If you win your division, you're seeded no worse than 4, but all else is based on points.

    - Increase OT to 8 or 10 minutes in the Regular season or else do away with it altogether and go straight to the shootout. 5 minutes barely gives you enough time to do much.

    - Stop having your All-Star game in the middle of the week. It belongs on a Sunday afternoon, starting at around 1:30, so I can get home from church and have my lunch before watching :)

    - Make Bettman return his copy of "Ruining a Pro Sports League For Dummies" back to David Stern, then give "How to be Inept at League Management" audio book back to Faye Vincent.

    - Make Detroit admit they stole Russian hockey jerseys from the 1980 Olympic team and ironed their logo on over top the CCCP letters :laugh:
     

Share This Page

Loading...