Tuesday, August 20, 2013

One More Time, With Feeling

Some people, predictably, get excited over nothing.  But you know what?  To hell with politics, recriminations, he said he said, and "team loyalty":

I like this.

I hope Ottawa fans blow the roof of of CTC for Alfredsson when Detroit comes to visit this fall.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Grantland Fixes The NHL

Grantland has some ideas about how to improve the NHL product.  It is a lengthy list, and well worth reading.  For the most part I agree with the suggestions and the rationale for some things which were explicitly not suggested.

Things I disagree with, kinda:

Lose the puck-over-the-glass penalty: The cynic in me says that people don't like this rule because it is black and white.  There's no room for interpretation as to whether or not the puck went over the glass -- if it is in someone's beer, and that someone isn't on the ice, it went in the glass.  Fans -- and players -- like rules with room for interpretation (or "discretion") because it means that in certain game-critical situations, the enforcement of rules can be suspended in the interests of letting the boys play the game.  Changing it so that it is the same as an icing call is fine with me from a game-flow point of view.  As long as the rules are consistently applied, I really don't care too much about the specifics.

No more Bettman Cup Presentations: I'm all for making Bettman sad, but frankly the cup presentation isn't about the players.  This is about the owners inserting themselves into the process so that history will look back and see how gracious the owners were about providing this format for the feats of greatness that the players perform.  It is, in short, about the money rather than about the sport.  And as long as Bettmen is involved with the NHL, he'll be handing out the cup.  Besides, it makes the cup presentations something to remember and talk about when it goes so comically, hilariously bad.  Otherwise nobody would care about it after the live presentation.  I mean seriously, which Prince Of Wales Trophy presentation is the most memorable to you?  If you exclude those awarded you your favorite team at the time, I bet the answer is none of them.  (And I had to look up the trophy name.)

Crossover Final:  I'm pretty sure this will never happen because of the potential for increased travel costs.  And frankly it would lead to situations approaching those as ridiculous as the Mets and the Yankees playing a subway series for the "World" championships.  And really, that will lead to larger segments of the country feeling left out when every final is played between two Western teams.  Because it will.  So if you want a crossover series of playoffs, why start at the second level?  I say, rank the teams from first to last in terms of points, and seed the top eight, and go from there.  That will make more of the regular season games meaningful, give random playoff combinations.

Place a moratorium on redesigned logos/jerseys: Again, this is about money, although in this case it is more blatantly about moving it from the fans' pockets into the owners.  I think that as long as fans keep buying the jerseys, the teams should be permitted to make whatever changes they want.  A fan spending a couple thousand bucks a year on tickets and parking and beer probably has a budget where another $200 jersey is a rounding error.  If fans really don't like it or feel that the costs are exorbitant then they'll stop buying the new jerseys.

Go back to home whites: Home whites only look good if you are the Toronto Maple Leafs, frankly.  Just about everyone else's look stupid.  The only time I liked the Ottawa Senators whites was with the "old" logo (see any Ottawa Senators post on this blog) because it didn't look good with the black.  So if we can go back to the "old" logo for the Senators, I'd possibly be down with going back to home whites.  But maybe not, I'd have to see how the logo looked on the current red.  I really like the red first.  And changing the Senators logo would conflict with his "moratorium on redesigned logos/jerseys".

More home-and-homes: I'm totally OK with this if it is applied fairly.  See also the 2011-2012 season, where something like seven of eight Senators-Leafs game were the second of a two-games-in-two-days sequence for the Senators.  That was totally ridiculous.  And yes, the Leafs totally deserved to win most of the games they won against the Senators that year, but wouldn't Leafs fans prefer that those victories were earned fairly? </rhetorical>

Fewer outdoor games: See also the entire discussion about how if fans think the costs are too high they'll stop paying.  But more to the point, outdoor games are interesting because they are rarities.  But if there are only one or two of these games a year, the pressure will be on to ensure that they are big draw teams like Pittsburgh, Toronto, New York Rangers, all the time.  The series would lose media and fan interest if one year you had a Nashville-Edmonton game, and the next year it was Phoenix-Tampa, and the next year it was Ottawa-Winnipeg. Having lots of these means you can keep the focus on the big draws, while throwing pity events to those of us who live in smaller markets.  And it will spread the pain in the standings of having to play a game on bad ice around more.  Maybe six is too many, sure.  But one or two isn't enough.

So there you have it.  Most of my objections or comments surround those changes to the way the business is organized.  His proposed changes to the on-ice game I more or less agree with.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Next Year's Scapegoat Hired

Because of their poor playoff performances, the Pittsburgh Penguins have taken the step of hiring a new assistant coach with a track record of being fired because of his teams' poor playoff performances.

I'm sure there's a way to say that so it doesn't sound stupid, but I can't immediately think of it.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Good News Everyone

Boy, isn't a good thing now that the Phoenix ownership situation is settled, the NHL can get on with the business of running the league without having the inherent conflict of having to run one of the teams as well... wait, what? Oh, nevermind then.