Friday, January 21, 2011

How to fix the problems in today's NHL

As we know, the NHL is not exactly the most functional sports league in North America, in fact, some would argue that it is the complete opposite. The bottom line is that changes need to be made, and if you believe in taking a stand, you'll like this. Since nobody is willing to speak up, I've decided to submit my suggestions to the NHL with the hope that the game of hockey improves for everyone.

Problem: League's Collective Bargaining Agreement
Reason for problem: NHL and NHLPA don't exactly see eye-to-eye on everything, and the most shocking part yet: they can never decide how to share revenue. Basically, Gary Bettman.
Solution: Actually sit down and negotiate with the two sides and attempt to put a deal together before the day a work stoppage is announced. Bettman's salary is over $7 million per season, which is far more than most players average (that's more than Ilya Kovalchuk's cap hit). Another idea would be to have a "State of the Union" speech annually (not the NHLPA union of course). Unfortunately, neither speech seems to be productive.

Problem: Shootouts
Reason for problem: Pierre McGuire. Well, him and hockey purists, so basically everyone who's ever watched a game in their life, which explains why Gary Bettman supports the shootout.
Solution: Well, I don't know about you, but I think having goalie fights would be a lot easier than 4 on 4, then 3 on 3 overtime periods. Just let the goalies have at it, that way, everyone's happy, besides, the position has been dreaded in the past, right?

Problem: Concussions
Reason for problem: Players train now more than ever, well at least that's what trainers claim. The real reason is because of idiots in the NHL who think they're Scott Stevens, but really have no talent whatsoever. That and Mike Richards.
Solution: There's 2 options - don't allow any hitting at all (especially Martin Brodeur when he's around his sister-in-laws and Jeff Carter when he's around Scott Hartnell's wife) or the league actually cracking down on what needs to be destroyed, like the Philadelphia Spectrum.

Problem: Waivers
Reason for problem: Well, it depends on who you ask. If you ask Doug Armstrong of the Blues, you might get a different opinion than David Poile or Doug Wilson. The problem the league is looking at, however, is other teams interfering with the process and doing teams favors.
Solution: Do nothing. It's what the league is used to, anyway, plus, all Bettman needs to do is call up Richard Bloch, and he'll tell you that the team violated the "spirit of the Collective Bargaining Agreement."

Problem: TV deals
Reason for problem: 97% of the U.S. has never heard of Versus, let alone watched one of their shows.
Solution: Pretend Americans actually care about hockey and sign on with a relevant network, like the Golf Channel.

Problem: Expansion
Reason for problem: Despite every single NHL General Manager arguing that Canadian expansion would be highly successful, Gary Bettman insists that there is a demand for more hockey teams in the southern U.S.
Solution: Develop "franchise tags," so players don't get lost in the expansion draft. When that fails, pack up and join Bettman and move your team to Florida. Yeah, I know, that would be stupid.

Problem: NHL Draft lottery
Reason for problem: Some teams claim they the draft order was "fixed." An example of this would be the 2005 draft out of the lockout.
Solution: Tank 5 seasons and get top-5 draft picks. You're almost guaranteed a Stanley Cup ring within 5 years, unless you're the Islanders or Oilers.

Problem: Low-scoring is back
Reason for problem: Some have named 2010-11 the "year of the goalie." That is partially true, but only because the New Jersey Devils' offense has been non-existent most of the season. Other than that, everything is fine.
Solution: I suppose taking the trapezoid out could help the Devils, but in general, just keep doing what the league does: nothing.

Problem: General Managers with attitudes
Reason for problem: They have attitudes, they're human.
Solution: Applaud them and hope the players follow instead of constantly acting like robots.

Problem: Poor officiating
Reason for problem: Supposedly, when officials make all the right calls, everyone is better off...including the official.
Solution: NHL-owned cameras that are neutral, which will benefit everyone in the case of replays. No, FSN Pittsburgh's cameras do not count towards the league-owned property.

Problem: Long-term player contracts
Reason for problem: Honestly, the salary cap. Teams think they need to lock up franchise players to avoid losing them to free agency.
Solution: Well, the cap isn't going anywhere, so the only thing to do is make sure that the player being signed is actually worth signing...not singling any players out, though.

Problem: The All-Star Game
Reason for problem: Nobody actually cares about it.
Solution: Call Stan Lee and have him create an ugly superhero for every team and hope that works. Once that blows up in your face, just scrap the whole idea and stick to the Winter Classic, before that gets ruined, too.

Problem: Identity of the league
Reason for problem: Superstars throughout the league are marketable, but nothing is being done, as usual.
Solution: Tell Sidney Crosby to shave his absurd attempt at a moustache and inform people that, yes, there are TWO Sedin brothers.

So there you have it, all the major problems the NHL faces, and what to do and why to do them. If we all do our part, we can fix the NHL. Or at least try to, after all, we're not superhuman. Also, I can't believe Scott Burnside still has a job, but anyway...