Thursday, November 10, 2011

Major problems in the NHL

Boucher: "Marty, your skate clipped the blue line in the defensive zone!  That is unacceptable!"

With the NHL General Managers meetings coming up soon and with what occured in last night's Flyers-Lightning game, I thought it would be a good time to look at some problems in the NHL and what can be done to fix them.  Take a look and tell me what you think.

The 1-3-1 Neutral Zone Trap

How the problem started - Guy Boucher decided he didn't want his 21-year-old Rocket Richard Trophy winner or his former Hart Trophy winner to use their offensive skill, so he developed a frustrating defensive system to annoy Gary Bettman.
Why it's a problem - The Flyers, completely unaware of the concept of dumping the puck into the zone, realized that they couldn't beat the 1-3-1 trap, so they stopped moving.  Except Chris Pronger.  Barely.
How to fix it - The Flyers need to call 28 other NHL teams, because the Lightning are the 24th best defensive team in the NHL, so apparently their trap isn't that good.

NHL teams in financial trouble

How the problem started - Team owners making short-sighted decisions, such as signing someone to a contract that consists of more years than Pierre McGuire is capable of counting.
Why it's a problem - It's not like this is Joe Paterno signing a long contract.  Oh wait, that wouldn't be good either right now...
How to fix it - Lock out the NHL for an entire season and then come back next year.  That worked last time, didn't it?

Player Visors

How the problem started - A seemingly high number of NHL players have taken pucks, sticks or rocks* to the face this season  (*not confirmed; only for individuals who wear police uniforms and work at Penn State University).
Why it's a problem - Goaltenders started playing the butterfly style, so practically nothing gets by them low anymore, forcing players to shoot high.  Damn those goalies...
How to fix it -  Either ban goalies, force players to wear visors or have Brendan Shanahan meet with every player that shoots high.

Breaking hockey sticks

How the problem started - Some guy on the Chicago Blackhawks started to curve the blade of his stick in the 1960s and well, the rest is history...
Why it's a problem - Bobby Holik retired.  Nobody uses wooden sticks anymore.
How to fix it - Tell your opponent you'd like them to play the 1-3-1.  That way you can't take any shots on goal!


How the problem started - The threat of a suspension has always existed for players who injure other players, but Colin Campbell just wasn't very intimidating.
Why it's a problem - If NHL teams run out of players, they won't be able to play, which likely means listening to Mike Milbury more.  That would be bad.
How to fix it - Brendan Shanahan has to make sure players don't hit others from behind, use their elbows when they hit or use Brian Gionta to hit other players.

Division Re-allignment

How the problem started - Some genius idiot thought it would be a good idea to put a hockey team in Atlanta.  Now, they've re-located to Winnipeg.
Why it's a problem - Having Winnipeg in the Southeast division works as well as trying to get good goaltending in Philadelphia: it doesn't.
How to fix it - Put all 30 teams' names into a hat and pick divisions that way.  It works for the MLB and NFL.


How the problem started - Since people don't like to see ties in sports, the NHL added a skills competition to determine which team got make an excuse to give the Penguins an extra point.
Why it's a problem - "Old school" hockey fans, goaltenders not named Brodeur and Ranger fans don't think the shootout is a fair way to determine
How to fix it - Force three players on each team to trip each other on breakaways and then call three random penalty shots for each team.

Low scoring games

How the problem started - Guy Boucher modified the notoriously hated, yet commonly used neutral zone trap invented by Jacques Lemaire.
Why it's a problem - Despite Henrik Zetterberg saying it isn't a problem, players get bored when they play the trap, and they think they're in a skate-in-circles dancing competition.  Just ask Chris Pronger.
How to fix it - Have the Flyers play the Winnipeg Jets every other night and force both teams to start any goalie on their rosters.

Collective Bargaining Agreement

How the problem started - In 2005, the NHL and NHLPA agreed to a new CBA after cancelling an entire season.  In the summer of 2012, that CBA expires.
Why it's a problem - The last CBA was a disaster for the NHL.  I mean, worse than Rick DiPietro's contract disaster...
How to fix it - Don't let anyone from the NBA negotiations enter any NHL CBA meetings.

*Picture is taken from