So the Puck Daddy himself, Greg Wyshynski, has been running a daily feature this month where he is having various luminaries from around the hockey world list the five ways in which they would change the NHL. This series has spawned some interesting lists from around the blogosphere as well, and I figured it was about time that I unleashed my list on an unsuspecting public. You will have to forgive me if a few of these entries look a bit familiar.
- Penalties last the full two minutes - This is an easy way to increase offense without really screwing with the integrity of the game. It rewards teams with a good power play while also getting the skill players more ice time. Ideally this would also lead to teams ultimately taking fewer penalties, which in theory would improve the pace of the game.
- Eliminate the trapezoid - As I have stated before, I really hate this rule. It just blows my mind that the NHL changed the game because goalies had become too skilled for its liking. I am getting rid of this rule and allowing goalies to take whatever risks they want with the puck.
- Reserve 5% of all tickets for the day of the game - There is no better live sport to behold than hockey, and the NHL needs to find a way to get some new blood in the seats. My plan is for teams to hold 5% of their tickets for each game and to put them on sale about 15 minutes before they open the arena doors. Not only would this be about the only way for an "Average Joe" to get tickets in a city like Toronto, but it would allow someone to decide to take in a game on a whim. There really is no downside to this plan as places like Florida and Columbus probably would not have sold those tickets anyway. At the same time you could breathe some added life into an already full arena, much like the Student Rush program did in Pittsburgh the past few seasons.
- Contract four teams - With minimal apologies to fans in Miami, Nashville, Atlanta, and Columbus... I am taking your teams away. The skill level in today's NHL is a little too watered down for my tastes, and this should help remedy that. My process would be simple; these four teams cease to exist and all their players become unrestricted free agents. To allow the remaining teams to take on some of these players I would allow the remaining 26 teams to buy out two contracts on their current roster with no cap hit. In reality a move like this would require some kind of compensation to the players who no longer had teams to play for to get the NHLPA to sign off on the move, but I am not going to worry about that here.
- Introduce the "Play In" game - On the day after the final day of the regular season the #8 seed in each conference will host the #9 seed in a single-game playoff to determine who goes into the post-season as their respective conference's #8 seed. Clean and simple. Post-season overtime rules apply so we do not have to worry about a post-season spot being decided by a shootout (shudder). I have to admit this is a bit gimmicky and really goes against my general trend of maintaining the integrity of the game, but I think it would be a fun and exciting way to get the post-season underway.