Because they don't experiment with the game
Forum: Why the NHL sucks

no.7
Jul 11, 2007 17:28 ET
Any product that evolves needs to be protected against the rot. If you don't put a fish in the fridge, it will get infested by flies and start to smell the very next day. Likewise, if you don't protect a sport agaist the elements, it will get taken advantage of and eventually start to stink. This process is mostly driven by coaches who try to outdo each other in perfecting systems designed to stifle the other team, and suffocate the sport in the process.

This process is natural. It would be as pointless to blame the coaches for ruining hockey as blaming the flies for ruining the fish. They do it in order to survive.

Instead, one should protect the product. You can put the fish in the fridge to protect it against the flies and the heat. Protecting hockey against smart, cynical coaches is more difficult, but it can be done. The problem with the NHL is that they don't even try to protect their product. They didn't even have a competition committee until the lockout, and even then this committee is no more than a talking shop.

Talking shops can only fix obvious problems, like the outrageous hooking that used to plague the game in the 2003-2004 season. Beyond that, they are in the dark. They will tell you what could be done but they won't tell you how it will work. This is because they have no way of knowing if all they can do is talk.

The only way to find out how a serious change would change the game is to try it in practice. Cost is not an issue because any expense should pay off handsomely. The NFL TV contract is worth $4B, the NBA and MLB make $600M each while the NHL gets only $60M. What's worse, the ratings keep falling. Most minor leagues will be only too happy to try out a new rule for a few bucks, or even for free. When something works out, it could be worth hundreds of millions for the NHL in TV and other revenue.

But it will never happen until this league realizes that you need to experiment in order to find out what will work and what won't. Most of those who run the NHL don't even realize that there is a problem with the game in the first place.
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smelltheglove
Jul 20, 2007 16:13 ET
So, what were all the rule changes 2 years ago? And didn't they come out of the Competition commitee meetings?

Also, I disagree that it is pointless to blame coaches. They have a shelf life of 2.67 years anyway so why not play an upbeat, fan friendly style of game like Lindy Ruff in Buffalo. I blame Jaques Lemaire and the 95 Devils for the popularity of the trap and the slowing down of the game in general.

In my opinion the main reasons for the decrease in scoring are goalies, coaching and expansion.

Expansion diluted talent. Goalies are bigger and better. Coaching and scouting have improved with technology which makes teams better prepared.
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Disengage
Jul 20, 2007 19:50 ET
It's a lose-lose situation for the NHL in this scenario. If they make changes, they piss off the purists who blame it on trying to get casual fans but if they don't make changes, the game gets stale.Reply
no.7
Jul 21, 2007 12:00 ET
Quote from message by smelltheglove
So, what were all the rule changes 2 years ago? And didn't they come out of the Competition commitee meetings?
I addressed these questions here:

http://www.dropyourg...ad.aspx?Thread=25460
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dbrown
Jul 23, 2007 10:44 ET
Just bring back the 5 min rule for fighting. No game penalty or that shit anymore. Suspension is for the bad tackles, slashings and so on.Reply
no.7
Aug 3, 2007 02:48 ET
I think it will have the opposite effect because coaches will tell their players not to fight if they think that the other team has better chances 4-on-4.

They stopped playing 4-on-4 on offsetting penalties for this exact reason: teams complained that Edmonton Oilers players were deliberately looking for offsetting penalties in order to instigate a 4-on-4 because Gretzky and co. were better than anyone else in those situations.
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no.7
Aug 3, 2007 09:56 ET
Quote from message by SarcasticPillow
When they are trying to start something tell your players to back off
That's what's going to happen - they will back off, leading to even less fighting than there's now. Some coaches will end up not playing enforcers at all.
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smelltheglove
Aug 4, 2007 16:59 ET
The bottom line is even if they go to 4 on 4 coaches will figure out how to make that boring too. They already have. I saw plenty of OT's last year that were no more exciting than 5 on 5 play. Coaches, under pressure to produce, have made the game what it is. When Hicthcock benches Modano for defensive lapses, when Yzerman was asked to tone down his O for "the teams best interests" you know offensive hockey is doomed. Hell, the Sharks had one of the most gifted offensive players around in Alexander Korulyuk and the banished him to Russia because he wasn't great defensively. Until coaches see they can win with offense nothing will change no matter how many rules they change.Reply
smelltheglove
Aug 4, 2007 17:43 ET
Well, you obvioulsy didnt watch many Sharks games them. "Korky" was a highly skilled player who was run out of town for making the same mistakes Marleau makes every game.Reply
smelltheglove
Aug 4, 2007 18:32 ET
Yes, and he is a great leader also. We've had this discussion. The Sharks will never win a cup with him as captain and I stand by what I said, Korky was very talented and I can send you some games that display his talents which you may have missed.Reply
smelltheglove
Aug 4, 2007 20:44 ET
Most of his teamates and both coach Wilson and GM Doug Wilson all said at one time or another that he was by far the most talented player the Sharks had at the time. Most of the Sharks fans I know and talk hockey with were very upset with the organization for letting Korky get away. Had he been allowed to play his style of hockey I have no doubt he would have put up numbers similar to Kovalev and most other Russian stars of his caliber. No doubt at all.Reply
no.7
Aug 5, 2007 02:50 ET
Quote from message by smelltheglove
The bottom line is even if they go to 4 on 4 coaches will figure out how to make that boring too.
Good point and I came to the same conclusion at the end of last season. It's hard to believe, but playing 4-on-4 doesn't free up enough ice in the NHL any more. To be able to resurrect free skating Bobby Orr-style, they already need to play 3-on-3.
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no.7
Aug 5, 2007 03:04 ET
Quote from message by smelltheglove
Until coaches see they can win with offense nothing will change no matter how many rules they change.
Another great point IMO. There's no point in blaming coaches for playing defensively. Coaches will do anything in order to win because that's how they survive. They are like robots in this respect.

What it means is that coaches are perfectly manageable. Set the rules of the game so that you stand a better chance of winning by playing offense, and they will start playing offensive hockey.

That's my beef with the league. The NHL sucks because they don't work towards finding a set of rules that will make coaches play offensive hockey.
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smelltheglove
Aug 5, 2007 03:16 ET
What do you think they could do to change that? In my opinion, the rules are in place for just such a transition. It is up to the officials to call them. If you disagree what else would you change?Reply
no.7
Aug 5, 2007 04:02 ET
Quote from message by smelltheglove
In my opinion, the rules are in place for just such a transition.
They clearly aren't. With a single exception (Lindy Ruff), coaches haven't changed their defensive bias. Instead, they gradually found new ways to stifle offense under the new rules. I wouldn't be surprised if Lindy Ruff goes back to defense in the new season.

Quote from message by smelltheglove
what else would you change?
I'm going to post a separate topic on that when I have time. However, most of what I will suggest needs testing and experimenting with at lower level.

The NHL doesn't even have a system in place which would allow them to experiment with the rules. They can't even begin to work towards offensive hockey until they set it up, so don't expect to see any teams start trading chances any time soon.
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Disengage
Aug 5, 2007 07:02 ET
Quote from message by no.7
They clearly aren't. With a single exception (Lindy Ruff), coaches haven't changed their defensive bias. Instead, they gradually found new ways to stifle offense under the new rules. I wouldn't be surprised if Lindy Ruff goes back to defense in the new season.
He won't until they get rid of Kalinin and Spacek.
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