Because there is more boring stuff
Forum: Why the NHL sucks

no.7
Jul 19, 2007 16:46 ET
Here, I'm going to list boring events in a hockey game and mark each of them as going up or down. "Up" means that we've seen more events of this type recently, "down" means that there've been less events of this type.

Boring eventsTrend 
Games where nothing happensI don't think there has ever been an NHL season in living memory with so many uneventful games - nothing pretty, no big hits and no fights.
Puck cyclingWatching hockey players cycle the puck is plain boring. They do it on the boards, mostly down low - areas from where you can't score. There are no skills involved worth a mention. The only case when cycling can get interesting is when tough guys start dishing out shots to each other, but tough guys don't play in the new NHL.
Because more and more coaches consider cycling as the best way to score, the amount of time they spend cycling the puck goes up every year.
Simple hockeyThe speed of the action is going up all the time, but it doesn't result in more excitement. In fact, the opposite is the case. This is because the players have less and less space to work with and less time on the puck. They have to get rid of the puck quickly. This leaves no time for fancy plays. They have to play simple - dump it in, cycle, chip it out. Simple is boring because it's not skilful. Simple is also boring because it makes everybody play and look the same.
Neutral zone trapDesigned to slow down and stifle rushes up and down the ice, this system does that ever more efficiently.
Pretty much every NHL team uses the trap these days. With coaches spending long hours on perfecting their versions of trap, this cancer of modern hockey is threatening to kill it off as entertainment.
Dump-and-chaseBecause of the trap, and also because you can't beat a goalie cleanly these days, almost every team plays a dump-and-chase offence. End-to-end hockey with players trying to score off the rush is far more exciting, but it almost never happens in today's NHL. It only does when coaches lose control of their players.
Tight checkingThe New NHL did a good job getting rid of hooking and also some interference which used to make the old NHL look a joke at times. Pretty much everything that is good about the new NHL resulted from this action. Having said that, it should have been done a long time ago. In fact, it should have never been allowed to creep into the game in the first place.
Garbage goalsIt feels like every goal these days is ugly. You can't have pretty goals when the shooter can't see the net. Because they don't, they have to employ ridiculous techniques in order to score. I'm fed up with hockey announcers glorifying things like "creating traffic in front of the net". Do they really think it is exciting to watch how they do that? And how about "shooting in the hope of getting a lucky deflection"? I don't know any other sport where they "shoot not to score, just put the puck on the net and good things will happen". To me, this alone makes the game a joke.
First goal wins you the gameWith more scoring, there are more comebacks, so the days when you only had to wait to see who scores first to know who is going to win appear to be behind us. However, with scoring set to fall, expect this thing to creep back into the NHL.
Puck on the boardsWith cross-ice passes a no-no, the puck moves along or around the boards most of the time, from where you can't score.
Robotic hockeyThe clampdown on fighting resulted in games that are often free of emotion for the entire duration. This may make no difference to hockey purists, but to the rest of hockey fans this is a huge loss. You don't see wild hockey in the NHL any more.
Everyone looks the sameWith tough guys warming the bench, it's hard to tell players apart. They all look the same, do the same thing and say the same thing.
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no.7
Jul 22, 2007 11:43 ET
I don't think that widening the ice will change much. In fact, it may well result in a reduction in scoring. I base this observation on my experience of watching Euro hockey. Wider ice adds more space from where you can't score. So when they cycle it along the boards in Europe, the puck is so far away from the net that it makes it even more difficult to score than in the NHL. In a nutshell, the narrow ice forces the puck closer to the net.

For example, scoring in the Russian league which is considered the 2nd best in the world, is ridiculously low.

I also disagree with the following:

Quote from message by SarcasticPillow
things get a little mean and nasty
Come on. Everybody knows that in the new NHL things never get as mean and nasty as they used to.

Quote from message by SarcasticPillow
Dump and chase isn't the problem. Dumping the puck in, chasing it down, hitting defenseman who are trying to get the puck, creating pressure, is fun to watch
It's only fun to watch when they hit big, and the biggest hitters are usually tough guys who don't play anymore.

Dump and chase is definitely a problem because scoring off the rush is by far more exciting than garbage goals they usually score off the cycling.

Quote from message by SarcasticPillow
Hits to the head have to go
This will simply take hitting out of the game. Why hit at all if you can easily get a penalty for misjudging your hit? Hitting is already down since they started calling some hits interference, and also because tough guys don't play.

Quote from message by SarcasticPillow
get an All-Star Game every year
Last year's All-Star was a disaster. After watching so many no-hits-no-fights regular season games, who wants to watch one where hits and fights are ruled out altogether?

Quote from message by SarcasticPillow
lower the costs of tickets
This can only be forced by low attendances. So long as they can sell, they'll never lower the cost of tickets.

Quote from message by SarcasticPillow
I'd like to see more wild stuff happen, so here's a couple things we need to see. Instigator rule should get tossed. Roughing penalties to guy who shove each other need to get going. Other then that I would not know how to spark emotion into the game. Everyone does look the same but thats what the uniform does. They all do relatively the same thing. I agree they all say the same thing. I can't even watch interviews anymore because nothing different is ever said. You know exactly what the person is going to say once the question's been asked. The way I see it, first order of NHL business, experiment in the minor leagues
Agree with all these points.
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pindude61
Jul 22, 2007 13:24 ET
Quote from message by no.7
Last year's All-Star was a disaster. After watching so many no-hits-no-fights regular season games, who wants to watch one where hits and fights are ruled out altogether?
There was an all star game this year?
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no.7
Jul 22, 2007 14:58 ET
http://www.dropyourg...nts.aspx?Game=124242Reply
smelltheglove
Jul 22, 2007 15:24 ET
Attendance figures are a joke. I have never seen so many empty seats in my life. Even in Detroit, a perennial sell-out during the Yzerman era, had to be 25-33% empty even during the playoffs (and save your remarks about the red-pussies, please). I noticed the same thing in Dallas last year and yes, Devils and Islanders games always have low attendance (how the hell are the Devils getting a new arena!?!?!? Amazing.) Then, you look in the paper the next day and they show 17,000 in attendance. Makes you wonder.Reply
smelltheglove
Jul 22, 2007 15:28 ET
Quote from message by no.7
I don't think that widening the ice will change much. In fact, it may well result in a reduction in scoring. I base this observation on my experience of watching Euro hockey. Wider ice adds more space from where you can't score. So when they cycle it along the boards in Europe, the puck is so far away from the net that it makes it even more difficult to score than in the NHL. In a nutshell, the narrow ice forces the puck closer to the net.

For example, scoring in the Russian league which is considered the 2nd best in the world, is ridiculously low.

I also disagree with the following:

Come on. Everybody knows that in the new NHL things never get as mean and nasty as they used to.

It's only fun to watch when they hit big, and the biggest hitters are usually tough guys who don't play anymore.

Dump and chase is definitely a problem because scoring off the rush is by far more exciting than garbage goals they usually score off the cycling.

This will simply take hitting out of the game. Why hit at all if you can easily get a penalty for misjudging your hit? Hitting is already down since they started calling some hits interference, and also because tough guys don't play.

Last year's All-Star was a disaster. After watching so many no-hits-no-fights regular season games, who wants to watch one where hits and fights are ruled out altogether?

This can only be forced by low attendances. So long as they can sell, they'll never lower the cost of tickets.

Agree with all these points.
You only have to watch the Olympics to know that widening the ice makes NO difference whatsoever. I was hoping they would do this when the Sharks came in in the early 90' and expansion was on the horizen and most teams were getting new buildings. If it didn't happen then, it never will.

As for the All-star game, personally I would like to see it go away and make the season a little shorter or just give the players a mid season break to rest up a bit. The game itself sucks ass.
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no.7
Jul 22, 2007 15:38 ET
The NHL official attendance figures include all tickets sold and even GIVEN AWAY FOR FREE. They have nothing to do with the actual number of people who turned up.

I remember a game at MSG with at least half the seats empty. Officially, it counted as a sellout. The Rangers also sold out all their games that year, if you believe the NHL figures.
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smelltheglove
Jul 22, 2007 15:58 ET
Right, so how is it the salary cap keeps going up, which, as we know, is tied directly to league wide revenues, when we all know attendance is down and the NHL has always been a gate driven sport? That's what I cant figure out. And the Devils, who didn't even sell out games when they were in the finals and consistently draw 12-14,000, are getting a brand new arena. Makes no sense to me.Reply
no.7
Jul 22, 2007 17:18 ET
Attendancies were actually up, if only by .2% on 2005-06. These are NHL figures.

I think that after a great post-lockout year they raised ticket prices sharply, up to 15% in some cases. As a result, attendancies dropped early in the season. Faced with that, teams started to discount because it's better to sell a seat for $5 than not sell it at all. Obviously, the discounts didn't apply to season ticket holders.

Also, merchandise sales returned to where they were prior to the lock-out.

I think that the salary cap was adjusted mid-way thru the year before the final revenue figure could be known. The last I heard, that was only 6% up on 2005-06.

I'd be surprised if they don't have problems selling tickets this coming season.

So long as the revenues (and the salary cap) go up, Bettman is safe. Once they start to fall (or even stall), he is in trouble.
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