My Reasons
Forum: Why the NHL sucks

Jun 9, 2008 14:04 ET
Here are what I think are the biggest reasons the NHL sucks .

1. Bad leaders in charge
The biggest reason for the NHL's steady decline in popularity and fun is because all of the people in charge do not know what they are doing and are ruining the game. Now we all know what Gary Bettman is doing to this sport but what surprises me is how no one ever mentions Colin Campbell. This guy allows so much shit to happen to NHL players and lets the cheap shot artists get away with it. Not only does he not give harsh enough suspensions when shit happens he is the reason all of these cheap shots are happening in the first place. His continued support of the Instigator rule for no apparent reason creates so many problems since it prevents the enforcers from policing the ice. He and Gary Bettman are responsible for making the NHL a product no one wants to watch and most of the other problems that I will list below start and end with those 2. But one thing is for sure improving hockey requires getting smarter leaders.

2. Expansion
Consider this: The season Bettman took over there were 24 teams and only a few in the sunbelt ( Tampa Bay, San Jose, La, and Washington). La and Washington had been there for awhile even though they never had much success ( LA went to the Finals that year but they only got there because of Gretzky) and San Jose and Tampa Bay were doing all right but apparently ignoring the evidence shown by LA and Washington Bettman decided to expand further in the south. The next few years Anaheim, Florida, Carolina, Phoenix, Nashville and Atlanta came into the league. Anaheim has only recently started to become popular while the other franchises have never had much success to brag about and even when they did they either faded and kept playing badly ( Florida missing the playoffs for the last 10 years since making it to the Finals) or nobody cared like when Carolina won a few years back. The other teams have never had much success or a large fanbase so needless to say Bettman's dream of having hockey in the south has failed.

3. Less fighting
10 years ago fighting was at .86 per game. Now it is at .59 per game. Has anyone besides me noticed that in the last 15 years or so since fighting has been on the decline the popularity of hockey has dropped? Contrary to what Bettman or Colin Campbell might say this is an undeniable fact. Granted there are other factors involved but this certainly players a part. Fighting is one of the most exciting aspects of the game and taking that away is going to make the game less popular.

4. The Instigator Rule
This one is a biggie. In the days before the Instigator rule enforcers kept the game clean. Sure there was a lot of fights but no one other then the media thought that was a bad thing. The rivalries between teams were huge ( Calgary-Edmonton, North Stars- Chicago, etc.) and the game was fun to watch. Sure there were cheapshots there always will be but the cheap players were kept in line and players weren't injured frequently. Now every little gutless player can go after a star and the enforcers can't do anything because they will get slapped with a 2, 5, and 10. Now if you do it in the last 5 minutes of a game you get suspended. All of this so there won't be as many fights which make the game popular anyway. Is it really worth it to take fighting away and let players get hurt with blown knees and concussions just so there will be less fighting. What people forget is the fans LOVE fighting as this site attests to so let me get this straight: you take a element away from the game that the fans love and which protects the stars just so you can try to get a big TV contract for a sport people in America aren't interested in all the while well players get injured?! Does anyone know how fucking stupid that is!!!

5.Less rivalries and Bad scheduling
The NHL thought that by increasing the # of division games between teams that it would increase the rivalries. Guess what? It didn't work. Now that teams see each other so often it ruins the game because people get tired of seeing the same team over and over. I recall a year or two ago Toronto and Boston played each other 7 times in 1 month!!!! People are going to get tired of seeing the same team over and over again while not seeing others in the other conference. Picture this: you are a season ticket holder for Toronto and you have just went to a Toronto-Montreal game. It was an exciting game and you enjoyed it but the next home game isn't for 2 months! I can guarantee you the fan would be eagerly awaiting the next game if it wasn't in a week. Thankfully that will be solved ( hopefully) next year when the NHL makes a schedule change.

These are some of my reasons for problems the NHL has. But first and formost to fix these problems the NHL needs to get someone who understands hockey in charge. I vote for Don Cherry!
Jun 9, 2008 15:03 ET

Since I'm not a guy that will just point out problems and bitch about them I have what I think are some good solutions to the problems I mentioned above.

1. Fire Bettman and Campbell
Getting rid of Gary Bettman and Colin Campbell would be a giant step towards fixing the other problems. Since Gary Bettman serves at the will of the owners I suggest getting as many hockey fans as we can to write letters to the owners telling them to fire Bettman and put someone in who knows what he's doing. I also liked Blazer16's idea about thousands of fans going to the NHL office in New York and demanding Bettman being fired. Colin Campbell also needs to be removed because he is just as knowledgable as to what is good for hockey as Bettman is.

2. Contraction
This is where Bettman's firing will need to happen for this to take effect. Bettman will never admit what everyone knows: hockey has failed in the south. So if you take him out of the equation you can do what is needed. The NHL needs to contract players rosters and get rid of a few teams that are not successful. This would lead to deeper rosters and make the game more interesting and exciting. The teams that I think need to go: Atlanta ( the NHL has already failed there once but Bettman ignored that fact), Florida ( this team has not been successful ever and except for one fluke season has always been shitty), Nashville (move them to Hamilton where hockey will actually do well), Phoenix ( this team has been bad before they got there when they were in Winipeg) LA which has been horrible for 40 years now, Washington ( move them where Ovechkin will actually be in a good hockey market) and Carolina. Carolina would probably stay because they have won a cup but I don't think hockey will ever do well there. If people are against getting rid of the teams then please move them to markets that will do well.

3. Get rid of the Instigator rule and fighting will imediately go back up.

4. Get rid of Bettman and put someone in charge who understands how important fighting is and have them take it out.

5. Have less divisional games. How about only 3 or 4 per month to really keep interests high!

Here are a few other suggestions I have for how to improve the game.

1. Make the game tougher
Let the defencemen do what they are there for: protect the nets and clear the crease. Guys like Derian Hatcher and Mike Komiserek be allowed to push gutys like Danny Briere out of the front of the net. Those players can go to the net and score 50 goals because the defence can't do a damn thing.

2. Goalie Equipment
Have you seen pictures of goalies from a few years back? They are about the size of the players. Granted the equipment size was lowered but I still don't think it is small enough.

3. No visors
Unless you have had a serious eye injury I don't believe in visors. Coincidence or not the # of visors beig worn has gone up since more Europeans have come over. If players are so worried about taking a stick in the face make the refs call stricter penalties on high sticking. That will make players more accountable without having a shield.

4. Upstairs officials
I am getting so tired of officials making bad calls on goals or no goals and bad penalties. One way to cut down on that is this: take thew one ref and put him upstairs so he can review the plays and call down to the ref on the ice. This will cut down on all the frustration with bad calls. This also leads me to suggestion # 5.

5. 1 ref on ice
Adding an extra official on the ice was supposed to be able to lead to a decrease in missed calls. Well I don't think it has because despite having 4 officials on the ice bad calls are still being made so I don't think it makes much difference.

6. Wider ice surfaces
Anyone that watches the international games knows how entertaining they are. Part of the reason for that is the wide ice surfaces. I think making the ice surfaces bigger will increase goal scoring because with more room to work with more goals will be scored.

7. Broadcasting
This one is short, sweet, and to the point. Put the NHL on a network everyone gets and while you're at it get better play by play guys then the dumbasses on VS.

Well this was long but it feels good to vent. If anyone that reads this has any other thoughs or suggestions please reply because I believe the only way to fix the NHL's problems is if as many hockey fans can voice their thoughts and opinions.
Jun 10, 2008 02:57 ET
wow i have to say alot of your points are very well said! you've clearly thought about this alot and i agree with almost all of them. especially about the teams from the south. the only things i dont agree with are the no visors and the ref upstairs rule. first the ref upstairs i believe would add alot of extra time to the game because they would be having to call down all the time and personally i feel they go upstairs WAAAAY to much. i agree they need to make the calls right but i think reviewing goals is as far as it needs to go i mean we do have human error and if u completely take that away then really why have refs on the ice at all, they myswell all be up in the booth with a whistle. the thing about the visors i disagree with because i do not think anyone has the right to tell a player to not wear a visor. there have been some really serious injuries from pucks and sticks and i think it should remain up to the player wether they wear one or not. with that said i do think if you wear a visor and your going to scrap then you take your helmet off, i have always been a supporter of players taking their helmets off for a fight. i know it creates a risk of the player falling and hitting their head but chances are if the guy is getting beat that bad his helmet is coming off anyway. im not trying to be critical at all though because i really do think almost all ur ideas are great and well thought!Reply
Jun 12, 2008 03:33 ET
1. Let the players wear visors if they want. The visor protects the eyes, which is why
most players wear a visor. Sight is a precious thing.

2. Scrap the instigator rule. I agree, a bad rule, too subject to an offical's judgement.

3. No referee upstairs. Perhaps a NHL minor official to monitor the keeping of
game-time, review scoring (assists, tipped-in goals, etc.,) for statistics & record
purposes only.

4. I don't think contraction from the Southern cities will ever be encouraged, because
that is to where the bulk of the U.S. population has migrated. The NHL follows the
money and the South has been booming; being in the northern U.S. is no guarantee
of franchise stability - look at what happened to the Cleveland Barons, Minnesota
North Stars, Hartford Whalers, Winnipeg Jets, and Quebec Nordiques. And, you've all
neglected to mention the Dallas Stars, a very successful southern U.S. franchise.
Even the Buffalo and Pittsburgh franchises were in dire straits very recently, and
the Washington Capitals are probably the next to go bankrupt. The NHL needs to
adopt stricter financial regulations for those purchasing control of franchises, but
you're asking the owners to regulate themselves, and wealthy men are notoriously
self-indulgent. It ain't happening.

5. I don't like Gary Bettman, either, but most of the rule changes they've made the
last few years have succeeded; the shoot-out, eliminating the two-line(off-side) pass,
restricting the goalies' puckhandling area. Bettman was important in keeping the
Penguins in Pittsburgh and helping Mario reorganize the franchise, so for that I'm
very grateful to him as well.