Every weekday in August, Puck Daddy presents "5 Ways I'd Change the NHL," in which a cross-section of sports media and hockey personalities offer solutions, suggestions and absurdities to remake the League to their liking. We're thrilled to Puck Daddy's own Sean Leahy of Going Five Hole contributing his list today ...
1. Get rid of the Canadian teams. I'm kidding. That's sarcasm right there.
1. Bring back the division names. Is it just me or has the Bettman-era taken fans further away from the history of hockey from an overall perspective? Sure, teams are retiring jersey numbers left and right these days, but the league as a whole needs to do more to help fans remember the past. Gone are the Adams, Smythe, Norris, and Patrick divisions and also, no more legends game broadcast during All-Star weekend. The fan base is getting younger and younger and I think it's time we educate those whippersnappers on the history of our great game.
2. Ice Girls for every NHL team. I can't emphasize this enough. The lovely ladies who shovel the snow so elegantly are the only reason to attend games in most arenas around the league. Then there's the Rangers. They have dudes who skate around picking up the extra snow. DUDES! Why would you not want an Ice Girl to patrol the rink, making sure creases are so fresh and so clean? C'mon, just look at them. Just. Look. At. Them. Craig Anderson sure did.
3. Get rid of the OT/Shootout loss charity point. I've written about this before and my hatred of it will never wane. So let me get this straight, you lose yet you still gain a point in the standings, bringing your team ever closer to a playoff spot or further away from the pack? What's the point? (Pardon the pun) There's going to come a day when a team makes the playoffs by a large margin thanks to the charity point. Only then will the whiners be heard.
4. Let Jim Balsillie own a damn team already. OK, as a Penguin fan, I didn't like Mr. RIM's shady behind-the-scenes dealing when he was poised to own the Pens. But after seeing the likes of Henry Samueli and now "Boots" Del Biaggio add their names to the long list of crooked NHL owners, why prevent a guy like Balsillie from reenergizing a club and if need be, move it to the Hamilton area. At least they've proven they're willing to support a team.
5. Eliminate a division in each conference and allow the true top eight teams from each conference to make the playoffs. This "division winners get the top three seeds" nonsense needs to go. If you're not a top eight seed, you sit at home and figure out where Versus is on your cable package like the rest of us.