August 21, 2008
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 have Stanislav "Stan" Neckar, former NHL defenseman for the Ottawa Senators and Stanley Cup winner with the Tampa Bay Lightning, contributing his list today ...
1. I would like to see more hitting, that's for sure. The NHL was always kind of rough. Now what I see is the forward always turning his back on you. If you hit him, you end up in the penalty box. Even the fans would like to see more rough hitting and fighting. The new NHL rules took some of the 'rough' hockey image away. Hockey is gritty and the fans love it.
2. From a player perspective, I would like to see bigger nets. Goalies are bigger, equipment is bigger; leave the pads the size they are now, but open up the net and the scoring opportunities.
3. Change the amount of video review for players. Players know too much about the other team. You know who turns left, where the pass is going on a power play ... video review is a valuable tool, maybe just overused. The game is overly perfected, it's rare to see mistakes. Again hockey is a game of opportunities, fans and players alike enjoy the spontaneity of a great game. Let me add our team motto during the 2004 Stanley Cup year in Tampa was "Safe is Death."
4. Less games during the season! Fans live for the playoffs, players live for the playoffs. Play 72 games instead of 82 and work out a system where more teams will make it to the playoffs. You'll see exciting games, more energy and hopefully less injuries going into the playoffs.
5. We owe it all to the fans. How about involving the fans more and maybe once a season have them choose the lineup for the game? Have them vote on it. That would be interesting!
Along with partners Juan Guillen and Dave Andreychuk, Stan Neckar is the owner of Mobile Cigar Lounge Co. -- check back here tomorrow morning for a feature story on that interesting venture. Coming up on Friday: Veteran hockey blogger Steven Ovadia from Puck Update.