August 18, 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 Steve Zipay, award-winning columnist and reporter for Newsday, contributing his list today ...
By Steve Zipay
1. Widen the &%$#@! rink. Create space for bigger, skilled players by taking out a row of seats on each side and add seven feet (to 92). Unrealistic it may be, but immensely worthwhile, in my opinion.
2. Change the OT. Please, we beg ya. Too many teams lock down in the third period, content with the point for a regulation tie. Reward a regulation win with three points. Then attempt to break ties with a 3-on-3 for three minutes before any shootout. Betcha the number of shootouts drops faster than the ratings for "The Chevy Chase Show."
3. In the arena: Reduce the schedule to 76 games, bag the mega-cheesy promotions and jeez, play fewer, better tunes at a volume that doesn't cause immediate ocular bleeding. Except during warm-ups, of course.
4. Consistency is critical. Instruct referees (under threat of live, postgame water torture) to call penalties the same way in the third period as in the first. And it'll slow the relentless -- but sometimes justifiable -- whining of fans on message boards.
5. Cut ticket prices for some home games and relocate failing franchises. The Caribbean is lovely in February. Where's that tiki bar, eh?