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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Change, Change, Change!

After several days of discussions the GM’s have just clued up for their meetings in which they worked tirelessly in sunny Florida. Most of the time at these meetings was spent on trying to find a way to make the game safer by making more of the correct calls on the ice. This concept of making the game safer has become a major issue for the NHL as there have been a magnitude of head injuries recently and the Chara hit last week has brought things to a head, no pun intended!
Correct me if I’m wrong, but the NHL began discussing a new way to make the game better and more enjoyable and marketable because of the dying fan base in America and subsequently Corporate America as they are the ones whose investment and advertising dollars are needed to grow the game South of the Border. I believe in 2004-2005 the new obstruction rules were put in place to speed up the game and make it more marketable. Fortunately for me, I was finished in the pro game at that point, thank god because my style of play didn’t quite fit in with the NEW NHL! It forced players such as myself out of the game and really forced the Owners, GM’s and coaches to change their philosophy and approach to building a winner.
Well, fast forward to today and let’s see how great and effective these changes have actually become and one has to look no further than the current uproar throughout not only every fan, but government and corporate sponsors right down through every aspect of today’s society.  Some may argue that it is just a coincidence but how can it be when this issue has become so big that it is now even forcing owners and stakeholders to alter the face of the game once again. What would house hold names such as Howe, Williams, Richard think of all of this craziness I wonder?
I believe that we are headed for even more changes to the game and I can only imagine what they have in store for us! Why then was it deemed absolutely necessary to eliminate hold-ups and allow fore checkers to chase down D-Men at 100mph and make them part of the end boards, wasn’t their job hard enough before?
If more changes are on the horizon as we all believe them to be, why not restudy the grassroots of the game and see exactly where we have gone wrong, but then again regression I guess from their ideologies is not the way to go.
With today’s society changing more and more every year, why not restructure the game completely hey because, after all it has been such a failure all these years right?
So, they want speed and more flow to the game, how about instead of inventing new ideas we just need to look to our other National Sport; Broomball” for guidance.  I suggest that we implement the off-sides rule in broomball, in which Off-sides is called when a player from the team in possession of the ball enters the offensive zone before the ball. The center or red line then becomes the 'in/out' line as the blue line is used in hockey.  Combine this with the icing rules used in broomball, in which there is “no-touch” icing for all circumstances on the ice including, even strength, power play and shorthanded. Now to address the high-sticking problems which are another big concern just implement the broomball rules again, any contact above the shoulders with a stick is an automatic penalty and the new obstruction rules are thrown right out the window altogether. If this doesn’t work, I don’t know what will.
So, how do you like how this new game is developing? Another aspect of the game that I would change is to eliminate a few teams and get back to a strong league, not one in which journeymen minor leaguers find themselves in the NHL because there are so many teams that jobs have to be filled. The old divisional rivalries should be brought back as well and this will increase the intensity and make the games more intense and demanding, thus opening up the doors for many more North American players to once again have a better chance of getting to the SHOW because as we know, those were the best of times!
These changes that are about to come to the game are inevitable, there will be changes made, all it takes is a little bad media from Corporate America and now even our own Government because they have their house in such great order don’t they !! Let’s just say for a minute that the NHL actually implemented all these broomball rules to make the game better and then in a few months or years there became a push from activists to make the game GREENER because that’s the way America is going. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for leaving a smaller carbon footprint and make our world a better place but let’s not get too carried away here OK, but, there is a chance they will change because that’s what the people want.
We made changes by bringing in our other National Sports off-side and icing rules, why not bring in more. In the not so distant future I can see many changes taking place from the Green movement activists, but how does all this make it better for  young players here in NL? Well, just say they look at changing several other aspects of the game like some equipment and the ice surface. Don’t for 1 second think that this is farfetched because it’s a lot closer to reality than you may think. Many Scandinavian countries have already started using these synthetic surfaces to replace ice and they are claimed to be 100% recyclable! No more gliding up and down the ice I guess, now you actually have to skate hard every shift to perform. And then the issue that will soon be arising with the carbon sticks that are used by virtually every child from 4 years old to 60 years, the make-up of these products will probably be banned and then look out because we will be using the new bamboo-soy milk based molded one pieces, now then wont that be a sight. They will be produced so that any impact to high will cause them to snap into just like our old wooden ones of years ago, what a game we are developing!
The possibilities that are out there of the way the game could eventually end up are really unknown and even though I threw a few crazy scenarios out there about changes I would make to the game, there really is only one change and thing to do as far as I am concerned, roll back the clock 20 years and let them play. Hold on to your old VHS tapes cause you never know if this game could become extinct one day and that will be all you have to remember  how the game once was.
Not everything today needs to adhere to our new society and culture; some things are just better left untouched and left alone!!


1 comment:

  1. NIce to see/hear from you Gilly! Looking forward to hearing/reading your perspective on all things ice(that's right-ICE!).It's definately a weird time of transition for hockey. One of the main problems facing any issue the NHL ever has(or had-as a long morbid history shows unfortunately) is the fact that the 'old boys' club is slow to die and they are constantly publicly showing that they are way off the mark and almost incapable of being in the ballpark when it comes to smart decision making.How many years has Bettman run the NHL?!?! Do the powers that be really think they are any further ahead than before his painfully tedious tenure began and is he the way forward?!?! Really? As long as the current regime runs the show-I fear for the greater good of the game.