A Real Fixer Upper
|AARYON LYNETT/TORONTO STAR|
Toronto's Darcy Tucker and New York's Sean Avery get right down to it during a game on Nov. 10, 2007.
On the first day of Pebble Beach deliberations, the NHL board of governors accomplished nothing that will help the league.
Sure, they rubber-stamped the transfer of the Nashville Predators to a new ownership group that will no doubt be back in two or three years with new tales of woes and plans to sell or move the team.
The guvs also voted in a new schedule, which will immediately attract new complaints as soon as the dimwitted understand the league has effectively increased the number of games between unfamiliar opponents at the expense of contests between rivals.
|Tell us how you would improve the NHL.|
More Preds-Sens and Oilers-Panthers, fewer Flyers-Sens and Oilers-Avalanche. Hmm. Can't wait.
On the second day, perhaps the governors will do better.
The most important item on their agenda should be the state of the game itself, with defence and fighting way up, scoring and excitement way down.
But what to do?
Now that it appears evident that coaches have again shut the game down, erasing the openness initially created by the removal of hooking and interference and the red line, there's nobody who has a terrific idea to fix the game again.
I've said for years they're going to have to increase the size of the nets, but too many non-thinkers still argue it would make a mockery of the NHL record book.
As if goalies the size of airport hangars didn't do that long ago.
Bigger ice will do nothing. The Europeans proved that long ago. Four-on-four would work, probably, but there's no appetite for that.
So at the same time the NHL is trying to figure out a way to win ESPN's heart again, it's got a product that is devolving back into what it was three or four years ago, and what it couldn't sell three or four years ago. The league, sadly, has fallen back to its old reflex of insisting all is well no matter the evidence to the contrary. The best the dinosaurs can offer is that taking the instigator out will make it a more manly league.
After a brief respite, the coaches, goons and goalies are dominating again, and nobody has a great idea how to fix the NHL now that it appears broken again.