Blog Entry

Improving the NHL

Posted on: October 13, 2009 8:10 pm
 
Last April I did a blog about how you could improve the MLB which you can find HERE , but hockey is where my heart lies when it comes to sports.  I can watch any game any time, no matter who is playing.  That is why I wanna see a couple of things change, to make the game more exciting for the fans.

Less Teams:

Many people think that there are to many teams in the NHL, and while I do not necessarily agree, I think the NHL would be better off if they cut the league down by 2 teams.  The 2 teams I think the NHL would miss the least are the Phoenix Coyotes and the Florida Panthers.  Neither of these teams have been really successful and their fan support has been weak.  If they got rid of these 2 teams, hold a draft to redisperse the players from these teams to the 28 remaining teams.

No More Conferences:

In the NFL you have the AFC and NFC, in the MLB its the AL and NL, in basketball its the East and the West.   Right now the NHL is like the NBA while having the east and west, but I think it would be unique and be something that a lot of people could enjoy if they got rid of conferences.

My idea is to get 4 different divisions of 7 teams.  The 4 divisions names should be the Adams, Patrick, Smythe, and Norris to go back to the ways things used to be before the 1993-1994 season.  The NHL is most history based than any of the other major sports (with the Stanley cup and other tropheys) so why not bring back the old school names?

New Divisions:

With the bigger divisions and the fact that 2 teams are gone, the divisions need to be fixed.  I would go with the following 4 divisions:

Patrick Divison:
This division has the 6 teams that were in the Patrick division before the relignment, so they already have natural rivalries (especially with 5 of the teams being in the current Atlantic Division).  I also put the Blue Jackets in because they would have a natural rivalry with the Penguins and I think they would develop into a good rival for the rest of the teams.

Smythe Division:
Since I couldn't include the Winnipeg Jets since they have moved to Raleigh, I had to add 2 new teams to this division.  I chose the Ducks and Avalanche since the Ducks are on the West coast and new to the league since the old divisions and the Avalanche used to be the Nordiques and have moved a lot more west.

Norris Division:
The Red Wings, Blackhawks, Blues, and Maple Leafs were all apart of this division 17 or so years ago, and it was a great one.  Adding in 2 more of the original 6 (5 total) just makes this division more heated.  I added the Sabres because I had to put them somewhere.

Adams Division:
Other than the Stars (well North Stars at the time) and Senators, none of these teams were in this division because they are either new to the league since then or have moved.  This division may have some some travel issues, but I like the other 3 divisions how they are so these are basically the rest of whats left.

New Scheduling/Points:

The first thing that would have to change would be the schedule.  Currently you play every team in your division 6 times, all other teams in your conference 4, and everyone in the other conference 1 time (and 3 of those teams you play twice).

For a new scheduling, I would still have you play your divisional opponents 6 time (36 games).  The other 21 teams I would have you play them twice each (42 games).  So far this is a total of 78 games, but you will play a total of 84.  The other 6 games depend on how you finish the year before.  You would play every team that finished in the same place in their division as you 2 more times.  So if the Penguins and Blackhawks won their divisions one year, the next year they would play 4 times instead of 2.

The other change I would have is the points system.  I think it is time to adopt a 3 point system in the NHL.  Getting basically half the points you get for a win just by going to OT is not right, and needs to be changed.  I believe it needs to be as follows:
  • 3 points for a regulation win
  • 2 points for an OT/SO win
  • 1 point for an OT/SO loss
  • 0 points for a regulation loss
This point system would help discourage teams to take it easy at the end of the 3rd period because they want to secure 1 point, and could lead to a lot more exciting finishes.

Playoff Format Changes:

A lot of people might not like this idea, but I do.  Instead of the 16 teams with the most points making the playoffs, there would be a divisional playoff first.  The top 4 teams in each division would make this round.  What would happen is each division would have a tournament to see which team is the division champ.  For example in the Patrick Division say it ended up these final standings:
  1. Penguins
  2. Flyers
  3. Capitals
  4. Devils
  5. Rangers
  6. Blue Jackets
  7. Islanders
The Penguins, Flyers, Capitals, and Devils would play in a mini tournament to see who is the division champ.  The Penguins would play the Devils and the Flyers would play the Capitals.  The 2 winners would play each other, and then the division winner would be crowned. All of this would be just like the playoffs and be 7 game series.

Once all 4 division winners are crowned, then those 4 play to see who the Stanley Cup winners are.  They would be ranked 1-4 based on the amount of points earned outside of your division, and the tie breaker would be total points.  Then it would be just like the current conference finals, the 2 winners go on to the Finals to see who would play for the Cup.

Rule Changes:

There are a few rules in the current NHL that I would want to change:
  • Get rid of the instigator rule, no explination really needed.
  • When a player is called for diving, don't put both players in the box.  Either the other player took a penalty or there was a dive, punish them for diving instead of making it even.
  • Get rid of the trapizoid.  Goalies that can stick handle well shouldn't be punished by putting a place in where they can't handle the puck.
  • Make the goalies pads smaller.  I was always on the fence about this, but after seeing some goalies pads they need to be smaller.  When you watch an old school game, their pads were so small its rediculous.  I am not saying make them that small, but a little bit smaller to inscrease scoring.
  • If a goalie goes behind the net to play the puck, he should be free game for hits.  Would make a lot of exciting plays behind the net.
  • When a penalty shot is called, the team gets to decide if they want the penalty shot or 2 minute power play.


Thats all I got now, feel free to leave a comment about what you agree/disagree with and any other rules you would like to see.
Comments
patch1764
Since: Oct 25, 2006
Posted on: January 9, 2010 5:40 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Apr 21, 2008
Posted on: November 30, 2009 7:00 pm
 

Improving the NHL

I agree with most of what you said here. My biggest disagreement with you though is making goalies fair game. As a goalie, our pads are not made for impact of another person. Our WHOLE back side is exposed with the exception of our calfs (depending on pads) and a thin flimsy spine protector. We cannot change our pads like that, it would cut off our mobility so much, not to mention add more weight to our concideribly large equipment weight. It would make stickhandling, glove and blocker speed, exc.



Since: Apr 24, 2007
Posted on: November 23, 2009 11:29 am
 

Improving the NHL

Wow, did it ever slaughter that post...  I'll try again and see what happens...

First off, I'd like to say that I think that this is a great post overall.  I may not agree with it all, and I'm about to offer up my arguments on the matter, but I have to thank pittsports85 for putting this out here for us.  Great post!

Now, for my personal arguments on the matter.

LESS TEAMS - and this is to be fair to the two teams you have picked in your hypothetical, I have to point out that both Phoenix and Florida have had a higher average attendance than the New York Islanders over the last 10 years or so.  And I know that attendance isn't the only marker for fan base, but it is something to think about.

NO MORE CONFERENCES, NEW DIVISIONS - though I agree with you on your alignment of the 'Smythe' and 'Patrick' divisions in your model, I have to question the other two.  The old 'Norris' division was comprised of Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Toronto and the Minnesota North Stars.  Sure, the North Stars may have moved, but Minnesota is still there.  I think that they should stay.  And the North Stars moved to Dallas, and the 5 teams that I would then have in this division are close enough to accept Dallas as a sixth team.  And if we look geographically to try to find a 'best fit' team from the the new teams, Nashville would appear to be the one.  So my 'Norris' division would look like this:
  1. Chicago Blackhawks
  2. Dallas Stars
  3. Detroit Red Wings
  4. Minnesota Wild
  5. Nashville Predators
  6. St Louis Blues
  7. Toronto Maple Leafs
And that would leave my 'Adams' division with the following:
  1. Atlanta Thrashers
  2. Boston Bruins
  3. Buffalo Sabres
  4. Carolina Hurricanes
  5. Montreal Canadiens
  6. Ottawa Senators
  7. Tampa Bay Lightning
The reason I prefer this alignment is that, as a Montreal fan, we keep the last version of the Adams conference (Boston/Buffalo/Montreal/Ottawa) together and add a few teams that should make for interesting rivalries.

NEW SCHEDULING/POINTS - I have no issue with them only playing a 78 game season, so I don't know if the other 6 games are necessary, though I do like your way of solving the issue.  The easy way to solve it would have to just make them play the teams in their division 1 more game each, but this way the fans get to see more teams more often.

As for the points issue, I actually very recently wrote a Blog about this exact issue.  My only issue with your suggestion is that I still feel that a loss in the 5 minute overtime is a loss, not worth a point.  You can read my 3-2-1 Point Blog here -



PLAYOFF FORMAT CHANGES - I really liked everything about this except the way that the ranking of the last 4 would take place.  Though i think the points scored outside a teams divisions are important, overall points should really dictate the top team.  I think that this is a very plausible and enjoyable way of doing it.  It would also give the old NHL fans a chance to put the 'Which conference is stronger' debate to rest as there would be a good chance to see two teams from the same (current) conference playing against each other in the finals.
The other two rules I don't really care either way, but the playoffs just seem to last forever. Especially for teams that don't get in or are eliminated early. wmn3d, did you really just say that?  If the teams who didn't get in to the playoffs or the teams that are eliminated early have a problem with the length of the post season, they should work on making it deeper.  They shouldn't sit there and think "jeez they're STILL in the playoffs?"

RULE CHANGES - Diving/embellishing is a big problem for me as well.  I wrote a little blurb on a game recap one day about it, and didn't get any support, so I assumed I was the only one.  Completely agree with you that if the referee feels that there was a dive, then there shouldn't be a penalty besides the dive.  Here's what I had to say about that -



Trapezoid has to go.  What's wrong with a goaltender who can handle the puck?  Never mind goalies getting punished for being able to play the puck, what about teams like the Devils who have Martin Brodeur.  He was one of the best goalies at puck control when this rule was brought in.

Penalty shot option is an alright idea.  I know that most teams would pick the Penalty Shot due to it's higher chance of being a goal.  And in the off chance that a hands of stone player gets in on a breakaway and is tripped up, it would give the Power Play a chance to put one in.

And what have you got against goalies?  :)  I don't know if you should ever make a goalie 'fair game', but I would agree that if a goalie is out of they safety of their crease they should be open to a bit more jostling.  As long as a play is being made at the puck, I just don't like the idea of someone coming around the net with the open intention of putting the goaltender through the back glass.

Again, great post, thanks pittsports85!



Since: Apr 24, 2007
Posted on: November 23, 2009 11:01 am
 

Improving the NHL

First off, I'd like to say that I think that this is a great post overall.  I may not agree with it all, and I'm about to offer up my arguments on the matter, but I have to thank pittsports85 for putting this out here for us.  Great post!<br /> <br /> Now, for my personal arguments on the matter.<br /> <br /> <strong>LESS TEAMS</strong> - and this is to be fair to the two teams you have picked in your hypothetical, I have to point out that both Phoenix and Florida have had a higher average attendance than the New York Islanders over the last 10 years or so.  And I know that attendance isn't the only marker for fan base, but it is something to think about.<br /> <br /> <strong>NO MORE CONFERENCES, NEW DIVISIONS</strong> - though I agree with you on your alignment of the 'Smythe' and 'Patrick' divisions in your model, I have to question the other two.  The old 'Norris' division was comprised of Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Toronto and the Minnesota North Stars.  Sure, the North Stars may have moved, but Minnesota is still there.  I think that they should stay.  And the North Stars moved to Dallas, and the 5 teams that I would then have in this division are close enough to accept Dallas as a sixth team.  And if we look geographically to try to find a 'best fit' team from the the new teams, Nashville would appear to be the one.  So my 'Norris' division would look like this:<br />

<ul>

<li>Chicago Blackhawks</li>

<li>Dallas Stars </li>

<li>Detroit Red Wings</li>

<li>Minnesota Wild</li>

<li>Nashville Predators</li>

<li>St Louis Blues</li>

<li>Toronto Maple Leafs</li>

</ul>

And that would leave my 'Adams' division with the following:<br />

<ul>

<li>Atlanta Thrashers</li>

<li>Boston Bruins</li>

<li>Buffalo Sabres</li>

<li>Carolina Hurricanes</li>

<li>Montreal Canadiens</li>

<li>Ottawa Senators</li>

<li>Tampa Bay Lightning</li>

</ul>

The reason I prefer this alignment is that, as a Montreal fan, we keep the last version of the Adams conference (Boston/Buffalo/Montreal/Ottawa) together and add a few teams that should make for interesting rivalries.<br /> <br /> <strong>NEW SCHEDULING/POINTS</strong> - I have no issue with them only playing a 78 game season, so I don't know if the other 6 games are necessary, though I do like your way of solving the issue.  The easy way to solve it would have to just make them play the teams in their division 1 more game each, but this way the fans get to see more teams more often.<br /> <br /> As for the points issue, I actually very recently wrote a Blog about this exact issue.  My only issue with your suggestion is that I still feel that a loss in the 5 minute overtime is a loss, not worth a point.  You can read my 3-2-1 Point Blog here -<br /> <br /> http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blo
gs/entry/18267405/18430655</a>
; <br /> <br /> <strong>PLAYOFF FORMAT CHANGES</strong> - I really liked everything about this except the way that the ranking of the last 4 would take place.  Though i think the points scored outside a teams divisions are important, overall points should really dictate the top team.  I think that this is a very plausible and enjoyable way of doing it.  It would also give the old NHL fans a chance to put the 'Which conference is stronger' debate to rest as there would be a good chance to see two teams from the same (current) conference playing against each other in the finals.<br /> <br /> <span class="QuoteMessage">The other two rules I don't really care either way, but the playoffs just seem to last forever. Especially for teams that don't get in or are eliminated early.</span> wmn3d, did you really just say that?  If the teams who didn't get in to the playoffs or the teams that are eliminated early have a problem with the length of the post season, they should work on making it deeper.  They shouldn't sit there and think "jeez they're STILL in the playoffs?"<br /> <br /> RULE CHANGES - Diving/embellishing is a big problem for me as well.  I wrote a little blurb on a game recap one day about it, and didn't get any support, so I assumed I was the only one.  Completely agree with you that if the referee feels that there was a dive, then there shouldn't be a penalty besides the dive.  Here's what I had to say about that -<br /> <br /> http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/mes
sages/chrono/18214935 <br /> <br /> Trapezoid has to go.  What's wrong with a goaltender who can handle the puck?  Never mind goalies getting punished for being able to play the puck, what about teams like the Devils who have Martin Brodeur.  He was one of the best goalies at puck control when this rule was brought in.<br /> <br /> Penalty shot option is an alright idea.  I know that most teams would pick the Penalty Shot due to it's higher chance of being a goal.  And in the off chance that a hands of stone player gets in on a breakaway and is tripped up, it would give the Power Play a chance to put one in.<br /> <br /> And what have you got against goalies?  :)  I don't know if you should ever make a goalie 'fair game', but I would agree that if a goalie is out of they safety of their crease they should be open to a bit more jostling.  As long as a play is being made at the puck, I just don't like the idea of someone coming around the net with the open intention of putting the goaltender through the back glass.<br /> <br /> Again, great post, thanks pittsports85!




Since: Dec 10, 2008
Posted on: October 26, 2009 5:00 pm
 

Improving the NHL

The playoffs now are a possible 7*(8+4+2+1) = 105 games needing to win 16 to get the cup. If you make my change and have the first round be 5 game series then its 5*8 + 7*(4+2+1) = 89 possible games needing to win 15 to get it. Not that much easier for a longer off-season rest and less "jeez they're STILL in the playoffs?" The other two rules I don't really care either way, but the playoffs just seem to last forever. Especially for teams that don't get in or are eliminated early.



Since: Sep 13, 2006
Posted on: October 26, 2009 2:55 pm
 

Improving the NHL

mwn3d,
  • the playoffs would be the same length as they are now (needing to win 4 series, 16 games).
  •  The 3 point system makes teams that win in regulation more important
  • Goalie pads smaller would increase scoring but not small enough to sacrifice safety for goalies.  Allowing players to not wear helmets would do nothing but hurt players.




Since: Dec 10, 2008
Posted on: October 26, 2009 2:40 pm
 

Improving the NHL

I agree with pretty much everything except:

  • The Sabres should be in with the Penguins.
  • The playoffs take long enough as it is. Maybe have five game series for the first divisional rounds and seven for the rest?
  • I could go with or without the three point system. I don't think it's that important.
  • I also don't think it's that important to make the goalies' pads smaller. Why not allow players to play without helmets too?

That scheduling is pretty awesome and the other rule changes are definitely good ideas. No one likes to change sports nowadays though. Who knows when something even close to this will happen?




Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: October 26, 2009 12:43 pm
 

Improving the NHL

What about the Schedule ? 

The Schedule makers should take a good look at what they did. 
How can you not try to do a better job, by adding more games throughout the week because of the olympic break ? 
I think the people that Bettman has doing the job are slacking also. 
This season will go down as one of the longest NHL season beacause of the lack of knowledge by others. 

I'm not saying I know all, BUT maybe more common sense.



Since: May 18, 2009
Posted on: October 21, 2009 9:51 am
 

Improving the NHL

love the idea of reallignment.  However, I would suggest the Bruins rather than the Blue Jackets for the Patrick Diviision.  With three teams in NY and than a NJ and Philly team, adding Boston feels natural as the Rivalries in all other sports are already there not to mention the current NHL rivalries. 



Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: October 17, 2009 12:11 am
 

Improving the NHL

Some very good ideas. Great post. If I had more time now I would go into more depth but some things that stuck out that I really like:

  • Going back to the division setup prior to the 1993-94 season is a great idea. I don't know why they changed it up, but it wouldn't be a bad idea to go back
  • The points changes are something I've been waiting for. You put some good suggestions for it. I would have no complaints if they did that, but I think it's going to take some time to see that happen, but I think it will happen in the near future
  • With the rule changes, I've been saying for so long to get rid of the trapezoid. There's absolutely no reason to have it there. I don't know what the reasoning behind it was, but no reason is good enough for me. Get rid of it
  • The penalty shot rule is one I love. I've thought about it before and it makes sense. It's a fair thing to do. Teams may or may not want a penalty shot. If the player taking the shot is not a good bet to score, why not use the power play? If your power play is awful, then stick with the shooter. Good rule that they should definitely look at
Overall very good ideas. Hopefully some of them happen. Not too sure about allowing hits on the goalie. That could be pushing the limit a bit, but you're right. It would be exciting to see some hits on them haha

Great post


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