Attn: TSN, Sportsnet, other Media and Fans

Discussion in 'The Business of Hockey' started by EricBowser, Jan 28, 2005.

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  1. EricBowser

    EricBowser Registered User

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    It is time someone gave the fans their voice, a direct voice to discuss their opinions of the sport, on and off the ice. I believe the fans have a right to be a voice heard because we are the ones who know what we want to see on the ice and how long we will put up with the ego games off it.

    I would like to organize a fan summit televised by TSN to discuss our ideas and present the NHL and NHLPA with our ideas to fix the game, on and off the ice.

    There are too many ways for the NHL and NHLPA to create an agreement suitable for the owners and players.

    On top of the financial disagreements, the product on the ice needs some serious fixing up.

    I have a 20 point plan for the league and players to adopt for an immediate change in the way the game is played and the level of excitement for fans in the seats and at home watching on tv.

    Fans need to be seen and heard, both parties continue to use fans in their press statements but neither have done one thing to allow us to help.

    I'm more than willing to go on live national television to discuss my ideas for the sport, on and off the ice. I believe there are a ton of things that have been left unsaid by many in the media, NHL and NHLPA.

    TSN, Sportsnet, other media, or any fan interested in organizing a summit, please contact me via ericbowser@gmail.com
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2005
  2. Jasper

    Jasper Registered User

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    I don't have a big problem with the game on the ice (but if you want to change it for the better, go for it), other than that it isn't being played. My only message would be that if a resolution isn't worked out this season, I promise that I will never support the league again, as in buying tickets, merchandise, supporting advertisers, etc, etc. If both sides got a sense that a lot of fans would do the same (would they?) they might find a greater sense of urgency and end this whole thing sooner rather than later.
     
  3. EricBowser

    EricBowser Registered User

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    Jasper, the changes on the ice don't have to be radical unless the league and players are willing to try some of them.

    Here is the rough draft 20 point plan....

    1. Reduce the regular season schedule to 72 games - Though such a change will need to be agreed upon by the NHL and NHLPA during CBA negotiations, a reduction in games played will help cut travel costs, keep players fresh, and likely cut down on the dragging months of January and February.Starting the season October 1st and ending it in late March should also allow the league to offer the players a longer holiday break over Christmas and longer offseason to rest and relax with family and friends.

    2. Reduce the team roster size to 20 active players and game roster to 16 skaters and 2 goalies - Another change needing approval in the CBA but what isn't there to like in this move for both sides. If teams have to spend a negotatied portion of the revenues on payroll and amount of jobs are reduced, then doesn't the average salary increase? In what seems like a weekly NHLPA press release, a player is quoted questioning the league's expansion into certain markets, so if the players seem to be in agreement that the talent level has decreased because of expansion, then shouldn't this move allow to help resolve such an issue.

    The game roster change is the more important piece of the equation towards the style of play on the ice. No longer will coaches be able to throw together a fourth line comprised of muckers, grinders, goons, and slow defensive hookers and holders to clog the game, match lines and dummy down the skills of some players.

    Instead, general managers and coaches will be forced to draft, develop and deploy skilled marksmen to compete in a fast action packed game of hockey.

    3. Ban Fighting - Yeah, I don't mind a clean fight but the sport gets a black eye with the non-traditional hockey fans and now more than ever, hockey needs to attact every single person showing the least bit of interest in the game. Far too often, fights are occuring because a player couldn't allow his manhood to be questioned because he just received a punishing legal bodycheck or a teammate is trying to stickup for an injured player off a hit, clean or dirty.

    Those fans who say hogwash to the elimination won't stop watching hockey. They are hockey fans, not boxing or ultimate fighting fans.

    If a player instigates, jointly agrees or causes an action that creates a fight or melee on the ice, at the descretion of the referee, will receive a 10-minute major for unsportsmanlike conduct, game ejection, and automatic league review by a NHL/NHLPA appointed panel. First time offenders will receive one game suspension without pay plus fine, second offense will result in ten game suspension without pay plus a fine and third time offenders will receive a 72-game ban, loss of pay, and a panel review for possibe lifetime ban. The panel review by a unaminous vote under a special circumstance clause would be allowed to suspend a player at a higher game level or immediately ban for an act deemed violent and unbecoming of a professional hockey player.

    Special cases of past events would include Claude Lemieux's rearranging of Kris Draper's face along the board, Dale Hunter's cheapshot on Pierre Turgeon in the 1992-93 playoffs, Marty McSorley's stick to the head of Donald Brashear, and Todd Bertuzzi's mugging of Steve Moore.

    4. Easy to Understand Rules for Use of a Hockey Stick & Obstruction - A player's stick is to be used to block a shot, control the puck to pass or shoot, to steal or poke-check the puck away, or to hook or lift the stick of a player. Any other contact with the stick will be deemed an illegal touching foul and whistled for obstruction. Players can no longer cross-check an opponent to create space on the ice or to injure or place physical action onto another player, this includes around the net and along the boards. The only things a player's stick should touch are his own gloves, the ice, the puck, or another players stick. And the only thing a player's gloves should touch are his stick and ice. If a player receives two or more obstruction penalties in one game, the second and beyond will include a 10-minute delay of game and unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that will not count down until the player has served the full two-minutes for his obstruction penalty.

    5. Diving Penalties will be Enforced - Any player found guilty of diving by a referee will receive a 2-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and 10-minute game misconduct. If a player receives more than one diving penalty throughout the season, the panel review board must hold a hearing to review the player's performance and with a majority vote can issue a fine and/or suspension for conduct detrimental to the sport.

    6. Automatic No-Touch Icing - Too many players, namely defensemen are getting crunched along the boards chasing down the puck and in some cases, a player could end his career breaking his leg, ankle or worst of all, a broken neck because of a cross-check The quick whistle will also save time on the clock for more entertaining action.

    7. Re-introduce Tag-Up Offsides - The NHL should not have changed the rule ten years ago and hopefully with the change, less faceoff whistles will result and more forecheck and play-making skills will result from the pressure of the quick pace.

    8. Two-Line Pass Legal - The traditionalists say the game will have too many icing calls because defensemen won't be able to make the accurate pass up the ice but that is why teams will be forced to draft and develop skilled defensemen who can skate and make that long-range pass.

    9. Increase the Width of Blue-Line - Even though, I believe the tag-up and two-line pass changes will improve the flow of the game and cut down on the whistles, increasing the width of the bluelines to three feet will help a little on any close tag-up plays or a defensemen trying to keep the puck in the zone on the power play.

    10. Icing - If a player ices the puck during even strength play, his team can not make a line change or call timeout. If a player on the penalty-killing team ices the puck, his team can not make a line change, call timeout and the power-play team will receive a "free play" inside the offensive zone. The penalty-killing unit must set up below the faceoff dot and can not move until the power-play team shoots or passes the puck at the blueline, also the power-play team is allowed to setup their other players anywhere inside the offensive zone but outside of the goalie's crease.

    11. Move Goal Line Back Two Feet - Increasing the size of the offensive attacking zone is the smart thing to do to allow the players to generate enough time and space to create scoring chances. There are only one Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, so expecting a league full of players to be able to have the vision, timing and accuracy to setup or score goals from behind the net is outrageous.

    12. Puck Shot Out of Play in Defensive Zone - Any skater or goalie in the defensive zone who shoots the puck over the glass will receive a 2-minute delay of game penalty. Why anyone would just penalize a goalie for this infraction does make you wonder about the traditional rulebook.

    13. Reduce Goalie Equipment - Goalie equipment is meant to protect the player, not build a fortress to keep the pucks out of the net. If a goalie needs pads wider than 10 inches to protect his legs, he's got problems. The shoulder pads are not supposed to look like an outline of the Rocky Mountains. The catching glove looks big enough now to catch a football, not a 3 inch hockey puck and blockers should be about half the size they are now. A goalie found to be using illegal equipment will receive a ten game suspension without pay and any further violations will result in a longer suspension at the judgement of the panel review board.

    14. All Sticks Must Pass Strength Standards - Too many good scoring chances are blown or defensive breakdowns occur because a player's stick just exploded with the simple pressure of putting your weight into the stick before even shooting or passing the puck.The one-piece composites or aluminums needs to be designed to meet the strength standards of the NHL. Any player found to be using the illegal stick will receive a ten game suspension without pay and any further violations will result in a longer suspension at the judgement of the panel review board.

    15. All Minor Penalties Must be Served for Two-Minutes - A player should serve the full time of his penalty allowing the power-play to score as many goals as possible like a major penalty.The main goal of this would be for teams to cut players who refuse to conform to the new rules and cost them wins because of the goals against.

    16.Shootout & Overtime Changes - In over-time, a minor penalty will be 1-minute and major penalty will result in a penalty-shot plus 2-minute power-play if needed and game ejection. After the 4-on-4 five minute overtime, a tie will be ended with a five player per team shootout. After three rounds, it goes to a sudden death shootout.

    17. Goalie can only Freeze Puck in Crease - Goaltender can play the puck anywhere inside the blueline but can not freeze the puck outside the crease, doing so will be delay of game penalty. This also means, any puck outside the crease can not be purposely brought in by the defending team or goaltender and then frozen, even if the goaltender can reach the puck from within the crease.Making any attempt with your glove or blocker to cover the puck outside the crease will also result in a delay of game penalty for defensive team. A defensive skater can push the puck with his glove but not cover it.

    18. Hurry-Up Faceoff Play Clock - Much like the NFL has a play-clock, an off-ice official must set the faceoff clock for 14 seconds once the whistle is blown and if a team is not set, a free-play is awarded to the set team. A refereee can ask to reset the clock for special circumstances to restore order on the ice or after a penalty call.

    19. Penalty-Shot Plus Power Play - No longer will a penalty-shot eliminate the power-play.

    20. Back to 1-Referee System - Go back to one referee and allow both linesmen to call penalties. Set up officiating crews allowing the on-ice offficials to work together to improve their skills as a team.
     
  4. WHARF1940

    WHARF1940 Registered User

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    All very good, intriguing points save for the penalty killing half of #10. That is so off base and whacked that it is hard to believe it is included in a list of otherwise excellent ideas.
     
  5. Jasper

    Jasper Registered User

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    Well, I'm all in favour of most of those changes.. though personally, I'd be more than satisfied if the game came back the way it was despite its flaws.

    I wouldn't like to see fighting banned. I think its a big part of the game and it's great entertainment. When Tie Domi goes after Magnus Arvedson, however...that's a different story.

    I also think that goalies should be fair game outside the crease. That rule may have already been supposed to be in play this season, I'm not sure, but I hate seeing goalies go far out of the net, scoop the puck and the opposing forward either totally avoiding him or getting a penalty for touching him.
     
  6. Puckhead

    Puckhead Registered User

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    While I can respect your opinion Jasper, I think that you are hurt by the lockout and the obvious disinterest by the NHL and the PA towards us the fans. However, as upset as I am, I welcome hockey back with open arms. It simply means too much to me to make a stand like that. I believe that there are lots of people who feel as you do, and in the US in particular where in most markets the game was on life support going into this disaster, now the future is most definitely in jeopardy. That is why I just don't understand how either side, which claim they both feel terrible about putting us through this, don't see how much this has hurt and will continue to hurt this awesome game. Sure, I will admit, that the last 7-8 years have been pretty bad, and have gotten worse, but I miss hockey very much, and I fear that whenever they resolve all of this, that there won't be a winner. The game has lost, and lost big. I just don't see how shutting the game down for the year can be seen as a positive to anyone. The owners, some of which are losing tonnes of money, and credibility, and sponsorship, and fans. The players, are seen as greedy bastards, and will never recoup the money lost this season. So I ask you what the hell is wrong with these two sides that they could let this happen?
     
  7. Puckhead

    Puckhead Registered User

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    A fantastic proposal of ways to improve this once great product. I don't necessarily agree with all of them, but I can see your point none the less. Great job Eric!
     
  8. EricBowser

    EricBowser Registered User

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    Wharf, the free play setup was just an idea to be included because the icing play is a positive scheme for defensive teams. I'm more than happy to just leave it at automatic icing, no line change or timeout or free icing for the PKers.

    Time to reward the offense....
     
  9. Jasper

    Jasper Registered User

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    Puckhead, I miss the game just as much as you. I am sure to be watching it as soon as it is back; I just can't justify filling the pockets of the players any longer. I will go out of my way to prevent it if it's not in a couple of weeks.
     
  10. Finkle is Einhorn

    Finkle is Einhorn Registered User

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    While I don't agree with everything you said, I appreciate the initiative.
     
  11. EricBowser

    EricBowser Registered User

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    1. I don't mind this, even though it would mean less hockey for me to watch.

    --- less hockey should mean, fresh healthy players, better hockey

    2. Good luck getting the NHLPA to agree to this.

    --- you are probably right but the idea is the same. There is no reason why a team needs to be paying three players not to play but you're right, alot would need to happen for this to be done.



    3. Can't I be both?

    --- Yes, you can like hockey, ultimate-fighting, and boxing but hockey was invented to use sticks to score goals, not use fists to knock someout and cause harm.

    4. Why don't we just go ahead and change the name to "basketball on ice" right now?

    --- I knew someone would say this, I was hoping it would be posted by someone at least honest enough to say it. I enjoy rough battles but I enjoy free flowing skating and creative puck control more than the boring clutch and grab battles along the board that end up with a whistle.

    5. I don't mind this. Although sometimes it is difficult to spot a dive from ice level.

    --- I think the stiff penalty will be enough for players to quit acting like soccer players.

    6. Even though I like the flow of the game better without no-touch, I agree it should be implemented.

    --- the flow would be hurt but that the main cause for this one is to protect the defensemen.


    7. Here here!

    --- Just who exactly eliminated tag-up?

    9. I like the concept, but I hate the way it looks on the ice.

    --- I have to agree the ice would look a bit weird at first but I think over time, we would adapt to the new style.


    10. No offence, but this is ridiculous.

    -- Which part and why?

    13. Then ban composites. If players need help shooting any harder than 90+ miles an hour, they've got problems.

    --- I'm with you on this one.

    16. I dislike the concept of a shootout. Play as a team, win as a team.

    --- The idea to force teams to play to win in the 3rd period and OT, I hate watching teams "kill the clock" in the third to get the win or the OT when the home team is trying to protect the one point. My emphasis would be to create a winner, if you don't have a shootout, then ties must be 0 points.

    17. There is already a rule in place for goaltenders freezing the puck, but I'm not sure of its parameters exactly, and it is very rarely enforced. I don't agree with your proposal, but if it were to be put in place, the crease would have to be extended by a fairly large area.

    --- For sure. The crease area would need to be marked off by another foot in diameter to give the goalies enough room to play the puck and freeze it.

    18. What is a free play exactly? Is it similar to what's in place now, where the ref drops the puck regardless of whether or not the centerman is set?

    --- If a team isn't set, the other team gets the puck without a faceoff and play starts at the faceoff circle on a "free play" to pass the puck or shoot, depending on the area of the ice.

    19. If the shooter scores on the penalty shot, I don't think the team should get a pp as well. If he doesn't score, then I agree with still awarding the man advantage.

    --- I forgot to add that part in, a P-S goal eliminates the PP.

    20. I like the 1 ref system, but if it were the case, don't expect one ref to be able to catch half of what you have proposed.

    --- that's why I would allow the linesmen to call penalties

    While I don't agree with everything you said, I appreciate the initiative. ---- thanks
     
  12. Finkle is Einhorn

    Finkle is Einhorn Registered User

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    The part about the players lining up below a certain mark. It just seems a little gimmicky. Maybe because it is such a departure from the way the game is played now, it would be too much for players or fans to take. I think any rule change should stem from the way the game is played currently, tweaking it slightly to improve the game.
     
  13. DaveyCrockett

    DaveyCrockett Registered User

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    There is a lot of complaining about diving calls but as a ref myself, it is very tough to distinguish between a legitimate trip and a dive unless it is super obvious. The quickest way to piss off a team is to give them a BS diving penalty. The refs are doing the best they can with that.
     
  14. EricBowser

    EricBowser Registered User

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    Davey, I can't argue the degree of difficulty for an official on the ice to call the diving but it sures seems easy for the NHL refs to call it to "even up" a play.
     
  15. WHARF1940

    WHARF1940 Registered User

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    10 is ridiculous because you can't take away a team's ability to kill a penalty. Sometimes a big penalty kill can be just as exciting as a goal, and can change the game's momentum as well. You expect a team to kill a 5 on 3 without icing the puck? Ludicrous. But don't get me wrong, i pretty much like everything else!!!!
     
  16. EricBowser

    EricBowser Registered User

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    Wharf, the whole point of being on the penalty-kill is because your team is being penalized for breaking a rule. If free icing isn't a normal play during even-strength, why should it be allowed for just the penalty-kill?

    The free icing for the PK is rewarding the defense and hurting the offense and the team who was playing by the rules.
     
  17. WHARF1940

    WHARF1940 Registered User

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    ok, I see your logic, but the fact remains that a PK can be as exciting and momentum changing as a pp in some cases and to take away the only real tool that a pk unit has in defending it is unfair to those 4 (and especially to those 3) guys on the defense. Sometimes you get a PP where the defending team gets trapped for over a minute in their own zone, I personally do not find it entertaining to see someone score on a bunch of guys that are so tired that they can barely stand! Remember, the team on the PP can change a couple of guys at a time and hold onto the puck, way too much advantage. I feel putting the offending team down a man is punishment enough, you are really going for the jugular here my man! JMHO!!!
     
  18. SwisshockeyAcademy

    SwisshockeyAcademy Registered User

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    I really take issue with only allowing the PK unit to set up below the circles. You have some really solid ideas here but what in the hell is this? It would just be a foolish looking shooting gallery just outside the mark and quite a safety issue. Players would still be asked to block shots but cannot safely close the gap. You try holding a position at the dot while Hull goes for a one timer just above the dot.
    Goalie equipment, two line passes, even not icing the puck on PK's is fine with me. No ban on fighting as it does not happen enough to get in the way of the game or its marketability. Some say it does not happen enough and that more fights help marketability.
    Cutting the roster size . Cut it to 19 from 20 and that will make a difference. 21 man roster in total should suffice.
    Good effort.
     
  19. EricBowser

    EricBowser Registered User

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    Wharf, then coaches and players need to design schemes to get around the new icing call by actually softly dumping the puck out of the zone or controlling the puck by skating or passing it. Tell me another sport that rewards defense when it commits a penalty?
     
  20. Anksun

    Anksun Registered User

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    I like plenty of those ideas, not all for sure.

    A quick comment would be i cannot accept No fighting in the nhl in a million years. Not because I like fighting that much, i could listen hockey without but i find fighting to be very important part of keeping some games "under control". Take out fighting and you gonna need so much more than just: 4. Easy to Understand Rules for Use of a Hockey Stick & Obstruction ..... You gonna need a prayer.

    In fact, i would remove the instigator rule which is lame and even if it's sometimes help avoiding a useless fight, it also frequently helps avoiding a fight that would have help slowing down "the Use of a Hockey Stick" to much.
    It's also a big momentum switch factor and hockey is all about momentum.
     
  21. SENSible1*

    SENSible1* Guest

    Good discussion and some excellent ideas, but why is this on the "Business of Hockey" board?
     
  22. EricBowser

    EricBowser Registered User

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    It is all about business. The league under Bettman and the BOG have dummied down the product to try to keep salaries down and all they did was ruin the sport.

    The financial gain for the sport would be tremendous if the league would open up the game and actually entertain the customer at the arena and at home on tv.
     
  23. K9

    K9 Registered User

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    While I don't agree with all of the points(banning fighting, the "free play"), you can tell you put a lot of effort into this. Good job.
     
  24. transplant99

    transplant99 Registered User

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    What does clutch and grab hockey have to do with fighting?? Why would eliminating fighting, slow down/stop players from obstructing others?

    Makes no sense.
     
  25. Poignant Discussion*

    Poignant Discussion* I tell it like it is

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    I'll add my 10 cents after each proposal

     
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