10 Things I Would Do to Make NHL Hockey Better

Sometimes I think that the NHL should have some hockey fans on their various committees.  There are a lot of passionate and intelligent hockey fans out there.  Many with a lot of good ideas.  Of course you have the traditional hockey people who do not want to change the game too much and then you have person in the power of influence who are looking towards innovation and making the great game of hockey even better.

As a hockey fan, I have a few ideas that I think the NHL should consider to grow the game and make it more enticing for fans, players and management.  Yes I am sharing these ideas for free.

10 Things I Would Do to Make NHL Hockey Better

    1. Change the playoff format – to the top 16 regardless of division or conference.  Does anyone else think that it is a joke that teams with better records miss the post season?  This should never happen.  The top 16 teams should get into the playoffs.  Some say this would reduce the rivalries.  I disagree this would prevent great teams from being eliminated in the first round or from missing the playoffs altogether.  The format would work such that team one would play team sixteen, team two would play team fifteen and so on.  This was the format used by the NHL in the early 80’s.  Reasons why this would make the NHL game better:
  • this format would make the travel a little more equal.  Currently western teams get the shaft when it comes to travel.
  • fans would get to see teams they normally wouldn’t.  Vancouver/Pittsburgh anyone?
  • longer consecutive playoff streaks

2.    Add some additional awards/trophies – how about the Gretzky Award for the games top playmaker.  The Bobby Orr Award for the games top offensive defenseman?  The Mark Messier Award for the games top leader.  The Gordie Howe Award for the games greatest overall player.  The Paul Coffey Award for the games greatest skater.  The Martin Brodeur Award for the Goalie with the most wins.

3.  Make the playing surface larger – this would give the players some room to be more creative.  This would also allow players the ability to see the ice better to prepare themselves for being hit.

4.  Develop better training for league officials – give the officials the tools they need to be more consistent and to police the game.

5.  Play more regular season games in neutral sites – there are hockey fans in Atlanta, Saskatoon, Seattle, Las Vegas, Quebec City, Halifax, and Portland.  Why not give them a taste of the NHL?

6.  Get rid of the instigator rule – ’nuff said.

7.  Create a trophy for the top Canadian team – no Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup since 1993 and that is a shame.  Too many watered down US based teams preventing the Cup from returning back to Canada.  Hockey is Canada’s game.  We deserve a trophy.

8.  Penalize teams for playing versions of the “trap” – defensive hockey should not be rewarded.  It stifles creativity.   Goal scoring is at a premium.  More need to be done to open up the game and create more offense.  Soccer is cool, but not on skates.  1-0 or 2-0 games get a little boring after a while.

9.  Implement a rule whereby you must play for the team that drafted you for a minimum of 3 years – this would help build chemistry on teams and prevent players from calling the shots as to where they play as “rookies”.

10.  Get tougher on head shots – players are incurring concussions at an alarming rate.  Serious attention needs to be paid to this issue until it is too late and someone dies.   Winning is one thing but developing life long health issues as a result of a concussion is another.  Player safety must be a top concern.  What would happen if Sidney Crosby was unable to return?  Or Shea Weber, or any of the number of players who have had one or more concussions in recent years?  Fans want to see the best, the NHL needs to do more to prevent head shots and head injuries.