I wanted to take a little bit of time out to talk about the NHL and all the fun they are having getting a new CBA in place so they can play hockey next season.
First off, let me say that it is good to see the owners and the players come together in order to get this done. It has been a long time coming that is for sure. However, where was all this sense of urgency when the lockout was formally announced? The players and owners met a handful of times between the lockout announcement and the cancelation of the season. Did either side just not care? Were the players or the owners standing pat? In this situation, you have to blame both sides for the loss of last season. It is clear that both sides care right now. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be meeting as much as they are meeting now. Today is the 9th straight day in this round. They have taken a day or two off here and there, but they are meeting on holidays for 12 hour sessions for crying out loud. Someone must see the writing on the wall.
Now, when a new CBA is done, what are they going to do to bring the fans back to their seats? Will they lower ticket prices? One can only hope. The players reduced their salaries by roughly 25%, so we should see 25% less prices right? Hockey was already the most expensive sport to go watch for the most part. Some of the Red Wings tickets were selling for $70 face value for a lower bowl seat. If you settle for upper, that is $35 a piece for nosebleed. Taking a family out to the game is harmful to the wallet thats for sure. By the time you factor in parking, maybe a snack, and $50 seats, you are looking at over $250 for a family of 4! Thats nuts! A rollback on ticket prices by 25% across the board is the best way to show you want to bring fans back. I would put 25% at the MINIMUM for a rollback on ticket prices.
Now you know why I only go if I can get someone to sell me their tickets at face value. Even if I do go, I don’t eat at the game. Still, for my brother and I to go it costs us about $125 in tickets alone. The ticket scalpers were making a hell of a lot more on those same seats. I hope those scalpers don’t get much money after the NHL comes back. I know Detroit will always be Hockeytown, but with the CBA in place making teams much more even, I just don’t see Detroit bringing back so many stars and being as dominant as they were.
Now, they are going to make the game more exciting. An NHL slogan of, “Its a whole new game” indeed. Lets look at these possible rule changes.
1. Touch up offsides: Great idea! They should have never removed this rule in the first place. The NHL had touch up offsides at one point in time, but removed it for various reasons. The college game is much more exciting in my mind due to the touch up offsides. Less whistles and more flow to the game.
2. Reduced goalie equipment: Another good idea, but will it result in more goals scored? Maybe a few, but you are looking at a few inches here and there. I think it is a good call, but I also think that too much has been harped on this as being a primary reason why goals aren’t being scored.
3. Two line pass: Remove the red line for two line passes? Another great idea. That should open the game up a little bit. Making the blue lines thicker would help a little bit as well.
4. Obstruction: Ah, here we go. Every season, the NHL wants to crack down on obstruction. At the end of the season, we are seeing more and more clutching, grabbing, holding, and hooking than ever. So is the NHL serious about this? I guess we will have to wait to find out. On a side note, the CCHA did this last season and did it for the better part of half the season before slipping into their old ways. Anyway, there were 20-30 minor penalties called per game. Each side had 10-15 power plays. Thats just huge! If they call every little obstruction, that would probably be a good direction for the game to go into. Just call it both ways.
5. Shootouts: I have always been a fan of the shootout in the regular season. How many sports have tie games these days? Off the top of my head, soccer does. Thats it. Its about time to remove the ties in the regular season. The NHL has mentioned that 4 minutes of 4v4 OT and 3 minutes of 3v3 OT before going to the shootout would be the best option. I agree 100%. As for the playoffs, keep the 5v5 OT going until there is a winner.
6. Icing: No touch icing is the best way to go. I have seen so many NHL injuries sustained when skaters race back for the icing call. Great idea.
What does this all equal? A better NHL game? I can tell you I am excited, but it will all depend on how these rule changes occur and how they are enforced.
Just get a deal done and lets start the season on time this year! 🙂