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-   -   I hope the NHL is locked out a good long ass time (http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/showthread.php?t=102328)

Pass-the-Puck 09-08-2004 11:46 AM

I hope the NHL is locked out a good long ass time
 
Why you ask? Because it the league is a watered down version of it's former self. Too many teams, not enough star players to go around, a number of league enforced systems that reward defense, rather than offense. The game has never had wide appeal, it is a game best watched live, it certainly loses something on television. It is a regional, seasonal sport for a small group of North American fans.

For these reasons hockey has very few casual fans. While many hockey fans will sit down and watch a football game this Sunday, how many football fans normally sit down a watch a hockey game? The average American doesn't give a crap about the Canucks vs. Predators. The average American would be more interested in the Packers vs. the Bucs. The television ratings back that statement up. The league needs to reinvent itself. It needs become leaner, meaner, more streamlined. Less teams. Remove the red line. Call the obstruction penalties. Penalties should be a full 2 minutes, regardless if the team on the PP scores.

The league needs to reward offensive hockey, and penalize defensive hockey. Fans don't want to watch 60 minutes of hockey played between the bluelines by 3rd liners and nobodys. One of the reasons salaries are so high is that you have 30 teams bidding for a handful of "name" players every UFA season. These very few name players get signed for incredible amounts of cash, only to have forgetable seasons finishing up their career on a line with the Jim Dowd's of the NHL.

The owners gobbled up that expansion team cash, and changed the rules of the game so teams like the Wild could have success without spending a bundle. By also endorsing defensive hockey, the league thought this would keep salaries low. They miscalculated. Now the Bobby Holik's of the NHL make $9 mil. Jagr who scored 149 points in 1995-1996, is worth $10 mill for scoring 74 last season. 20 and 30 goal scorers are sought after like never before.

Nearly every team in the NHL is playing some variation of the trap. Arenas are half empty, TV revenues are gonzo. The league has destroyed itself. The hockey we watch today is garbage. If you grabbed almost any hockey team from the past, and matched them up against a hockey team now, it would be a joke. The rosters from years ago look like All-Star teams compared to the crap we have now. Excuse me for not getting excited over Jason Strudwick. But hey after all the guy had 4 points last season and was a -16. That's worth $625k.

The only thing that will save the game is money. Money being lost, a whole lot of money being lost. The NHL needs to be crushed completly and start over again, get back to basics. I hope the lockout lasts a good long time, I hope teams fold, and I hope the game gets opened up again, for the good of the game. Otherwise it will continue to destroy itself over time.

True Blue 09-08-2004 12:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pass-the-Puck
The league needs to reward offensive hockey, and penalize defensive hockey.

Riiiiiight......because playing sound defensively is something that should surely be punished.

"I hope the lockout lasts a good long time"

I hope that you are a fan of other sports. Becuase if "the lockout lasts a good long time", hockey will be finished in this country. The NHL is not built to be able to withstand what baseball went through.

SingnBluesOnBroadway 09-08-2004 12:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by True Blue
Riiiiiight......because playing sound defensively is something that should surely be punished.

"I hope the lockout lasts a good long time"

I hope that you are a fan of other sports. Becuase if "the lockout lasts a good long time", hockey will be finished in this country. The NHL is not built to be able to withstand what baseball went through.


Also, the lockout is not about the lack of offense. It's about money. Nobody's getting locked out because of the trap.

TheZherdev 09-08-2004 12:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SingnBluesOnBroadway
Also, the lockout is not about the lack of offense. It's about money. Nobody's getting locked out because of the trap.

I think he means that besides the money issue in the lockout situation there are too many other factors the have been destroying the fans excitement in the sport.

Fletch 09-08-2004 12:40 PM

It is watered down...
 
although even in these watered-down times there's a bigger fan base now than 10 years ago.

A long lockout would be very detrimental to hockey in America, and the NHL. Support from casual fans would be very difficult to win back, and the NHL cannot afford to lose any fans at this point.

It is sad...Bettman & Co. keeps talking about cost-certainty and how they want salaries to be tied to revenues - that's fine and dandy, but unfortunately I've heard very little insofar as how the NHL will go about increasing revenues. They're done just a poor job the past 10 years marketing the sport and gaining popularity that this is what it's come down to and the NHL wants the players to take make up for the owners' and the NHL's problems they created over the years.

Fletch 09-08-2004 12:43 PM

That's true, Blackburn...
 
more offense theoretically could lead to more 'exciting' games for the casual fan which could lead to increased interest. Of course, it's not really more offense, but just good game flow. And the league has tried half-assed to change that, but doesn't know how (two refs I believe was its answer, but that's got its shortcomings, for sure). We all would love to see the penalties that should be called, be called, and we would all love to see more consistency from game to game in the way a game is officiated, as too often the games are decided by the refs and not the players on the ice.

Vito Andolini 09-08-2004 12:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SingnBluesOnBroadway
Also, the lockout is not about the lack of offense. It's about money. Nobody's getting locked out because of the trap.

I dont agree with this because offense leads to excitement, which attracts casual fans, which gives the teams a better TV deal, increasing their revenue and allowing rising player salaries to be better aligned with rising team revenue. That gets right to the heart of the owners labor dispute that they are not making enough money relative to how much they are spending.

SingnBluesOnBroadway 09-08-2004 12:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blackburn2727
I think he means that besides the money issue in the lockout situation there are too many other factors the have been destroying the fans excitement in the sport.

My point is, the owners are not locking out the players because they aren't scoring enough.

SingnBluesOnBroadway 09-08-2004 12:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vito Andolini
I dont agree with this because offense leads to excitement, which attracts casual fans, which gives the teams a better TV deal, increasing their revenue and allowing rising player salaries to be better aligned with rising team revenue. That gets right to the heart of the owners labor dispute that they are not making enough money relative to how much they are spending.

Not neccesarily. The "casual fan" (if there is such a thing when it comes to hockey) are watching bowling over hockey. Is bowling more exciting than hockey? Is NASCAR? There's little scoring in soccer but it one of the most popular sports in the world.

Again, the owners are not locking the players out because of a lack of scoring. And if the owners are so concerned, let's see them agree to take five-ten rows of the most expensive seats in the house out to widen the playing surface and increase the skill level. Lets see them trump up scoring then.

Sather Hater 09-08-2004 01:00 PM

It's hard to compare Hockey or any sport to Football. Hockey, Basketball, and Baseball all play much longer seasons. With Football the season is only 16 games, that in itself helps to create more excitement. They only play once a week so you have people looking forward to football all week long. Other sports they can play 4-5 games a week, and 80+ games a season. Even a true hockey fan will most likely miss a few games of the team he roots for, because the games aren't as important.

I do believe they need to add some excitement to the game (there are only two reasons why non hockey fans tune in and watch a game (1. Fighting/Checking 2. Scoring). I think one easy way to do this would be to drop the two line pass. How many times a game do you watch and see the play called dead because of a two line pass? Way too many if you ask me. It would add more breakaways and odd man rushes, and should help increase the scoring. I'm not saying that's gonna fix everything, but I think something small like that would make a big difference.

Pass-the-Puck 09-08-2004 01:04 PM

Quote:

hope that you are a fan of other sports. Becuase if "the lockout lasts a good long time", hockey will be finished in this country. The NHL is not built to be able to withstand what baseball went through.
The NHL has hurt the sport of hockey in this country because of the reasons I mentioned above. Over-expansion has watered down the sport gradually over the course of the past 10-15 years to the point where a Jason Strudwick signing is exciting. The rise in the player salaries is partially due to more teams bidding for the very few "name" UFA's. The game we watch today is not what hockey was meant to be.

SingnBluesOnBroadway 09-08-2004 01:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sather Hater
It's hard to compare Hockey or any sport to Football. Hockey, Basketball, and Baseball all play much longer seasons. With Football the season is only 16 games, that in itself helps to create more excitement. They only play once a week so you have people looking forward to football all week long. Other sports they can play 4-5 games a week, and 80+ games a season. Even a true hockey fan will most likely miss a few games of the team he roots for, because the games aren't as important.

I do believe they need to add some excitement to the game. I think one easy way to do this would be to drop the two line pass. How many times a game do you watch and see the play called dead because of a two line pass? Way too many if you ask me. It would add more breakaways and odd man rushes, and should help increase the scoring. I'm not saying that's gonna fix everything, but I think something small like that would make a big difference.

Football also has a national TV contract and games are always sold out because season tickets are for eight games instead of 41.

Personally I would like to see more offense and more skill and more flow. But that would not neccesarily improve the financial situation. Players would still get paid. So a current 40 goal scorer scores 50 instead. He still will get paid in proportion to former 30 goal scorer who is now scoring 40.

Fletch 09-08-2004 01:07 PM

Great point, SBOB...
 
NASCAR did a great job marketing of marketing the sport and, I believe, now gets better ratings than hockey.

Pass-the-Puck 09-08-2004 01:08 PM

Quote:

Not neccesarily. The "casual fan" (if there is such a thing when it comes to hockey) are watching bowling over hockey. Is bowling more exciting than hockey? Is NASCAR? There's little scoring in soccer but it one of the most popular sports in the world.
I think a better product, such an exciting brand of hockey, rather than what we have now, would attract more interest.

SingnBluesOnBroadway 09-08-2004 01:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pass-the-Puck
I think a better product, such an exciting brand of hockey, rather than what we have now, would attract more interest.


I don't disagree. But it sounds like your solution to fixing a damaged foundation is to paint it in a flashier color.

The league needs to fix its financials. That's why there is the potential of a lock out. If the league doesn't play for a year or so, the casual fan is not going to care if they took out the two line pass or brought back the tag up offsides rule.

Flyers26 09-08-2004 01:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fletch
NASCAR did a great job marketing of marketing the sport and, I believe, now gets better ratings than hockey.

NASCAR's rating rival that of the NBA & NFL.
They have done a great job at moving that sport into the upper echelon of North American sports. Look at how they have grown, over the last 10yrs, and how CART, or open wheel racing as fallen.

Pass-the-Puck 09-08-2004 01:33 PM

Quote:

The league needs to fix its financials. That's why there is the potential of a lock out. If the league doesn't play for a year or so, the casual fan is not going to care if they took out the two line pass or brought back the tag up offsides rule.
The financials are the result the environment the league created for itself. It could partially be remedied by folding some franchises that are creating a drain on the league, and would also increase the level of talent in the talent pool. Remove any 5 teams from the NHL and put those players in the talent pool, the product would increase dramatically. The casual fan would enjoy a exciting a hockey game, played with better players, rather than 60 minutes of trapping between the bluelines by the Jim Dowd's, etc. And for each team that folds, some of that fanbase would move to another geographically close franchise increasing attendence.

True Blue 09-08-2004 01:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pass-the-Puck
I think a better product, such an exciting brand of hockey, rather than what we have now, would attract more interest.

So what do you want to have, an "Illegal Defense?" Make any checking of players with the puck illegal? I know, how about we deduct goals for any teams that play the trap?
Has the popularity of football suffered becuase the Ravens are a great defensive team? Maybe the NFL should make the Ravens play with 10 playes on the field.

"The casual fan would enjoy a exciting a hockey game, played with better players, rather than 60 minutes of trapping between the bluelines by the Jim Dowd's, etc."

Any Pat Burns/Jacques Lemaire coached team will trap. Makes no difference if it is Jim Down or Marian Gaborik.

Pass-the-Puck 09-08-2004 02:13 PM

Calling obstruction penalties, full 2 minutes PP regardless if team on PP scores, removing the red line, LESS JIM DOWD'S. The problem is, this has happened so gradually, that fans actually think hockey should be played like this. The NHL has created a league that rewards defensive hockey, and the fanbase has suffered for it. No matter how many cups the Devils seem to win, their attendance never seems to improve. Could it be the style of play? The endless interchangable flock of forwards trapping opposing teams to death night after night winning games 2-1?

no13matssundin 09-08-2004 02:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pass-the-Puck
Why you ask? Because it the league is a watered down version of it's former self. Too many teams, not enough star players to go around, a number of league enforced systems that reward defense, rather than offense. The game has never had wide appeal, it is a game best watched live, it certainly loses something on television. It is a regional, seasonal sport for a small group of North American fans.

For these reasons hockey has very few casual fans. While many hockey fans will sit down and watch a football game this Sunday, how many football fans normally sit down a watch a hockey game? The average American doesn't give a crap about the Canucks vs. Predators. The average American would be more interested in the Packers vs. the Bucs. The television ratings back that statement up. The league needs to reinvent itself. It needs become leaner, meaner, more streamlined. Less teams. Remove the red line. Call the obstruction penalties. Penalties should be a full 2 minutes, regardless if the team on the PP scores.

The league needs to reward offensive hockey, and penalize defensive hockey. Fans don't want to watch 60 minutes of hockey played between the bluelines by 3rd liners and nobodys. One of the reasons salaries are so high is that you have 30 teams bidding for a handful of "name" players every UFA season. These very few name players get signed for incredible amounts of cash, only to have forgetable seasons finishing up their career on a line with the Jim Dowd's of the NHL.

The owners gobbled up that expansion team cash, and changed the rules of the game so teams like the Wild could have success without spending a bundle. By also endorsing defensive hockey, the league thought this would keep salaries low. They miscalculated. Now the Bobby Holik's of the NHL make $9 mil. Jagr who scored 149 points in 1995-1996, is worth $10 mill for scoring 74 last season. 20 and 30 goal scorers are sought after like never before.

Nearly every team in the NHL is playing some variation of the trap. Arenas are half empty, TV revenues are gonzo. The league has destroyed itself. The hockey we watch today is garbage. If you grabbed almost any hockey team from the past, and matched them up against a hockey team now, it would be a joke. The rosters from years ago look like All-Star teams compared to the crap we have now. Excuse me for not getting excited over Jason Strudwick. But hey after all the guy had 4 points last season and was a -16. That's worth $625k.

The only thing that will save the game is money. Money being lost, a whole lot of money being lost. The NHL needs to be crushed completly and start over again, get back to basics. I hope the lockout lasts a good long time, I hope teams fold, and I hope the game gets opened up again, for the good of the game. Otherwise it will continue to destroy itself over time.

GREAT POST! Im glad SOMEONE gets it. :yo:

nyr7andcounting 09-08-2004 02:33 PM

Some people put too much stock on scoring. I am a huge hockey fan, while many of my friends are casual/barely know anything about it type fans. And I will tell you that to both me and my friends, the most exciting thing about hockey is the flow of the game, the pace, the hitting. I would much rather see an exciting game, in the sense that it's quick and there is a lot of action, that ends up 2-1, than see a 4-2 game with choppy play. The amount of goals scored is simply a measure of which team played better, not a measure of how good of a game it was. Some of the best games I have ever seen have been 2-1 and 3-2 games, meanwhile some of the worst have been 5-1 and 6-3 games.

It seems like some people think that the NHL needs to figure out how to change these games from 3-1 to 5-2. But, what they really need to do is change the choppy, slow, defensive 3-1 games to a 3-1 game with pace, hitting and scoring chances. That is how you make the game more exciting. And in doing that sooner or later the goals will come.

To me, there are 3 things that need to be done to get this league back on it's feet.

1. make the rinks bigger. players today are so big and so fast that it almost works against them because they all clog up the ice and there's no room out there. Add an extra couple feet on the sides of the rink and it would give players a little more room. It would give Jagr a little big of an edge over a guy like Chara. And, there's not much revenue to be lost here. So what, they lost a few rows of 20 dollar tickets, big deal. The extra tickets they would sell with this style of game would make up for the seats that would be lost.

2. take out 2 line pass. no reason for it today. again, players are so fast that having 2 line pass in there actually slows down the game. With focus on defense, and the retirement of Bure, there wouldn't be that much cherry picking going on. You cherry pick, you basically give the other team a power play. Further, if players want to hang around outside the zone and wait for the puck, and the offensive team leaves a defenseman out there with them, that's fine also because it would make it 4 on 4 in the zone and create more room. Taking out 2 line pass would help the offense both ways and allow more speed in the game.

3. contracting a couple of teams. I believe that the first 2 alone will help the product of NHL hockey enough to entertain NHL fans as well as bring in casual fans. However, if the league wants to solve its financial problems, than this is how they do it. There are too many players in this league for it's own good. When the league expanded, they allowed the higher salaries to rise rather than force the lower salaries to fall... which would have been the right move with the addition of a couple hundred players. There were more low level players, making more money, so everyone above them used them as a measuring stick, and eventually salaries rose across the board. Contracting a couple of teams would have a positive effect on the NHL economy simply through supply and demand. More lower level players fighting for a job, that lowers the price for a Jason Strudwick, which eventually lowers the price for a 3rd line players, which eventually lowers the price for a 2nd line players and so on.

If the NHL wants a better game, it needs to make the first two changes. If it wants to make the game better and help the financial situation at the same time, it needs to do all 3.

no13matssundin 09-08-2004 02:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by True Blue
So what do you want to have, an "Illegal Defense?"

Actually, YES, you do have an "illegal defense" call, with a 4 min major penalty being the result...

You can still play one-on-one hockey and play defense... but that way it creates match ups and, there-by, mis-matches as well... which leads to chances and offense.

Trap defenses only slow down play and destroy offense... in other words, in a offensively-minded NHL it would and should be an illegal defense.

That makes perfectly good sense.

Fletch 09-08-2004 02:37 PM

Devils' attendance doesn't improve...
 
because there's only so many people willing to drive to the Meadowlands 41 times a year. It's convenience. Heck, the Nets haven't had great attendance either, if I'm not mistaken. It's location, location, location. But, the Devils can still afford to ice a team with a $40+ million payroll [which is where I believe they'll be this season], and likely makes money.

as for the rule changes you suggest...full 2-minute PP with unlimited scoring? I don't know if 20+ minutes of 5-on-4 hockey is really the way to go, and further, all that does, really, is increase scoring. The MISL didn't do well, and I don't think that gimmick does well either. Talented players should be able to showcase their talent. Clutching and grabbing takes away from that and puts lesser players (call them your 'Jim Dowds') on a more even playing field. It's like you career nickel back being able to hold Jerry Rice circa 1995 as he ran his patterns. It's a penalty and happens much less than clutching and grabbing. Clearing the blue line (i.e., not being able to forecheck on occasion), doesn't make much sense either and slows the game down a bit.

But in the end, you need to market the product.

Melrose_Jr. 09-08-2004 02:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Flyers26
NASCAR's rating rival that of the NBA & NFL.
They have done a great job at moving that sport into the upper echelon of North American sports. Look at how they have grown, over the last 10yrs, and how CART, or open wheel racing as fallen.

NASCAR's rating have leveled off, so they've begun to resort to straight up gimmicks to continue attracting fans. "The Chase", green-white-checker, the "bottle controversy", etc. Next, they'll be kicking someone out of the series once a week. Bill France Jr. got "Bettman-itis" and now sees only TV ratings and sponsorship dollars as a representation of the health of the sport. Meanwhile, hard-core motorsports fans have lost interest completely. 10-12 years ago I would attend 2-3 NASCAR events per year. Now I haven't even watched one on TV in 2 years because, from a racing standpoint, the product is garbage.

"NASCAR-ization" of hockey? Not interested.

Fletch 09-08-2004 02:42 PM

Eliminating the trap...
 
makes perfect sense? You do realize that one of the higher scoring teams in the league also employs the trap. I still believe that there is a misconception about the trap, and it's too much associated with 'clutch and grab', which is the real problem. You can break the trap if the forwards and defensemen implementing it do not hold the offensive players when going in for the puck. All teams play some sort of 'defensive' system. Although some do it better than others, and some get away with more obstruction than others.


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