Hockey is a great sport, but it can be vastly improved.
After a long, grueling and fairly uneventful offseason, the NHL is finally back and hockey fans could not be more excited.
So on this eve of the 2019-20 season of the NHL, I thought it would be fitting to do what I do best: complain about how the league is run and throw out some ideas of how I could make the NHL better if I were commissioner.
Before I get into the fun stuff, I understand that there are a bunch of caveats that wouldn’t allow me to make these changes at the snap of a finger.
Alright, now that the housekeeping is out of the way, without further ado, Commissioner Ohayon’s changes to the NHL:
1.Completely eliminate the shootout.
The NHL struck gold with the implementation of 3-on-3 overtime. Everybody from players to fans finds it incredibly more exciting than a defensive 4-on-4 showdown. Hockey prides itself on being called the ultimate team sport so why does it make sense that a game would boil down to be decided by a shooter versus a goalie? Since 3-on-3 was implemented, everyone watching sits at the edge of their seat for the whole five minutes.
There is simply no excitement about the shootout anymore and it involves no team play, which is the foundation of hockey. Overtime goes until someone scores; in the current three-on-three set up, a goal is bound to be scored within 10 minutes. No one would complain about more of that.
2. Format of the NHL Playoffs
I may be in the minority when saying this but the playoff format needs to be revamped. The idea of growing rivalries was nice in the first few years but I’ve grown tired of seeing Boston eliminate Toronto in seven games every year. The romantic narrative of Crosby versus Ovechkin has spoiled.
I know what you’re thinking, well what can be changed? I propose that instead of the top eight teams from each conference qualifying for the playoffs, that the top 16 overall teams qualify. Not only would the definitive 16 best teams qualify, but also it would create some interesting matchups that we would only be able to see in the finals.
3. Abolish the “loser point”
This one is pretty simple. Why do teams secure a point for reaching overtime? It’s the NHL’s equivalent of a participation medal. The abolishment of the loser point would mitigate the fact that when a game is tied, a team that is desperate for a point in the standings is content with going to extra time.
Also, the loser of a game should not be rewarded in any way. Sure a 43-27-12 record sounds better than a 43-39 record, but the fact still remains that this hypothetical team lost 39 games. The NBA, MLB and NFL don’t reward teams for making it to overtime, why does the NHL?
Feature graphic by @sundaeghost