If this were football, it would mean they decided to punt!
The NHL Board of Governors have met and said their farewells, with little to announce to the anxious hockey world. The two day meetings provided for discussion on a few items including the controversial scheduling situation this year and in the finest tradition of governmental bureaucrats, the barons of the hockey world took the easy way out and put the issue up for further study.
With the Canadian teams clamoring for a more inclusive schedule (ie: one that brings the original six and the hot new guns west a bit more frequently) the talk of the pre meeting period was that an accommodation would be made that cut back on the inter divisional games a bit so as to send hockey’s new missionaries off to the distant territories to sell the game.
In the end the plan was laid dormant by one vote short of the required majority to put the plan in place. Instead, the owners decided to put the plans off for further study, leaving a good number of fans more than a little annoyed at the prospect of not seeing their childhood favourite team or the newest sensations at least once a year.
Also left off the table by the end of the meetings was any tinkering with the playoff format for the moment. No more talk of a March madness bracket or the idea of providing byes and adding more teams. The loss of the bracketing plan is seen as a defeat for Gary Bettman, who preferred the basketball model of playoff seeding, apparently as it would be good for American Television to follow along with. Unfortunately for Mr. Bettman the Governors didn’t see the wisdom of changing a set up that seems to work well. All in all as the last round of golf was played, the final set of tennis put down and of course the final drink by the pool consumed it ends up as a status quo for now.
But maybe, it may not be so for as long as they might have wished. Those that came up short, will get busy working on the governors who could have gone either way, a bit of work and the proposals could soon be back up for discussion. It could be possibly as soon as the New Year, when they gather again in Dallas for the all star game in late January.
One Governor that they won’t be swaying is Brian Burke now of the Anaheim Ducks, he is against any further tinkering which would require his team to travel east any more than it does. It’s a stand that puts him at odds with his protégé and the General Manager of his old team the Canucks. Perhaps it’s just that he enjoys playing Vancouver, giving him a chance to gain some points at the expense of his old employer.