Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Fans will be fearful of some fanciful changes in the works for the NHL!

As the NHL heads into the final weeks of the regular season, some unusual rumblings are starting to be heard around the league.

Players, managers and league officials have apparently all been brainstorming to come up with some ideas to make the game a better experience for the fans. However, it would seem that some of the ideas that we’ve heard of seem to be a little off the wall.

Right off the get go, the idea being bounced around to use much larger nets seems rather strange, especially with some of the European players lobbying that the NHL should use the same size net as European soccer uses, this apparently coming from their pre game ritual of playing soccer underneath the stands at many NHL rinks.

It’s bad enough that Don Cherry has had to watch the game he loves turn into soccer on ice with all the hugging and kissing and falls to the ice, but the idea of nets that take up the majority of the end boards could send old Don off to his great reward.

Likewise, the trial balloon from some un-named NHL executives to begin to add much more advertising to the NHL uniforms is going to alienate a good number of the traditionalists of hockey, these gaudy looking roving posters for league sponsors will surely have the NHLPA looking for a share of any potential extra cash but leave many a hockey fan dismayed.

Fans will also probably find it annoying that the idea of changing the game from three periods to four quarters (an idea that some point to the basketball influence at more than a few of the teams) has been spoken of in recent weeks. The extra break between periods most likely a way to sell yet more advertising during the course of the game.

Overtures are also being made with the players to extend the season by another month, starting the playoffs in late May and awarding the Stanley Cup shortly before the August 1st weekend, this would guarantee the NHL television and media exposure through the summer months and lead right up into training camp.

On the topic of training camp, exhibition games will now take up the majority of October, as the NHL will be taking the game to some new locations in the future to try and grow the game.

Likely destinations being mentioned for late 2009 and beyond, include Buenos Aries, Argentina, Auckland, New Zealand and the oil rich state of Dubai, where a number of wealthy sheiks have promised to subsidize any expenses associated with playing at the New Dubai Gardens, the first indoor state of the art hockey rink in the Middle East.

Sentimentalists will no doubt find much to worry about with many of the changes, but time moves on and like each day on a calendar, in the NHL you never know what the new day will bring.

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