You wanna know a big problem with the NHL that nobody talks about? 2 intermissions. Sports fans can really only tolerate 1 major stoppage during a 3 hour event before they lose interest. The easy solution is to just split every game into two 30 minute halves, but a hockey rink doesn’t work that way. By minute 22 or 23 of each half the action would grind to a halt. It’d be about as entertaining as watching a 12-and-under game. So since we have to keep both intermissions anyway, lets make them more entertaining. My idea: A competetive Zamboni league. Make the Zamboni’s smaller (but faster), add bumbers and race them around the rink. You’d start with 4, then the top 2 make the final during the 2nd intermission. Each driver would accumulate points (using the Nascar model) and then the top drivers make the playoffs in April. And the best part is it wouldn’t increase the length of each intermission. Re-surfacing the ice is the sole reason intermissions are necessary in the 1st place and when you turn that into an event you cut out all the riff-raff that arenas do during breaks. Now if I can just convince Vince McMahon to spot me some seed money I think I can make this happen…
In the more realistic “what ifs” for increasing excitement in the game, how about going 3 on 3 in overtime periods? (Calm down hockey purists, I’m talking regular season only here). This is not my idea, Justin Bourne from the Puck Daddy Blog is where I first heard about this although it’s been kicked around insider hockey circles for a while now. His idea is 5 minutes of 4 on 4, then 5 minutes of 3 on 3. Which isn’t bad but I say why keep the 4 on 4? Make it 3 on 3 for the full 10 minutes (I’ve always hated 5 minutes for overtime. Football goes 15 minutes, basketball goes 12, baseball goes in perpetuity… WTF NHL?) Then again last I checked Gary Shetman is still the NHL Commissioner, so all these ideas have zero chance of happening. So rather than waste anymore time, I’ll just give you some NHL news:
Logan Couture – C (SJ): Signed a new 2 year deal. Nothing major here, but it does at the very least reinforce his importance in the Sharks organization. I’m big on Couture I think he can eventually be a Top 20 Center in the NHL so this just shows that San Jose (probably) agrees with me. There will be more to come on LoCo when I break down the best of the rest Centers.
James van Riemsdyk – LW (Phi): A 6 year deal at over $2.8MM per year, for a 21 year old, shows that Philly believes in his ability. It also shows that the Flyers are creating a whole new identity at the forward position. Briere and Hartnell may still be there, but it’s about van Riemsdyk, Giroux, Voracek, Schenn and Nodl now. It’s a core that may not quite be ready, but in 3 years this group could be scary.
Daymond Langkow – C (Phx): Traded from Calgary for Lee Stempniak (more on him about an inch down). To be honest this is hardly news, best case scenario Langkow gets 2nd line minutes with the Coyotes (woo-hoo!) but it does give me a chance to mention Kyle Turris. The guy who WILL be the #2 Center in Phoenix. Turris is (other than the hardest last name ever to pluralize) really young and really talented. You’ll be hearing more about him at some point.
Lee Stempniak – RW (Cgy): For fantasy implications this is the more important side (and by more important I mean it’s not really important). If all things break right, he’ll get 2nd line minutes and be a waiver wire All Star. But don’t count on it.
Ethan Moreau – LW (LA): Now this is what you call fillin space. Moreau is not relevant in fantasy hockey, but seriously why is this guy still in the league? Is he one of those guys who has a great rep as a “clubhouse guy” or something? There has to be somebody in the Kings minor league system who could play 7 minutes a game on the 4th line. And he’s even named after the franchise.
Sidney Crosby – C (Pit): The news on Crosby changes about as often as I change my 9 month old’s diaper. First he was having recurring symptoms, then he was fine, then his career was in doubt, and now nobody knows. Like I said in the rankings though the upside is the best player in fantasy. I’ll be posting alot more about his status over the coming weeks so stay tuned