|Yes, this is a real dog... he really does look like this.|
So, the NHL recently wrapped up its Research, Development and Orientation Camp, in which the NHL's "Ministry Of Silly Rules" experiments with little rules changes and tweaks to determine whether those adjustments could fly in the NHL. Some of the proposals this year were really good, and others were just flat-out, Monty Python silly.
It looks like a couple good ones have a shot at moving forward, though -- the spring-loaded, curved glass near the benches and the "Verification Line." Seriously, I'd be tempted to start Facebook fan pages for them because I like them so much.
Wait... I just did... click here for the Verification Line page and here for the Spring-Loaded Curved Glass. And please suggest it to your friends, or else this is going to look really silly.
For the glass, I like any idea of making the "stanchion/turnbuckle/whatever-the-hell-it's-called" area safer. Anything that avoids another incident like Max Pacioretty fracturing vertabrae on that corner gets my vote. 'Nuff said.
And a big "Hell, Yes" on the Verification Line -- a green line three inches or so behind the goal line that will help determine whether a puck has completely crossed the line. It's a no-brainer. Any Blue Jackets fan will tell you... anything that helps the "War Room" in Toronto not screw up a goal call is a plus, since the idiots obviously can't do it for themselves.
I mildly like the "shallower nets" idea... it would help scoring all-around, which is good for the game overall. I would also support a five-round shootout.
Now, that "bear hug" rule -- being able to wrap up an opponent to minimize boarding injuries or something -- being tossed around/endorsed by Brian Burke... well, I'm not sure the guy who gave Todd Bertuzzi a job after his reinstatement should be talking to anybody about preventing injury.
But while the NHL is tweaking rules, I have a suggestion... can we please stop screwing around with the All-Star Game format, and go back to the good old fashioned East-West game?
Don't get me wrong... I get the whole idea of choosing teams the old-school, "pond hockey" way and all that. It does add a little intrigue to the game. It's just that something seems to be missing there, competitively.
It's not a lack of qualification... it just feels like less incentive to win.
Look at the All Star Games in the other leagues of the "Big Four." The NFL's Pro Bowl pits AFC against NFC, Major League Baseball has AL vs. NL, and the NBA has East vs. West.
See what they do there? Incentive to win. Prove that your conference is the better conference. You want to not only win, you also want to dominate a bit, you know? Maybe even hit (or at least try to get in the way of) somebody.
True... the NHL and NBA All Star Games aren't exactly known for their defense. However, you can bet they're at least trying to do enough. Because they want to beat the other team. I don't mean destroy the other team or pull a Matt Cooke on somebody, but just have that additional drive to win.
I think you lose a little of that when you potentially have a teammate on the opposite end of the ice, such as in this "Fantasy Draft" format and in that old "North America vs. World" format (I was also not a fan). It was a cute idea for the two Olympic years in 1998 and 2002, and I don't think hockey is a place for "cute" ideas.
When I watch the All Star Game, I'm for the Western Conference all the way... although I'm sure this will change if/when the Jackets move East next year (please, Hockey Gods).
"Team Lidstrom"? "Team Staal"? And didn't the official boxscore on NHL.com have ASB as in "blue team" and ASR as in "red team"? Yikes.
I will openly admit that I can't remember which All Star team Rick Nash played for last year. And splitting up Nasher and Jeff Carter (because the days of just one CBJ in the All Star Games may be numbered) in this year's All Star Game...? Oh, hell no.
The rosters weren't even balanced between the conferences. Five out of six goaltenders from the East? I know you want a high-scoring game, but that was just scraping, man. You mean to tell me there wasn't even one more worthy goaltender from the West?!?!? Sure, Roberto Luongo had a couple godawful weeks in June (Woohoo! Go Bruins!)... but he was possibly THE best goaltender in the NHL last season. Sorry, someone in charge of selection needed to hit the bottle a little less there.
Anyway, that's just my take on the All Star Game format... whether you think it's a sound argument or a silly argument....
However, I certainly welcome anyone else's opinions/comments, for or against. So how about it? There's a poll over on the right margin.
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