Above the Glass
by Samantha on 11/09/11 at 08:44 PM ET
The business side of hockey has been in high gear these past few weeks, with Sean Avery’s re-entry into the NHL atmosphere, the suspension and unconditional waiver of Mattias Ritola, Ken Hitchcok’s hiring in St. Louis and the onoing debate over what, if anything, will fix the Blue Jackets’ woes. Refresh me, how many lawyers did it take to come up with the rules in the collective bargaining agreement that require a team to suspend a player and put him on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract? Total hilarity. All this fuss got me to thinking, what if fans ran the show? What kind of rules would we make up? I have a few thoughts. And we know what happens when I do that.
These are just a few of the things I’d do if I was hockey’s queen for a day:
Fashion forward: One of the early rules in the NHL Rulebook outlines the requirements for team uniforms. It covers everything from the size of the numbers to the way the last name is listed and keeping the jersey and equipment securely tied down. For my rule, I would take a slightly less scientific approach. I would require that all uniforms be colorful, coordinated and preferably, have very scary mascots on the front of them. Like, for example, the scary lake monster on the Kelowna Rockets’ jersey. While one must respect hockey’s history, I would rule out any uniform designed to honor the team’s heritage if said uniform makes them look like they are wearing PJs or in the case of the Calgary Flames, Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. I have the highest respect for hockey’s history, and I believe it should be honored accordingly, but surely there is a more fashionable way to honor your legacy than uniforms that look like footie pajamas or giant, bouncing tigers.
Every team must have a two-headed monster: The Penguins have Malkin and Crosby. The Tampa Bay Lightning have Lecavalier and St. Louis. And a resurgent Edmonton has a three-headed monster in Eberle, Hall and the Nuge. It’s simply a must to have a powerhouse line that other teams fear. As an alternative, you can employ a Shea Weber and his 100 mile-an-hour slapshot (minus the zillion dollar contract) and a Zdeno Chara-sized seven foot tall captain looming large over everyone. Anything that strikes fear into the heart of the enemy will do, as long as more than one player is involved.
Looks matter: All coaches will be as young and smokin’ hot as Guy Boucher or they’re gone. Young, good looking dudes behind the bench seems to be working for the NHL, so it works for me.
Use ‘em or lose ‘em: Forget the 10-game threshold that starts the clock ticking on the first year of a rookie’s contract. I’d give a team a dozen games to use their draft prizes wisely, and then if they don’t and said player is not getting quality ice time and producing, said players must be sent back to their junior team. Call it re-gifting, hockey style. Wrap ‘em up, put them on the express flight and send them back to us. I’m pretty sure their junior teams can find one or two things to do with them in the meantime.
No bumps to the noggin: A well-played hockey game, what with the spitting and swearing and fighting and all, is a lot like the Wild West. Accordingly, I would use the same old-school justice system. It goes like this: an eye for eye. Therefore, if you lay down a rule 48.1-esque hit, then you sit as long as the guy you wonked upside the head. And you must memorize the story of players who took a dirty hit or two so hard they’ll never play again. Hey, it’s hockey. Gotta keep it simple.
So, to refresh: Yes to hot coaches and multiple-headed monster lines. No to head hits and footie pajamas/uniforms.
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About Above the Glass
Welcome to Above the Glass, a definitive anti-expert’s guide to hockey. I started blogging in 2009 as part of an effort to learn all 87 rules in the NHL Rulebook in 107 days before the 2010 Olympics, 30 years after I discovered the sport. You can peruse the archival results here. Growing up in Arizona, I didn’t even know hockey existed until February 22, 1980, when the USA played Russia in the Olympics. And just like that, the game of the century changed my life. I still don’t quite understand the icing rule or which faceoff circle goes with what offense, but I do know that every aspect of hockey has something to teach us about life. That’s what you’ll find here, along with my unadulterated passion for the game.
I live in Portland, Oregon, home of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. I invite anyone who wants to know more about hockey in the Rose City to visit here, where I blog exclusively about the Winterhawks. I’ll post an occasional musing about the Hawks, the WHL and junior hockey here as well.
Follow me on Twitter: @AbovetheGlass