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Why A Shorter Season Would Work

from John Shannon of Sportsnet,

Yes, 48 games might be too short, but maybe 82 games is too long. This might be a great opportunity for the powers that be to do something about it. For example, would it not be in everyone’s best interest to shorten the regular season to a reasonable number, like 72 or 76 games? And simultaneously, with the extra week at the end of the regular season, use that time to add a play-in round of four teams, bumping the number of playoff teams to 20?

And before you say, that’s too many teams in the post-season, understand that from 1967, the NHL has gone from eight of 12 to eight of 14, then in 1979, actually had 16 of 21 teams make the playoffs. The historic ratio of two-thirds (four of the Original 6 for so long) has some credence for all hockey fans. Twenty of 30 just makes sense.

Owners have always pushed the envelope in adding as many games to the regular season as they feel the market can bear, and their bankers demand. But in a new partnership with the players, and increased revenue sharing, as long as most of those games can still be played (and revenue distributed), what’s the difference?

In most Canadian cities — and the hardcore cities of Philadelphia, Boston, New York and Pittsburgh — the excitement of 41 regular season games will always pay off.

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Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

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Interesting basis for an argument.  82 is too many, so trim it down to 76, then have 8 of them play another playoff round.  Way to shorten the season.

Posted by Garth on 04/18/13 at 06:36 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

use that time to add a play-in round of four teams, bumping the number of playoff teams to 20?

And before you say, that’s too many teams in the post-season, understand that from 1967, the NHL has gone from eight of 12 to eight of 14, then in 1979, actually had 16 of 21 teams make the playoffs. The historic ratio of two-thirds (four of the Original 6 for so long) has some credence for all hockey fans. Twenty of 30 just makes sense.[/quote


NOOOOOOOOOOOO.  Already over half of the teams make it, we don’t need any more.  There has to be a significant reward for playing well over the long haul.  It needs to be left at 16.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 04/18/13 at 07:00 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I actually think 72-76 games would be reasonable enough and is plenty to decide divisions and playoff seeds, but there’s a problem with it that everyone forgets:  scheduling.

How do you they get around the division-heavy schedules then?  In the minor pros like the CHL and ECHL, I know they go with shorter schedules because they play mostly within their divisions, and almost never outside of their own conferences for travel cost reasons.  I know one year recently in the ECHL Kalamazoo and Cincinnati played each other like 12 times, as an example.

That won’t fly in the NHL though…  CHI’s not going to be okay with not playing DET at all anymore.  And you can’t go from say, 6 divisional games each to an odd amount like 5, because then one team gets more home games than the other.

Until or unless the NHL contracts to 26 teams or something, the 82-game schedule is hard enough for them to get right and balanced.

Posted by Primis on 04/18/13 at 08:10 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Weird, brought up here on KK yesterday on the Summit Series article.. news article about the comments made, not pertaining to the series, comes out the next day.  You got some good pull around here Paul, I’d bet you Shannon visits here wink

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 04/18/13 at 08:14 PM ET

Paul's avatar

All I know HTO is John Shannon is a big supporter of KK.

Plus, you’d be surprised the number of hockey names visit on a regular basis.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 04/18/13 at 08:17 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Doesn’t surprise me at all Paul, you got a tight ship brother.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 04/18/13 at 08:24 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

62 games, 24 teams, 12 teams make playoffs, first series best of 5.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/18/13 at 08:29 PM ET

madhatter's avatar

Owners have big expensive arenas. They want as many nights booked as possible, hockey or otherwise. They’re not going to give up a half dozen or more hockey dates without something guaranteed to replace them.

Posted by madhatter on 04/18/13 at 08:59 PM ET

Tony Perkis's avatar

Injuries always seem to be a problem with every team, so a few less games probably wouldn’t hurt.

I’m not an NBA fan, so I don’t know exactly when their season ends, but isn’t their playoffs always around the NHL playoffs?

I’m no pharmacist, but if the NHL needs/wants better TV ratings, maybe they should try to schedule their playoffs at a different time than the NBA? Might be possible with a shorter season.

Posted by Tony Perkis from Drinking at Robert's Lounge with Billy Batts on 04/18/13 at 09:04 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Owners have big expensive arenas. They want as many nights booked as possible, hockey or otherwise. They’re not going to give up a half dozen or more hockey dates without something guaranteed to replace them.

Posted by madhatter on 04/18/13 at 08:59 PM ET

This… depends.  In some markets, supposedly a (good) concert date at the arena is even more lucrative than just a home NHL date.  So as long as they could know ahead of time that they can book a big-ticket performer I doubt many operators would care less.

Pro sports tenants are considered “anchor” tenants in that they are dependable and fill a large number of dates.  However, they’re often not the most-lucrative options, so venue operators are trading off 41 “guaranteed” filled home dates that are less lucrative because it’s easier than trying to book say 30 concerts to make the same money.

I’m not an NBA fan, so I don’t know exactly when their season ends, but isn’t their playoffs always around the NHL playoffs?

Posted by Tony Perkis from Starting a fire in your mother’s panties. on 04/18/13 at 09:04 PM ET

NBA playoffs actually often start before NHL I believe, and then end after the Stanley Cup has already been awarded.  The NBA first round is one of the biggest running jokes in pro sports, as the first round takes like a month to play (seriously).  They get like 3 or 4 nights off between series games oftentimes.  The NBA has taken a lot… a LOT… of flak for it, but Stern has shown no interest in changing it as far as I know.  The problem is 1st round series’ used to be Best-of-5, and my understanding is when they made them Best-of-7 one of the concessions for doing so was more off-days (in addition to ridiculous and absurd TV broadcast schedule demands).

Posted by Primis on 04/18/13 at 09:25 PM ET

Tony Perkis's avatar

That’s funny about the NBA. Didn’t know that.

Side note: watching Devils vs Flyers, and just watched Lauridsen start a fight with Clarkson.

God I hope some of the young D-men in the Wings system who are willing to do that come up fast. Really think the Wings need a Tootoo on D, especially if he’s as good as the other 4 guys who can’t earn a spot on the roster every night.

Other side note:
I’m sure most know by now but they have video of the Boston suspects. Good day for all.

Posted by Tony Perkis from Drinking at Robert's Lounge with Billy Batts on 04/18/13 at 09:36 PM ET

Avatar

I like the idea of 76 games, especially if they can push the season start back to the first of November. TV ratings will be better and attendance in markets with lots of alternatives will be stronger after football is winding down. I am indifferent about the number of teams in the playoffs, but if it buys a shorter season I can go along. Lastly if they expand to 32 teams a 20 team playoff makes sense.

Posted by timbits on 04/18/13 at 11:10 PM ET

madhatter's avatar

This… depends.  In some markets, supposedly a (good) concert date at the arena is even more lucrative than just a home NHL date.  So as long as they could know ahead of time that they can book a big-ticket performer I doubt many operators would care less.

Posted by Primis on 04/18/13 at 09:25 PM ET

There’s the hook, some markets is not all markets. With a hockey schedule they know ahead that they have the arena booked. Drop just four home games from everyone’s schedule and that’s 120 extra concert dates needed for North America. Toronto, New York and a few others might fill those, but town like Phoenix, Tampa, Winnipeg, etc. are going to have a hard to impossible time. And once the Rolling Stones, Eagles, so-on, so-on, hit the old age homes even Toronto and New York may find it hard to fill an extra four concert dates.

Posted by madhatter on 04/19/13 at 08:28 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

I don’t think 82 games is too many. That said, I think anything as low as 70 would be acceptable, but nothing lower than that. Even with 82, you have teams that get hot at the right time and carry it through to playoff victories over teams that in the long haul were markedly better than them. The best team is the one that is the best over the large sample, not the small one. The shorter the season gets, the more you kick dirt on that very obvious truth, and the NHL already pretty well shits all over it.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/19/13 at 02:10 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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