If I Were NHL Commissioner
In the 2015-16 season we were blessed with the implementation of 3 on 3 over-time. This makes for a far more exciting five minutes of bonus hockey and really gives the more skilled players an opportunity to showcase their talent. It just takes one player to lose his man or turn the puck over and then it’s an odd-man rush coming the other way. And when I say “odd-man rush” this even includes the occasional 3 on 0. Changes like this really rejuvenate the game of hockey and keep things interesting, and the following are some of the changes I’d make if I were commissioner of the NHL.
Fans Design Alternate Jerseys
If the fans are the ones putting down $200+ on an authentic jersey, don’t you think maybe they should have a say in what it looks like? Each team should hold an offseason contest where fans submit jersey designs to the team, ownership picks their top 10, and the fans vote on which one they like the most. Whichever one gets the most votes will become that teams 3rd jersey just for that year. The teams would need to do this very early in the off-season in order for Adidas to have adequate time for production, but it’s something that the fans would love.
Continuous 3 on 3, No Shootouts
Shootouts can be fun, but it’s no way to end a hockey game. Think about it: if the teams are tied after 65 minutes, it was probably a pretty hard-fought, competitive game. Games like this shouldn’t be decided by anything other than hockey. Especially with OT now being twice as exciting since we’ve gone to 3 on 3, there’s even more of a reason to keep it going. It was only eight years ago that the Rangers and Flyers went to a shootout in Game 82 that decided each team’s playoff fate, and that’s not how it should be.
Amateur contracts for NCAA players
The NCAA would never give into this, but imagine how cool it’d be if drafted NCAA players could sign unpaid, amateur contracts with their NHL team for up to five games. This would allow players to play in the remaining games for their NHL teams once the NCAA season ends. And since they’re not getting paid, they can keep their amateur status and remain eligible for next year’s collegiate season. Think of it as an unpaid internship with the team that drafted them. Like I said, the NCAA would never allow this to happen. They’ve always been very strict on things like this and are committed to keeping the NCAA entirely amateur. But it would add a ton of excitement to what would’ve been a lot of meaningless late season games.
Not Every NHL Team Should Have to Be Represented at the All-Star Game
This isn’t T-ball. If they’re not good enough, they’re not good enough. Noah Hanifin over Phil Kessel in the Metro? No way. Kessel was 11th in league scoring with 47 points at the time and still got snubbed. Roster spots shouldn’t be taken up with mid-level guys who are the “least bad player” on their team. What about Oliver Ekman- Larsson? The guys a minus-40! The Coyotes are absolute trash and they deserve to be treated as such. It’s the pros. Nobody on their team was good enough for the All-Star game, and that’s the way it is. Let’s make sure they’re all worthy from here on out.
Let them play in the Olympics. Everybody not named Gary Bettman wants to see it happen, including all the players. Just think of all the picturesque moments that we’ve seen at the last few Olympic games. Lundqvist winning the Gold medal, Crosby’s Golden goal, the T.J. Oshie shootout- the list goes on. The NHL tries to talk up the World Cup of Hockey in order to fill the void, but it’ll never be the same. The tournament just has no legacy.
No kid ever went to bed at night dreaming about his World Cup of Hockey gold medal. If you’d ask me, I think the World Cup was completely forced and done almost entirely to soften the blow of the players not being able to play in the Olympics. But unfortunately for Gary Bettman it didn’t work and the fans are still mad- obviously. It goes to show how much more focused the league is on making money than giving the fans and the players what they want.