Friday, July 22, 2005

Talking Hockey

Most of you probably are not hockey fans (and I am only a moderate one), but that said, I just wanted to write a brief commentary on the future of the NHL. While the league obviously destroyed its credibility as one of the so-called "4 major sports" with the lockout, it has a chance to become a relatively mainstream sport again quickly because of the nature of the new rules agreed upon by the players and owners and because of a 17-year-old named Sidney Crosby.

Most importantly, the new rules eliminate the red line at center ice (allowing for longer, more exciting passes that will hopefully lead to more offense), limit the size of goalie pads and other equipment (again making it easier to score goals), and add a shootout to a game that is still tied after overtime (this means no more tie games). These rules should lead to an increase in goals that might help bring fans back and make new fans of the game. Americans love lots of scoring in their sports, so this is a step in the right direction.

The other factor that the NHL is very fortunate to have in place when they drop the puck on the 2005-2006 season is their version of LeBron James. Sidney Crosby is the best young hockey player since Mario Lemieux, and as luck would have it, he will be lining up alongside Super Mario next season for the Pittsburgh Penguins (David Stern would have ensured he was playing for the New York Rangers, but this might be second best...besides he could join the Rangers in a few seasons). Crosby absolutely dominated the Canadian Hockey League the past two seasons, recording 120 goals and 183 assists in 121 games. An offensive talent like this will be central to marketing the new-look NHL and ideally will put fans in the stands. You can also be sure that Pittsburgh will be prominently featured in the schedule of nationally televised games.

It will be interesting to see how everything shakes out this summer in the build-up to the season. Although the NHL might never be as popular as it once was, it is good to see that the league is taking steps in the right direction to overcome the disaster that was 2004-2005.

2 comments:

  1. poo into your butt and then you into mine7/22/05, 9:13 PM

    i only like video game hockey.

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  2. scoring is overrated

    ReplyDelete