There comes a time near the 20 some odd games into the season mark where we fans hit a lull. Games are not as intense as they were the first month. Points are either in the bank positively or not as much as other teams. Nevertheless, we like to talk hockey just because of the fact that it’s hockey season, and that’s what we do. Let’s maybe change it up.
An outlook on the rest of the season is almost clear. We have a good indication of who is going to be at the top of the standings as well as the cellar for the most part. There are teams that will be near the Wild Card spots who do not know their playoff fate. Regardless, most teams have something to play for more or less at this stage of the regular season.
Knowing that my team will almost certainly be in the playoffs, just having to improve every day in preparation for the postseason, my mind wonders. I brush up on the other leagues to see how they’re doing while keeping focus on my club’s game days.
82 games is a very large number. Two months of postseason play is a very long time period. If you don’t make the playoffs or lose in the first round, it’s an eternity without hockey. I have been in all areas of this spectrum. Every time I hear potential ideas to make leagues better and even more entertaining, I listen.
The Lebron argument
LeBron James plays in a conference in the NBA where he knows he has the superior team. His goal until mid-April is almost always to keep his team loose in knowing this, as well as create stories for the media. He likes to have fun now, then be all business later. The way the NBA is set up has the league’s most dominant player knowing for sure that he will be back in the NBA Finals again. This has happened the last seven seasons.
NBA fans that are “anti-LeBron” are bored of this situation. So, what does the NBA commissioner do? NBA analyst Jalen Rose has been vouching for ‘open seeding for years.’ Forget the conferences and simply have the best 16 teams.
The same teams have been in the finals the last three years. Increase the parity, where there is seemingly none, and maybe do this in the NHL as well. It is 2017 (soon to be 2018) where traveling is not an issue. The NHL has the most parity by far, therefore open seeding could create ultra competitive and even more entertaining hockey.
Arguments for who deserves to be at the dance in mid-April would go away. Superstars would be seen evenly throughout North America. The integrity of the game would be enhanced wholeheartedly. The two best and most deserving teams most likely would be competing for the Stanley Cup every year. For these reasons, all sports should do this.
Trust The Process??
Sticking with the NBA evidence, the 76ers have tanked the last few seasons to ensure No. 1 picks. They are now a competitive basketball team and will be beaten before or after they play Cleveland in the playoffs. However, the league wants to end tanking even though most believe it is impossible. I on the other hand have some thoughts.
What if there was a losers’ bracket? It would be a bracket for all the non-playoff teams. The winner of this bracket would receive the first overall pick. The rest of the first half of the first round would follow based on how everyone would finish. It may not be seen as doable, but I would beg to differ.
TV runs the world as I have been told. TV rights generate the bulk of each of the major sports’ revenue. Every one of the national networks would kill for each playoff series to go seven games. So what if there was just an excess amount of playoff series going on? I don’t know if that’s possible. It’s just one of the thoughts I have at this point in the NHL season.
Herm Edwards told us “you play to win the game.” So, let’s make that cliche the truest saying in sports. In a long and unbearable season, teams will say “let’s just win one for the fans” or “let’s play for the draft” and lose. Take those sayings and throw them out the window, so Edmonton doesn’t have four tries to get it right at the draft. Everyone in pro sports are considered the best in the world at what they do, so let’s always play for something.
Back To Hockey
I have absolutely no problems with the game of hockey at this point. My team is at the top of the standings seemingly every year. Even if they weren’t, I’d still go see them play.
However, I feel for teams like Arizona who have young talent, but are a team simply playing for jobs. It sucks they are 28th in league attendance. As a fan, you care about your organization above all else, but if you are a hockey purist, you want to see every team at their best.
This creates rivalries, entertainment value and revenue for a league that is four out of four compared to the other leagues in that regard. I despise every hockey club that is not my own, but some teams are just harmless, and I don’t get up as much for certain games.
When the Arizona Coyotes come to my hometown on a Tuesday night, I’m not excruciatingly excited. Is this similar to why my team plays down to their level those nights? The last time we played the Yotes, we squeaked out a shootout win in a surprisingly intense game.
I’m ready to battle every single night, but I’m not sure about the league itself. Let’s battle.
Featured image from The Movie Scene
“From Our Haus to Yours”