OK GMs, Take A Knee

Bruce Bennett

The boys at the NHL's GM meetings need to listen up to Coach Nikota.

NHL general managers are getting together today in Florida and the unfortunate truth is that they're unlikely to discuss many of the things that the league really needs to change. Moreover, when they do actually hit upon a pertinent topic, it's unlikely that their decision will go the right way.

I'm all for change, but not in the name of change itself, and certainly not for the type of gimmicky modifications that have been brought about since the NHL contracted a crippling case of the dumb and cancelled their 2004-05 season.

In the name of all that is hockey, I have compiled a list of things GMs SHOULD be talking about. Let's just hope they listen up.

Do these things NOW

1) Your playoff structure is asinine. Take the top 8 teams in each conference. The. End. No one cares about divisional winners.

2) The puck-over-the-glass rule is way too stupid. That's gotta go. Make it a subjective call like it used to be. It really wasn't a problem before.

3) That trapezoid behind the net is stupid. That needs to go, too.

4) Just go with no-touch icing. It takes a lot of subjectivity out of calling icing and is pretty unlikely to slow the game much more than it currently is.

5) After 3 fights on the year, a player should get suspended for 10 games. Let's weed out goons and play some hockey. The odd fight is OK, but I'm sick of watching inferior hockey players get ice time because they're happy to play six minutes a night so they can punch someone.

6) GMs will probably never do this, but they should bring back the tie game. Go to a 10-minute 4-on-4 OT if you want, but get rid of the shootout. Gimmicky.

7) If you as a group of individuals have any brains, you will rake Gary Bettman over the coals over his bogus decision to award Lou Lamoriello and the New Jersey Devils a pity pick.

A few other suggestions

1) I'd like to see the blue lines moved back to their original positions. When defenceman don't have to back off early to prevent stretch passes, the whole flow of the game changes.

2) Offer refs a subjective call for delay of game if players pull the deliberately-kicked-out-of-a-faceoff thing in order to buy more time after an icing. It's annoying.

3) If players are allowed fight, keeping the helmets on seems like a silly rule. Either allow them to beat each other in the head or don't.

4) Goalie equipment could probably still be a lot smaller.

5) If GMs really love the shootout enough to keep it around, the league should go to a 3-point system. 3 points for a regulation win, 2 for an OT/SO win, 1 for an OT/SO loss, and 0 for a regulation loss. Yeah yeah, it won't keep so many teams in the playoff hunt, but who cares? No one wants to watch your stupid Islanders, anyway.

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