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Weekend FTB: Let’s make hockey a better sport

There’s nothing else to do right now.

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Eastern Conference Semifinals - Philadelphia 76ers v Toronto Raptors Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images

People like to complain that there are parts of hockey they don’t like. From the way the league calls penalties or suspensions, to the lack of exciting trades, and so on.

So, I’m going to come up with a plan to make hockey better so everyone will be happy.

First, let’s talk about those penalties. The refs never call the rulebook, or when they do it’s based on some arbitrary amount the league wants so there aren’t too many powerplays. So, first step is we make refs call all penalties, even the most minor thing. The smallest slash, the tiniest hook, the most innocent of holds, and so on.

But we don’t want the game to be all powerplays, so the guy that drew the penalty gets to take a penalty shot. Goal or no goal, happens right away, back to the normal play. This has the added benefit of getting rid of powerplays, so we won’t deal with boring guys that are only good for penalty kills, and all hockey is just played at the same state, the same systems, and so on.

Next, headshots are a touchy subject. The league is facing a lawsuit, and we are learning more and more about how serious they are and how smaller micro-concussions that build up is the serious part. So, no more headshots and no tolerance for it. Period. So take the penalty shot idea, and give the team that drew the penalty TWO penalty shots, hell maybe even three. In fact, ban all checking altogether. You can have good, exciting and still sorta physical hockey without checking, just look at the Olympics.

Now, let’s deal with things like trades. They never happen in hockey, and that’s boring. So we’re going to do some things... we’re going to cap contracts at 5 years, since that seems to be what young RFAs want at the most now anyways, and the league apparently wants it too. But we’re also going to replace the hard cap with a luxury tax that acts as a soft cap.

We’re going to encourage players to want to play for big markets and superteams full of other stars, so we get ridiculous quality hockey in the playoffs and championship round. To make sure we still focus on skill and get rid of more low talent guys, we’re going to cap rosters at 15 players, where stars play most of the game. That’s what we all want with guys like Matthews and Tavares, right? Them to play 90% of the game?

Next, let’s space out play some more. No more bluelines for off-sides. There’s the centre line and that’s it, once you cross it you can go wherever you want between it and behind the other team’s net. But let’s not get too crazy, so let’s say you can’t carry it back into your own side of the centre line.

With all that space, defenses might just clog up the middle of the ice in front of their own net, guard the high danger shot spaces. So we’re going to add a line just outside the high danger area, and any shot that goes into the net past that line counts for two goals instead of one. In fact, some games are already trying it.

I know what you’re going to say next, well that will make teams try long distance shots that have little chance of going in. Point shots that hit a defender’s shin pads isn’t exciting. Ah, you raise a good point, so we’re also going to get rid of goalies. This also solves the “goalie is voodoo” bullshit so a team that has the skill for possessing the puck and shooting talent will be better able to win, rather than a team that focuses on defending and having a hot goalie. It also creates more goals, something we all know the league wants.

But, with such a big net, not having a goalie might make it too easy to score goals. So we’re going to make the net smaller so players have to be more accurate with their shot. In fact, let’s raise the net off the ice so players have to be very precise with their shooting.

Now, let’s deal with the elephant in the room... hockey is too damn expensive. We need to make it easier for people to afford it, and it’s just too dangerous to have people wielding metal blades on their feet and other equipment to keep them safe. So we’re going to do two things: 1) remove ice from hockey, so it is played on a normal hard floor, like hardwood or something. 2) no more skates, no more padding or sticks — we abolished hitting altogether after all, and without the speed and danger of skating on ice you don’t really need it. No equipment means no $200 sticks and $1000 equipment. Boom, now kids can afford it and you can play it almost anywhere.

Without padding that makes having a hard puck not ideal. So we’re going to make it more safe by making it a ball that the kids have to throw into the net. Let’s make it a bright orange ball, in fact. That’s a good colour, and make it a bit bigger than the size of a puck so it’s easier to handle, steal and shoot.

There you go, guys. All of your complaints are solved! Hockey is now the best sport in the world. In honour of the new rules, we’ll even rename it to.... basketball!

ONTO THE LINKS

Recapping this week’s Maple Leafs T25U25:

Maple Leafs are heading to Paradise for training camp | by Katya

How Kevin Gravel overcame illness to keep NHL dream alive with Leafs | by Hailey Salvian at The Athletic

Elliotte Friedman on Mitch Marner negotiations | Transcript by MLHS

Auston Matthews wants to be the captain. It’s time for the Leafs to let him wear the ‘C’ | by Ryan Fancey at TLN

Capitals’ Kuznetsov suspended four years by IIHF after positive cocaine test | by Sportsnet

PK Subban gets engaged to Lindsey Vonn | by TSN.ca