There was not as much coverage of the annual Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony GM meetings as an obsessed hockey fan would like. Being the quasi-journalist I am, I really wish I could listen in on these types of meetings. It would be beyond interesting to know how these guys get along in a room. The loud, boisterous Brian Burke, and the reserved, controlled Chuck Fletcher. Let me in guys, I promise to only write about the really good parts.
Topics on the table at this meeting were the idea of a coach's challenge, similar to that in the NFL, a social media
crackdown policy, head shots, pre-game trash talk, 3-on-3 overtime, and changes to the NHL All-Star Game. Nothing gets completed at this particular meeting, but the groundwork is laid, discussions continue, and topics are renewed at the next GMs meeting.
Truly, the GM meetings are a good thing. Get them all in a room and discuss what they want to do with the league. Any rules they want to change, however, have to go to the NHLPA and the Board of Governors, and some through a new CBA, so these meetings really are preliminary discussions.
That said, why not have a bit of a discussion about them? Make the jump, will you?
From Puck Daddy, we get a break down of what all was discussed, and where we are at in those discussions. Snipets from Wysh will serve as our back drop for discussion. Let's take this one topic at a time, shall we?
The GMs generally seemed satisfied with the enforcement of Rule 48, which bans lateral hits in which the head is targeted or the principle point of contact.
As am I. However, the refs are also calling non-blind side hits under the rule. Understandable, but it needs to be addressed. A rule that is enforced improperly is often more dangerous than having no rule at all. If the contact comes from the fornt, and the player could have made a play to avoid being hit, that has to be allowed. Tighten up the rule, but keep calling it.
One idea is to play four minutes of 4-on-4, followed by four minutes of 3-on-3, then a shootout -- though that would need to go through collective bargaining.
The whole idea is sickening to me. 3-on-3 hockey? Has anyone out there seen 3-on-3 hockey? It's putrid. The shootout was put in place to end the game with a victor. I don't care for it, but it does what it was intended to do, so why now are they whining about it? Don't like it, get rid of it. The hard core fans don't like it either. Come up with a better idea, rather than just delaying the inevitable.
Pre-Game Trash Talk:
The general feeling is that it's the same small group of players causing problems and that it's not a widespread problem in the NHL.
The fact that it was brought up at this level makes me question the sanity of some of these guys. Daniel Carcillo and Derek Boogaard talk a little trash before the game, and we suddenly need a new rule on the books? Are we to then regulate what the players can say during the game as well? Perhaps the players should just be muzzled and not allowed to speak at all while on the playing surface.
Ah yes, I forgot. NHL players are all eight year olds who cannot handle adult language or situations. Thus the suspension of James Wisniewski.
Such a simple logo. Such massive trouble.
Now we get into the good stuff. For the best quote on this topic, we go to Kevin Allen of the USA Today:
Just like many parents in America, NHL general managers are trying to decide how they feel about the Twittering and Facebook posting that is going on in their house.
"The thoughts are we don't know enough about it," said Buffalo Sabres general manager Darcy Regier.
Echoed the Toronto Maple Leafs' Brian Burke: "I don't even understand it (Twitter), so I don't know how to draft rules. I am lost when we discuss this. We don't have any rules."
They don't know enough about it? They don't understand it? Color me shocked that a group of middle aged, rich, white males would not understand an omnipresent, fast paced, ever-changing manner of communication and networking. Shocked, I say. You guys know about email right? How about color television?
Twitter has been around since 2006, and Facebook since 2004. We're talking an eternity in internet time lines. By the time they have enough information to create their
witch hunt rules, we will all have moved on to something else, and they will once again be left not understanding it and not having enough information.
How about some forethought? If you insist on having rules, which is stupid to begin with, they will need to be so vague that they will be toothless in the long run. Making specific rules for each type of social media will only leave you behind the curve forever. I say, let the players do what they want when they are outside of work, but maybe that's just me.
Anyone else get the feeling that @GMMikeGillis is their attempt at gathering information? This can only end well.
Changes to the All-Star Game:
The basic idea of an All-Star game in a professional league is great. Fans debate who the best is, and dream of a team with nothing but stars steamrolling their rivals and winning all 82 games every season en route to a 25 dynasty of Stanley Cups and riots. Allowing the fans to choose the players has always had mixed results, making it a popularity contest rather than an earned honor. The problems in reality have always outweighed the fun of it all.
An entire weekend is now dedicated to the game in the NHL. A skills competition including a fastest skater contest that doesn't include the fastest skaters in the league, a hardest shot competition that doesn't include the guys with the biggest shots, and goalies that don't participate for fear of injury (an honest concern).
The proposed change would have two captains "draft" their teams, regardless of conference. The captains and players seem to be picked by the NHL, not by the fans, but the format is not fully developed yet. Removing fan participation is choosing the teams is a risky venture. While the fans suck at choosing the right people, the NHL would no doubt blow it even worse.
Let's get to the point, shall we? No one cares. The NHL could make the All-Star game between two teams of nude female models and no one would watch. Wait... yes they would. Never mind. However, there is no way to combine the rosters of the NHL in order to make this an interesting event.
You see, the problem is not in the way the players are arranged on the ice, but rather in the game that is played once they are there. They don't play hockey, they play elementary school level floor hockey on ice. No one plays defense, there are no big hits, the goalies, again, are not going to risk injury to make a huge save.
It is a bunch of super stars out showboating for the NHL brass and the largest corporate sponsors. Fans want to see the best and brightest stars in hockey... play hockey. They want the game they love played by the best in the game. They want to see the dream of a team built through NHL 94 come true. Sponsors want to watch Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin make dazzling passing plays and take shots they would never get a chance to make in a game that counts, all while sipping their $50 mint jubilee and conversing about which hole is more difficult at Agusta, the fiteenth or the ninth.
Fans don't want this game, they want their game. The NHL wants the game as a televised corporate ass-kissing fest. There in-lies the problem. Until the fans outweigh the corporations, the All-Star game will not change, and no one will watch it.
I mean, come on. If you can't get the uber-hockey geeks that write for sites like this one and others to watch this debacle, how the hell do you expect to get your dearly loved "casual fans" to watch it?
Authors note: The last edition of "From My Mom's Basement" led to an entirely new group of people deciding to dislike me. For those who fail to grasp the concept of FMMB, it is a satirical look at a topic. Bitter, sarcastic, downright cruel sometimes. It is built on the belief from many main stream outlets that bloggers write from their mom's basement, and can say anything they want because they have nothing to lose.
In FMMB, I say whatever I want, not because I have nothing to lose, but because, well, because I can. Enjoy it, take offense to it, whatever you so choose. Thanks for reading.