Sean McIndoe wrote a piece yesterday for Grantland about how he would fix the NHL. It’s a loaded question, so no doubt it’s a loaded article. McIndoe “fixed” the NHL under a few realistic guidelines based on what definitely won’t be happening, like Gary Bettman leaving anytime soon, the NHL contracting teams, etc.
I was going to layout this reaction article under the “what I do like/what I don’t like” gimmick, but then I realized that McIndoe doesn’t put forth an idea that I definitely don’t like. Instead, I’ll just post my thoughts about the ideas I liked most. Here we go:
Kill the loser point
This really needs no explanation. It is beyond insane that any team that loses a game is rewarded for it. In 2012, the Florida Panthers won the Southeast division despite having less wins than Washington… Wat?
McIndoe detests shootouts, as do I, but he makes a compromise and suggests killing the loser point and making overtime 10 minutes long. McIndoe would really just rather bring ties back, as would I. I don’t understand fans who react with such vitriol about bringing ties back… Do they not view shootouts as a glorified tie? Because they should. Shootouts don’t determine winners and losers, they’re just the NHL’s lame way of giving a cookie to the fans who turn their noses up at spending money to watch a game end in a tie. The NHL need not worry about these casual fans. Kill the loser point, kill the shootout.
McIndoe nails this one with the common suggestion that the puck-over-the-glass situation should be viewed as an icing. No penalty, no line change for the offending team, face-off in the offending team’s zone. This solution is almost too obvious.
The Diving Problem
This one is really tricky, but McIndoe makes a few good points that would help curb the diving problem. Firstly, he suggests to eliminate the coincidental/double minor thing, which he rightly calls a cop-out. Putting higher emphasis on the dive call by having a dive negate the original penalty will result in less diving. Agreed.
McIndoe also suggests that the refs start making these calls based on reputation, since he believes they already do. I agree with the latter point, but I think the former point opens up too much of a pandora’s box. The verbal war on diving is already bad enough; I think this would only fan the flames.
McIndoe also makes an interesting observation that the NFL’s culture mocks diving enough where it eliminates the problem. I disagree, not about the NFL’s culture necessarily, but the tactical nature of diving in football. If you have the ball, diving (thus downing yourself, assuming you’ve been touched,) will only hurt your team, because you won’t be able to gain more yards, so it doesn’t happen. Secondly, diving in a scenario such as wide receivers diving to draw a pass interference penalty happens all the time, despite the commentator ridicule. So, in all, I’m not sure this is the right comparison.
The Tanking Problem
This is perhaps the most interesting idea in McIndoe’s article. He uses an idea that Adam Gold proposed at 2012’s Sloan Conference. The idea is simple and brilliant: draft position is determined by whoever earns the most points AFTER being eliminated from the playoffs. This puts an emphasis back on winning in order to improve your franchise, rather than the current opposite. Great stuff.
No more “upper/lower body” injuries
I change my mind, this is the one idea that I definitely don’t like. I think it’s hilarious that these are the only two injuries that exist in hockey, especially when compared to other sport leagues. I don’t think it’s a right of the press/fans to know exactly what’s going on with player X’s injury. As long as the team doctors know what’s wrong, and they do, that’s all that needs to happen. I like that hockey slaps the “age of information” across the face on this one. Everyone needs to cool it. It’s macho. It’s hockey.
McIndoe dives deeply into other big issues like fighting and whatnot, but the last thing I want to touch on is his funniest point, so I’ll just quote him directly.
Get rid of the referee microphones
They don’t work. They’ve never worked. And more importantly, having a referee turn and dramatically point to center ice on a disputed goal was way more fun than listening to him stumble through a contrived explanation.
Bravo, Sean, Bravo. I’d vote for you to succeed Bettman in a heartbeat.