What Needs to be Changed in the NHL

Sixty Feet, Six Inches Correspondent IFebruary 28, 2009

Hockey has always been my favorite sport, in fact, hockey was the second word I ever said. The NHL has made a lot of improvements since the canceled season, but still more could be done.

Here's what I think should be changed in the NHL:

1) Bring back the tradition

Enough of this East and West bullshit. I want the Campbell Conference and the (Prince of) Wales Conference back.

Division winners should be hanging banners reading "Patrick", "Smythe", "Adams" or "Norris", not "Atlantic", "Northeast", "Southeast", "Central", "Northwest", or "Pacific". I may have been six when they changed over to the abominations they are now, but this another one of the NHL's brilliant moves under Bettman's watch.

The changes were made to help bring in more fans and make it more understandable to people just starting to follow hockey. What they actually did though, was kill a longstanding historic part of the league.

Would you ask the AL and the NL to change names to make it easier for new baseball fans? I'm aware that these conferences were already aligned east/west, and the National and American leagues are not east/west configured, but it's the principally the same thing.

2) More Teams in Hockey Cities

I'll never advocate for a team to move, that's not fair to the fans of those teams. Sometimes, comments like that actually hurt. Yet, does it make any sense to anyone with a brain, (for those following along at home, that anyone other than Bettman) that Phoenix, or Miami have teams while cities like Winnipeg or Hamilton, ON don't?

Canada is hockey's hotbed. Six teams are not enough. I think I would weep from sheer joy if Hartford got a team again.

3) Get a Better TV Deal

I know that Versus is paying tons of money to broadcast NHL games. Here's the problem, NO ONE CAN SEE THEM!

I know here in the Indy area we have two cable providers and you have to have digital cable to get those channels. ESPN, sigh, may offer the NHL less money, but at least they get more viewers and that can always generate interest.

4) Fire Bettman

Seriously, I'm not even going into this. He makes Bud Selig look like he knows what he's doing. He doesn't care for our traditions, he pushed for expansion into hockey's no man's land and he signs idiotic TV deals that take hockey from one of the four major American sports to something that's a lead in to skiing competitions on NBC.

I know there's more that can be changed and should be changed, and I could go on, but it is at this point I want to stimulate conversation. Leave comments, let's discuss what needs to be fixed. Maybe you have some better ideas than I.

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