Why Do I Have to Solve the NHL's Problems?

Greg FearCorrespondent IMarch 16, 2008

Another season since the lockout, and once again scoring is down.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. Actually, I find the games this year a little more exciting than last year. Yeah, I like to see the highlight reel goals just as much as the next guy. However, I love to see the stellar saves too.
But that's not why I am writing this note.
The media and the so-called 'hockey experts', who, not for nothing, have probably never played the game, or even laced up a pair of skates for that matter, seem to think that because scoring is down and the fights are up, that that means the game has gotten bad for the fans.
Okay, maybe the fights are up. I'll get to that problem later.
As for the scoring problem, well, I might have a couple of ideas that will work. For starters, I would reduce the number of teams from 30 to 26. I would relocate four others. Now it's not my place to say who to cut and who to move, but I can give you the eight teams to consider.
—Florida Panthers
—Tampa Bay Lightning
—Atlanta Thrashers
—Nashville Predators
—Carolina Hurricanes
—Washington Capitals
—Phoenix Coyotes
—New Jersey Devils (relocate)
Reducing the league to 26 teams would help get rid of some of the borderline players and add more skill to the rest of the league.
Next, I would reduce the size of the goalie equipment back to the dimensions of the 1980's. Right now the leg pads are waaaaayyyy too long. There is no need for 44 inch pads, especially when the crossbar is only 48 inches off the ice.
Bringing them back to 1980's levels won't hurt the goaltenders protection-wise. I don't seem to remember too many getting injured by shots back then either. This would also open up more holes for the shooters.
One thing that might reduce the number of fights and increase scoring at the some time is the way fighting majors are penalized. Right now, if two players start shoving at each other, they are each put in the box for two minutes and the result on the ice is four on four for two minutes.
Wheras, if said players start chucking the knuckles, they are sent off for five minutes each, meanwhile it remains five on five on the ice. I say make it four on four for those five minutes.
Look at how fast paced overtime is. Four on four makes for more room, and therefore more chances to create offence. This may also help reduce fighting by the coaches of the teams who may give up a few too many four on four goals, telling their more prolific pugilists not to fight unless absolutley necessary.
The media also says that there is no respect left in the game anymore. As hard as it is to believe, I completely agree.
One way to help reduce the disrespect in the league is to get rid of the instigator penalty. Let the players police themselves. If there is a player who is in need of a beatdown because he is giving the star player cheapshots and not getting penalized for it, let the teams enforcer take care of him. They may think twice before dissing other players. Which may just create more space out there.
Remember the '80's Oilers? The top line was Jari Kurri (skill player), Wayne Gretzky (duh), and Dave Semenko(enforcer). No one dared touch Gretzky simply out of fear of Semenko. If memory serves me correctly, they were a half decent offensive team.
Another problem I have is with suspensions. Not that they are getting suspended, not even the length. No, my problem is with the inconsistency of them.
If you have a player the talent level of Jesse Boulerice that does something that warrants a 25 game suspension, shouldn't the same offense by someone the talent of Sidney Crosby or Vincent Lecavalier be worth the same length of time.
I'm sick and tired of acts that are worth 25-30 games for one player only worth three to five games for an elite player. That's what I think anyway.