Top 10 Things Wrong With The NHL

Steve McSween@dansallowsSenior Analyst IOctober 17, 2009

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 12:  John Mitchell #39 of the Toronto Maple Leafs plays the puck away from Michael Del Zotto #4 of the New York Rangers during their NHL game at Madison Square Garden on October 12, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Growing up playing hockey, I could never understand why the game wasn't more popular south of the border.

If you go to any Rangers or Red Wings game the fans will tell you differently, but the fact is the NHL isn't on many Americans radar.

In the tradition of getting a rise outta readers I decided to compose a list of 10 things I feel are wrong with the "Coolest Game on Earth," in no particular order.

10. The Throwback Jersey's Should Just Be "The Jersey"

Okay, is it just me or do the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Buffalo Sabres "throwback jerseys" look alot sharper than their new ones?

And what's with the Vancouver Canucks' blue and green with a whale? I liked it the first time when it was called the Harftford Whalers. Too bad there aren't whales in Carolina, their symbol looks like a Franz Kline painting.

At least the New York Islanders have got it right—hopefully more teams jump on board.

9. Gary Bettman

Are there not any knowledgeable hockey fans who have a law and business degree out there?

Everytime this guy comes out to hand over the Stanley Cup, I can't help but thinking it's like watching INXS with a new lead singer: it just doesn't work.

8. The No-Trade Clause Loophole

I don't mind when a player gets a "no-trade clause" put in his contract, but when that player demands a trade he shouldn't be given the right to reject it.

Dany Heatley should have been an Oiler, but after Milan Michalek's performance the other night I'm sure Sens' fans ain't complainin'.

7. The Salary Cap

Anyone who watched the Calgary Flames' last game of the 2008-09 season will know that the salary cap isn't working.

The Flames got hit with a rash of injuries and, facing cap issues, could only dress three lines for the game. It was just embarrassing.

6. NHL Players at the Olympics

Sorry Ovechkin and Malkin, but the Olympic break just makes for a more compressed schedule, which means more tired and injured players over the long haul.

As a Canadian fan, I like when the best in the world come together. But why not resurect the Canada Cup tournament every four years then?

Besides, the Canadian team won two silver medals the last time the NHL wasn't involved, and no American fan can argue the "Miracle on Ice" wasn't one of the most amazing victories in team sports.

Let the non-pros play.

5. The Overtime Loss Point

In no other sport does a team lose and gain a point.

All this does is create a league where everyone is over .500, which to me ruins the entire meaning of watching pro sports.

It's like having an happy ending everytime you watch a movie.

Besides, it divides the true hockey fan from the fake one—the Leafs and Habs will sell out regardless if their teams stink.

It's only a matter of time before they get good once again.

4. The Shoot-Out

Okay, so you like to see the breakaway.

Since eliminating the two-line pass rule there have been a few more, and every time a player is tripped or hooked up on a play that was going to be a breakway, it should be an automatic penalty shot.

So why do we need to watch this decide a game in the regular season?

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and it has ties.

If you are one of these people who absolutely needs to see a winner at the end of a hockey game or you won't be happy, maybe you should be watching re-runs of The Partridge Family instead.

3. The Instigating Rule

Generally, fans stand at games for two reasons...the anthem, and a fight!

Since the instigating rule came into effect, the players definitely don't play with the same respect they had in the 80s—where if you did hit a player like Wayne Gretzky, you may not only get beat down by Dave Semenko, you also may never play another shift or game in the NHL...see Bill McCreary.

Can you imagine what Sidney Crosby could do if he wasn't getting run every shift?

2. Not Enough Canadian Teams

In my eyes there should be a team in Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Hamilton, and Quebec, as Canada is still the NHL's bread and butter.

With a league that still toys with the notion of putting a team in Las Vegas, it isn't any wonder they move teams from Winnipeg to Phoenix.

Another reason to get rid of Bettman and the powers that be I suppose, as they are about as good at running the NHL as Star Jones would be at running a marathon.

I could write an entire article devoted to the reasons for Canadian expansion, but I'm sure it be all too obvious. Besides, most of my time is spent wondering why Jennifer Aniston can't keep a boyfriend.

1. Too Many Penalties/Power Plays

I like most of the clutching and grabbing rules, but it makes players dive or drop their sticks as soon as they feel the slightest touch, which makes for a ton of penalties and, in turn, a ton of power plays that slow down the pace of the game considerably.

Let's face it, the best hockey periods are played in the playoffs in overtime, when the refs put their whistles away unless there is something blatant.


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