Despite what we all think is really going on at the NHL general managers' meeting down in Naples, Florida this week, their agenda seems to be pretty tight. They've got a ton of topics on the schedule as compared to previous meetings, so we thought we'd take a look at all of them and decide how we'd come down on each issue.
You know, for when we're general managers of something more important than the ninth-place Penis Machinists in the GT Bob Plager Invitational Fantasy Hockey League.
But first, this is what's really going on in Naples, we're sure of it:
On to the issues, shall we?
It's tragic anytime someone young and innocent dies in a manner that could have been avoided, but that doesn't mean that implementing new rules will necessarily save anyone else's life. How long have hockey players been fighting to protect their teammates and police the game? How many people have died during these altercations?
It's easy to knee-jerk this accident and add rules to change the fabric of the game, just ask the NFL. But that doesn't mean that you've actually reduced the risk to the players. Richard Zednik had his freaking carotid artery cut by a teammate's skate and could have died on the ice. Did any of us think it was time to outlaw skates being worn on the ice?
Fighting is a part of the game and, if regulated correctly, is a way for the players to ensure that the players respect one another. If we're really going to debate fighting in the NHL, we should be talking about removing the instigator penalty from the rulebook.
This league needs fewer rules, not more. Repeal the instigator, mourn the death of this young player properly and let's move on.
Topic Two: How should we regulate hits to the head? Players continue to not properly respect one another and dangerous hits to the head continue to knock players out of the lineup. How should we deal with this?
Um, if I'm not mistaken, we already have the solution to this right in front of us. There are two steps to 'fixing' this:
- Again, repeal the instigator rule and suddenly our players will have to stand up and answer for their actions. Take out the possibility of an add-on penalty and suddenly a guy can drop his gloves, come from halfway across the ice, point out the guy and then, as the NHL Rulebook says, 'inflict punishment on an opponent' in 'retribution for an earlier incident'.
- We already have a system in place for addressing these questionable hits! The league office needs to overhaul their arcane and random system of punishing players who cross the line. I like to call this the 'eye-for-an-eye' suspension system. If Player X injures Player Y with a dirty play, he is suspended for as many games as the injured player misses, plus five games. second infraction: number of games missed plus ten. Third infraction, games missed plus 15. And so on and so forth.
Apply these two rules and the dangerous plays in the NHL will drop off dramatically. Drill a guy from behind into the boards and he misses five games, you miss five more after he plays his first game back.
We guarantee that these cheap shots would drop off dramatically.
As for you, Todd Bertuzzi, you'd be eligible to return to the game about two weeks after Steve Moore makes his comeback.
Topic Three: Should the Zamboni scrape the full ice before the overtime or continue to do just a swath before a shootout?
Seriously? This is an issue that couldn't be handled with an online poll over at NHLGMShit.org? I knew this GM Meetings thing was a boondoggle.
Go ahead and flip a coin for me, I gotta go take a piss.
Topic Four: How should the league deal with players who skip the All-Star Game?
Maybe it's just us, but we always think that public hazing is funny. Anyone voted in or selected for the game but can't participate must do The Elephant Walk across center ice before the puck drop. And just to discourage fake injuries, we mean everyone has to do it.
Would you rather play on a sprained ankle or have video of you on YouTube walking hand-in-crank with your fellow All-Star shirkers.
Topic Five: The Red Wings have suggested a change to the way that the standings tie-breaker is determined. Instead of wins being the first tie breaker, regulation time wins would be the first tie-breaker. Neat, huh? What say you?
The Red Wings guy came up with this, you say? Shocking. Any other great ideas on how to make it harder for fans to track the standings? Maybe want to add another column for games in which the league's precious Red Wings feel like the referees didn't help them enough?
Look up any team's lifetime record right now. It has four freaking columns in it, you idjits. Winning is winning and that's it; doesn't matter if it happened in regulation, overtime or shootout.
Unreal. Is it beer-thirty yet?
Topic Six: Considering changing the rule on a delayed penalty to force the penalized time to clear the defensive zone, as opposed to simply gaining possession, before the whistle is blown.
Wow, how many lawyers were locked in a room and for how long in order to come up with that verbiage?
Honestly, this is a rule we're actually behind, though we should actually take this step further. We've all agreed that we want to have more offense in the league, not less and this change gives the offensive team the opportunity to take advantage of a delayed penalty. Those moments can become some of the most frantic of the game, which is part of the fun for our fans. Let's do it.
But while we're at it, let's talk about teams killing off the entire two minutes of their minor penalties, just like they do for majors. Even if a team scores on the power play, the penalized team stays shorthanded.
Again, the man-add can be some of the most exciting times in our game. Why not maximize that opportunity?
Topic Seven: Considering the use of the 'bear hug' hit into the boards to help prevent injury.
What the fuck are you guys talking about? Did someone open the bar early? Let me guess, someone just won the pot on the 'who can get the most ridiculous topic on the agenda' contest, right? Right?
Don't even start explaining this one. The answer is no.
Topic Eight: Modifying the current icing rule.
We're voting for this one only if it means incorporating some more geometry into the paint behind the endline. The trapezoid is a nice start, but how about some isoceles triangles or rumbuseses, too? No? Fine then.
Actually, we're fine with changing this rule if we're talking about no-touch icing. So few of the races to avoid icing actually end with icing being avoided that it's just not worth it. This probably also speeds the game up a tad and we can stop with all the whining about guys getting injured needlessly as they race back.
Leave in a providion that linesmen can waive off the auto-icing and you've created the opportunity for an aggressive team to win that battle anyway.
Can we speed this up? Getting thirsty over here.
Topic Nine: Should players be allowed to leave their feet to block a shot?
You know, at first we thought this meant that people were jumping up to block shots. Absolutely players are allowed to leave their feet and go down to block shots. We mean, unless of course you 'we should stop all the fighting' types are worried about this one, too.
The NHL is about speed and skill, for sure. But it is equally about guts, determination and sacrifice. Playoff heroes are not just guys who can make a pretty play and score a goal, they are also gritty guys who get in front of shots and who battle in the corner and yes, who lay down and sacrifice their bodies to block shots.
Vote against the further pussification of the game; vote down this proposal.
Topic Ten: Should the league go to minor penalties only being one minute long in overtime?
Great, yet another proposal to confuse the rules and create more what-if situations. Why are we trying so hard to be as silly as the NFL? What happens when a team has a penalty carry over into OT? Is a penalty less damaging because of when it is taken?
A penalty is a penalty is a penalty. Can we please quit screwing with the game? We vote no.
Topic Eleven: Can teams be allowed to retain salary as part of a trade?
Ah, the classic do-over rule. We were wondering at what point the owners and GMs would have to start admitting that they all made a huge mistake with that lockout nightmare. Might as well start now, right?
As long as we can call this the Kevin Lowe Rule in recognition of the GM who has done the most to damage the league's salary structure since the lockout, we'll vote for it.
Still, even with this, good luck getting rid of Dustin Penner, Lowie.
Topic Twelve: Can we discuss hand passes?
No. No we cannot. Look, this has all been, well, it has been all day. Time to go. If you guys want to discuss hand passes for another hour, we'll be at the bar. Or the strip club. Or the Champagne Room of the strip club.
Just put it all in an email for us.