Postgame Spread
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Friday, July 22, 2005

NHL Rules Changes    

For the most part, I'm in enormous favor of the incoming rules changes for this season.  But there are a couple that irritate me.  To summarize, the rumored changes will be as follows:
  1. No more red line (i.e. two-line pass eliminated)
  2. Tag-up offsides (no immediate whistle to break up play)
  3. 4-on-4 OT will now be followed by 3-on-3 OT, which will then be followed by a shootout
  4. No points for an overtime loss (more unlikely than the others)
  5. Enormous-ass goalie pads illegal
  6. No-touch icing (once it's past the goal line, it's whistled, hence less of the clock is spent on meaningless touch-ups)
  7. Icing to be called on the penalty kill
  8. No-tolerance policy (coughBULLSHITcough) on obstruction (coughBULLSHITcoughcough) and holding (coughBULLSHIT)
  9. Instigators in the final minutes get an automatic match penalty
I like that they've promised to crack down on obstruction, but I'll believe thaht when me shit toarns poarpull, ahn smells like rainbow shaerbaert.  Ain't gonna happen.  Especially come playoff-time, also known as the obstructionist's breeding period.

The thing that gets me, though, is the shootout.  I like the addition of 3-on-3 to the existing 4-on-4, but enough with the shootout crapola.  Ties are a part of hockey.  They're a critical part of the most popular sport on the goddamn planet.  When will people stop giving us Americans preferential treatment, as if we're incapable of getting with the program?  This is precisely the kind of lesson that most Americans need to learn... it's not just about winning and losing.  Just because people haven't accepted it doesn't mean they're right.  There's a beauty to hockey (and soccer, for that matter) that rises above the game's outcome, and people should recognize that.  But abandoning my romantic interest in hockey, we can look at the obvious: if two teams play equally magnificently, and it's not the playoffs, why should one team come away with more points than the other?  They played to a draw, they are equals, so let it be.  Is it such a terrible outcome that we need to avoid it by staging some phoney-baloney skills contest?  It's not like it'd be in any way related to the quality of the game that preceded it, so you're only screwing over one of the teams this way.  It's no different than having a field goal contest to decide a hockey game, a home run derby to decide a baseball game, or allowing a game of HORSE to decide a basketball game.  It's just embarrassing.

But that doesn't mean I won't suck it up... if the Caps lower their ticket prices.  The players I want to see just took a 24% pay cut... shouldn't ticket prices be reduced in line with that?  If they don't reach out to the DC fan base, who are already fairly indifferent towards them, they're in deep caca.

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