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The NHL used to be good.


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It wasn't all that long ago that the NHL used to be fun to watch. I randomly pulled up the 84-85 season and every single team averaged at least 3 goals a game. Edmonton averaged 5 goals a game. This year, only two team are averaging 3 goals a game. 4-3 games are so much more fun to watch than all the 2-1 games we get now.

Plus, for some stupid reason, the NHL has tried to eliminate fighting. Smart move there. You could count on one or two fights every game in the past. Now there's hardly any fighting.

The sad part, this is so easy to fix. Make the playing area bigger to open up the ice and make the goalies where smaller pads. Don't penalize fighting so harshly and definitely don't penalize the instigator.

Oh well, the NHL will continue to flush itself down the toilet.

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The Olympic rink is a little bigger than the NHL ice surface.

As a long time hockey fan I’m saddened by the state of the NHL game today. When I was a kid my grandfather was one of the biggest Flyer fans on the planet. I became a hockey fan almost immediately and have followed the sport ever since.

There are a bunch of issues that the NHL is going to have to address if they want to grow their product and make the game more fun to watch. Right now I still have the center ice pass and I watch several games a week but I am in the minority.

The NHL powers that be have long thought that fighting is the root of all evil in hockey and the reason why the sport has not grown more. While I don’t want a “thug league” like some of the minor leagues have become, fighting is an essential part of hockey.

Gretzky was always on TV during his playing days saying that we needed to get rid of fighting in the NHL yet he ALWAYS had an enforcer like McSorley on his team who was assigned to watch his back. It was no different for Bobby Clarke. Bobby was a tough guy himself but if you gave him a cheap shot Dave Shultz was going to punch you in the mouth, so you gave Bobby some space.

Back then you fought because someone had taken a cheap shot or from animosity that had built up in a tough game or series of games. Today you see a fight because a team is behind and they “need a spark”. It takes a lot of emotion out of the game for me. You can almost predict when it’s going to happen, most of the time it’s emotionless.

The neutral zone trap has killed a lot of the speed of the game today but teams have to play that way because quite simply the level of talent on each team isn’t good enough to play any other way. Blame that on expansion.

The NHL also has the same problem as baseball in that they have no salary cap. It’s going to lead to a big lockout at the end of this year. Who knows how that will turn out but I’d guess that there will be some kind of cap put in place. It wouldn’t hurt to have several teams contracted but I can’t see that happening, at least not right away. I hate the fact that Quebec and Winnipeg no longer have teams by the way.

I blame most of this on Commissioner Gary Bettman. He pushed most of the rules against fighting and excessive suspensions for fighting, and the instigator rule that helps take passion out of the game. Bettman also pushed expansion into markets where there was no demand for the sport by the fans in those markets like Nashville and Atlanta. I have other issues with Bettman but I simply don’t want to get into them all. He might be helping some of the owners make money (at least they were) but he is ruining the game.

Rant off.

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A point about Atlanta. I was a season ticket holder for the IHL Atlanta Knights. They would consistently draw 10-12 k per night. They also do very well with the Thrashers. Given the number of northern transplants, the NHL made a good move putting a team there. Now C-bus and Nashville?????

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I wasn’t trying to single any team out. It would be silly of me to blame an expansion team or their fans for the state of the league. I just hate to see the talent on most teams so thin. Most team's 4th line players have no business in NHL IMO.

For the record here is a link to the NHL attendance numbers for the past couple of years.


Detroit, Montreal and Toronto would sell out every night if I were suiting up. In the south Basketball and Football are king. Montreal beat Washington in attendance by more than 200,000 last year and beat Nashville by nearly 300,000.

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