Friday, February 15, 2008


I think we are all in agreement that hockey is the greatest sport known to man. I think it is safe to say that we will never see such scandals in our sport as the steroids mess in baseball and the spy-gate fiasco in football. We will never hear about club shootings or as many sex, sexual harassment or gambling scandals as basketball. It is true that hockey is not exempt from scandal, but the level and frequency of such scandals is minimal in comparison to these other sports. I mean really, can anyone picture Congress getting involved in wanting answers for why the brothers Staal party hard or why Ed Belfour is known in every bar in North America? Could you imagine Ovechkin trying to persuade Congress that he really is that good and has no need for illegal enhancements? Sure we had a minor gambling issue that was found to be surrounding other sports, we had an ice girl treated distastefully and a strange purse-snatching incident. We had a poor decision made by a rookie where some odd pictures were taken, but none of that really stacks up to the incident rates of the other sports.

With that said, hockey clearly doesn’t have to worry about such things dragging it’s name through the mud as the other sports have to contend with. Instead, we deal with on ice issues more than off ice. We deal with questionable decision-making and rule interpretations. Borderline brutal hits and a lack of respect among players seem to top the list of issues hockey faces. Are there any reasons as to why hockey seems to stay clear of the types of scandals other sports contend with? Well, I’m sure we can all draw some conclusion to that question and our answers most likely won’t differ too much. Hockey may not get the exposure, air time or respect the other sports get every day, but we can hold our heads high in knowing that we won’t have to go through as much crap as fans of other sports seem to face on a continuous basis.

With that said, there are some things that are bothering me. These things are minute compared to scandals, but bug me nonetheless, so I have to spout off about them due to the fact that I seem to have nothing else to complain about. So enough with the extensive lead in… here are my TOP 10 THINGS THAT BUG ME ABOUT THE NHL…

10. Arbitration – This is an issue that needs to be addressed in the next CBA. It usually ends in a lose – lose situation for both parties

9. No Trade Clauses – I understand the purpose for it, I just hate that it puts the kibosh on what would be interesting trades.

8. Distinct Kicking Motion – Come on, either it’s a goal or it isn’t. The interpretation is too broad and the decisions are mostly poor.

7. Stick Checks Being Called For Slashing – If the stick makes contact with the body then call it slashing, if it makes contact with the opponents stick (even if the stick breaks) let it go already.

6. Four Sets Of Eyes Missing Calls – Just how many officials do we need on the ice and in the way to not even notice cheap shots behind the play?

5. Inept Marketing – The league flat out strikes out when it comes to promoting itself and its stars to the American audience. This needs to improve. Continuous missed opportunities and self inflicted wounds hasn’t worked yet and never will.

4. Unbalanced Schedule – Yes this will be changing, but until it does it will continue to bug me.

3. Not Enough Canadian Teams – Expand in the North not the South. What is so hard to understand about that?

2. The Hideous RBX Jerseys – No one likes them. Admit failure and realize some things don’t need to change.

1. Peter Forsberg, Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer – If you want to retire then retire. If you want to play then play. If you can’t make up your mind or physically can’t get back to form then just sit down and stop wasting everyone’s time. There should be a rule that states that if you are not on an active roster by December 15th then you sit out the rest of the season. Or a rule that states that if you are not on an active roster by the 15th of December than you lose your right to pick and choose what team(s) you want to play for whenever you decide you want to come back. On top of that you have to clear waivers in order to do so. Maybe then your decision will come faster when faced with the prospect of going to a bottom dweller and not a contender.

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