Light at the end of the
6/14/05 - by Steve Flores
Are we going to have hockey in 2005? With the word being reported last
week that the NHLPA and the NHL owners close to agreeing on a salary cap
structure, it would seem that there is some hope of an actual season taking
place. I am trying to temper my elation with the fact that both of these
combatants have been and continue to be so self-centered and clueless that
anything positive could explode in our faces at any given time.
the positive side I am also willing to take the report as a sign that these two
sets of boys might actually have broken through on the single key issue of
cause for the current stalemate. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the
apparent level of agreement continues to build higher levels of common sense
upon the party of both parts.
The other rumors emanating from the
meetings are the possible rules changes that will hopefully be a positive first
step into moving the game itself from the sluggish, defensive , trapping game
that it has become and turn it into the game that I more closely remember from
the early 1980's.
A crackdown on the clutching and grabbing at mid-ice
by defenders and forwards alike has all but destroyed the beauty, speed and
grace of a game that has felt the repercussions most profoundly by the complete
loss of its USA television market. The NHL has lost its ESPN contract and no
amount of NHL spin is going to make that one go away.
I have read and
re-read statements from fans, players and broadcasters who feel that there is
nothing wrong with the game. It drives me crazy to hear this! If any of you
were hockey fans prior to the rise of the grotesque 'zone-trap', then you
remember a style of game that was exciting, upbeat and creative. A game where
the artistry and imagination of highly-skilled players was a thing to behold.
Ticket prices have gone north while goal-scoring and open flow, have
been all but eliminated.
The game needs to be re-tooled.
Sharks coaching staff and management should also be commended for switching
avenues 2 years ago and allowing Ron Wilson to step in and install a more open
and up tempo style of hockey. Wilson knew his roster was youthful and full of
speedy legs and he implemented accordingly. This is no knock on Darryl Sutter
as he is a master tactician who coaches and adapts to the way the game is
currently being played.
The Sharks are better at an open style of game and the
proposed league-wide changes should make them even more dangerous, exciting and
Also on the drawing board of changes is the league's
apparent plan to eliminate the use of tie-games. The league's proposed use of
'shootouts' as a way of resolving a contest has been a fan favorite in other
minor league's in North America and may be implemented for the upcoming season.
I, myself don't care either way but anything that can help inspire fanaticism
is a plus for a sport that is clearly sputtering.
Other possible rule
changes such as non touch-up icing would eliminate senseless and needless
injuries while a more lenient set of rules regarding off-sides would also open
up the ice for the league's more creative and skilled players to excel. Again
the Sharks would stand to benefit as much as any team in the league from all of
On a related issue I am curious as to how many of you
are going to be purchasing season tickets, should the San Jose Sharks take the
ice later this year. I have read and re-read several message boards and it
would appear that many people are going to be right back in the fold. I would
love to hear from those of you that are on either side of the fence.
Contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org
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