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Divisional foolishness
Eliminating interconference games a mistake
2/16/05 - By Paul Krill

The NHL doesn't offer its fans the best deal possible, that's for sure. A couple seasons' back, the league hoisted nets in front of end-of-the-rink seats. Then, in a historic move, a whole season was lost as a result of the lockout.

After all this, one might expect the league to bend over backwards to please fans.

Well, ticket prices are going down. (Yay!) However, the league is severely reducing the number of interconference games and is trying to sell us fans on so-called divisional rivalries. So the NHL is adding more games against divisional teams that we see too much of already at the expense of coveted games against the other conference.

For Sharks fans, this means visits by the Rangers, Flyers, Maple Leafs et al only once every three years. No Sidney Crosby anytime soon, either .Wow, what a bargain this is.

The idea that the resulting less travel will help the Sharks won't hold water: all the other teams will have less travel, too. And light travel sure hasn't helped the New York Rangers any lately, has it? Maybe the possibility of more empty seats at Sharks games might motivate the organization, though.

As for me, I'm kind of in a difficult position here: I can complain with the best of them, but I'm not dumping my tickets. At least not at this juncture.

So I eagerly look forward to the new season and the return of the Sharks. But my pre-season ritual of scanning the schedule in July or August to see when those Eastern Conference teams come in is gone.

Nice way to boost the anticipation, NHL.

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