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Now that hockey is back I feel like pontificating on how we could make the game better. In your opinion, what changes or tweaks would improve the game?

I have several ideas but I'll start with two:

1) Division winners should not be guaranteed a top 3 playoff seeding, just a playoff spot.

2) If we're sticking with this conference layout for now then I think the top 3 teams in each conference should be able to choose their first round playoff opponent. First place chooses their preferred opponent in the bottom 4, followed by second and third place. I think it will make the regular season a little more meaningful.

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They have the same problem in the NFL with the Wildcard week. You'll have a division champ with an 8-8 or 9-7 record host a Wildcard team that had 10 or 11 wins because they finished second in a stronger division.

A few years ago A New Orleans Saints(which were the defending champs at the time) had to travel to Seattle and lost to a 7-9 team.

It's not a huge deal. You should get something for winning your division even if it's a week division. The Florida Panthers won the Southeast last year and still lost to the 6th seeded Devils. A better team will still win.

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Now that hockey is back I feel like pontificating on how we could make the game better. In your opinion, what changes or tweaks would improve the game?

I have several ideas but I'll start with two:

1) Division winners should not be guaranteed a top 3 playoff seeding, just a playoff spot.

2) If we're sticking with this conference layout for now then I think the top 3 teams in each conference should be able to choose their first round playoff opponent. First place chooses their preferred opponent in the bottom 4, followed by second and third place. I think it will make the regular season a little more meaningful.

What exactly is wrong with the current system that it requires tweaking?

But if we're playing this game, I say end the conference set up and seed the teams 1-16.

Another interesting wrinkle would be to have some of the non-playoff teams play off each other for draft position.

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Another interesting wrinkle would be to have some of the non-playoff teams play off each other for draft position.

The NHL has a lottery so you can't tank the season and ensure you get the first pick like in the NFL. If a team finishes last it should get a chance at a better pick so they can improve. It's all part of the communism that is professional sports.

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The NHL has a lottery so you can't tank the season and ensure you get the first pick like in the NFL.

Bah ha. The Oilers basically tanked for the top pick two years in a row. And got a third top pick for being horrid for good measure.

If a team finishes last it should get a chance at a better pick so they can improve. It's all part of the communism that is professional sports.

Sounds like the new CBA is seeing them change to a weighted lottery system for all non-playoff teams instead of just the bottom five.

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How about the officiating? They've been going back and forth the last couple of years on calling games tighter in regards to hooking, interference, etc., and then by February they let much more go as they head into the playoffs.

I'd like to know what they'll do this year with the shortened season and the higher percentage chance of injuries that a shorter pre season will bring. Calling it tighter will help the injury situation at least.

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I like your first suggestion, but not your 2nd.

Get rid of 4 shitty teams would make the league much better for fans.

2 or 3 teams could be moved to Canada and thrive, but Gary Bettman isn't concerned with Canada, he wants this league to be embraced in the US like the other 3 major sports leages. It just won't happen though. The League still owns the Coyotes. That team made the conference finals last year. As a frustrated Leafs that really wanted to see an alternative in Hamilton that offends me.

The new CBA has $200 million in revenue sharing that 10 teams can spit. That's $20 extra million for the crappy teams they can use to hit the minimum salary of like $40 million.

In Baseball there are teams that draw flies but still make money because of revenue sharing. They don't have a minimum salary though.

Edited by Boges
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2 or 3 teams could be moved to Canada and thrive, but Gary Bettman isn't concerned with Canada, he wants this league to be embraced in the US like the other 3 major sports leages. It just won't happen though.

Actually that's wrong. It is embraced in cold-weather cities such as New York and Boston.
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Actually that's wrong. It is embraced in cold-weather cities such as New York and Boston.

Well those aren't the teams we're talking about.

I guess I should have said "South"

You got 3 teams in California, a team in Arizona that the league owns, a moderately successful team in Texas and two Florida teams that don't draw well even though they're both somewhat successful on the ice. You also have teams like Columbus and Nashville that are in a grey area. Oh and the New York Islanders are in bad shape, they're actually moving from their suburban New York arena to Brooklyn where the Nets play now.

Edited by Boges
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I agree, every other sport follows the same rules in the playoffs. The NHL becomes a different sport entirely.

Yeah, it's kind of bizarre. Teams build for a fast game with little interference, then the playoffs come and all the hooking, grabbing and rougher play that used to be penalized. I think it has Betman's fingerprints all over it.

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The game would be better if the NHL would take effective steps to eliminate fighting.

I like the spectacle of hockey fights, but I agree they shouldn't be part of the game. By accepting fights, we allow something outside the rules of the game to be a regular contributing factor to it.

Imagine Lebron beating the crap of Kobe just to pump up his team. Then having him play again in 5 minutes and announcers commenting on how the well timed attack will be a good boost for the Heat. Seems ridiculous.

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Get rid of 4 shitty teams would make the league much better for fans.

Why? Getting rid of 4 unsupported franchises would make the profits better for existing owners and improve the financial health of the league. However, a league without the Coyotes or Blue Jackets wouldn't make a difference to my enjoyment of the game.

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Yeah, it's kind of bizarre. Teams build for a fast game with little interference, then the playoffs come and all the hooking, grabbing and rougher play that used to be penalized. I think it has Betman's fingerprints all over it.

Betman is responsible for improving the speed of the game in the first place. Well, the league and GM's during Betman's time at least. Gary himself is just the owner rep, he personally should receive little direct credit or blame.
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Why? Getting rid of 4 unsupported franchises would make the profits better for existing owners and improve the financial health of the league. However, a league without the Coyotes or Blue Jackets wouldn't make a difference to my enjoyment of the game.

I dunno: not having to watch the Blue Jackets would significantly enhance my enjoyment of the game.

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Why? Getting rid of 4 unsupported franchises would make the profits better for existing owners and improve the financial health of the league. However, a league without the Coyotes or Blue Jackets wouldn't make a difference to my enjoyment of the game.

Actually, it probably would... The players on those teams woudl end up playing for other teams in the league. While not all of the players are 'stars', having more talent concentrated among fewer teams will raise the average quality of players, and by extension play. (By a small amount admittedly, but it would still go up.)

Plus, with fewer teams in the league, you'd have more chances to see 'star' players from other teams. (The more teams in the league, the fewer times each team plays the other teams. Imagine being a hockey fan in the 80s, and not seeing Gretzky play live because the league added more teams so the Oilers never get a chance to visit your city.)

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Oh and the New York Islanders are in bad shape, they're actually moving from their suburban New York arena to Brooklyn where the Nets play now.

Expect the Islanders' attendance to be quite good in Brooklyn. The Nassau Coliseum is a grim arena in a grimy area. Brooklyn is far better on both counts and has excellent mass transit. Uniondale, Long Island is deficient in mass transit and the highways out there bear close resemblance to parking lots.
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