While the GMs discuss more ways they can trick up the game, (in hopes of saving Bettman’s bacon?) we are perhaps provoked to ask, “Where is this increase in the fan base they keep striving for?”
Handcuffing the goaltenders with smaller pads, bigger nets, and restricted puck playing areas was supposed to increase scoring in the league and thereby increase the appeal of the game.
Eliminating ties and moving to the shootout was supposed to make the game more exciting and make it more appealing to fringe fans.
Playing four on four in overtime was supposed to speed up the game and make the sport more accessible to even more potential fans.
Here in Dallas, the Stars have lowered some ticket prices to half and it seems obvious that this has done more for the popularity of the game than all of the other shenanigans Bettman and the boys have proposed.
Has the salary cap stopped teams from overpaying certain players and driving up operating costs?
In light of a recent Forbes survey that indicates the Toronto Maple Leafs are the most valuable NHL franchise, and that all Original Six teams are firmly in the top seven spots…AND, that Phoenix is at the bottom of the list when it comes to franchise value, let’s briefly think about the success of the initiatives under the Bettman regime.
Now that we’ve wasted a nano-second, let’s consider some other things Bettman might be pondering to increase the popularity of the NHL:
· Go to a Survivor format: Between each period the team “votes off” 5 players
· Allowing costumes instead of uniforms—think the Atlanta Spider-Men/Columbus Vampires
· Two words: Celebrity Goalies
· Naked Ice Girls
· Allow extra style points for creative goals
· Shorten the season to 16 games and quadruple the price of tickets
· Give Puerto Rico a franchise
· Move Edmonton’s franchise to Mississippi
· Change puck to soccer ball
· Turn the lights out for 30 seconds (every five minutes) during play—this will save on power and create interesting confusion on the ice
· Implement field goal posts and have shooter try for “extra point” after a goal
· Full game music soundtrack
· Demolition Zamboni’s between second & third period
Remember folks, we’re talking Bettman here.