NHL general managers flew across the country to meet in a Toronto Airport hotel the other day and not just because the mineral water was free.
No, their meeting was a precursor to the midseason GM chin-wag where things move at a speed that makes a glacier look like an Indy car.
You put a man in a suit and he becomes more ponderous. Hockey guys have been wearing them since they were seven-years-old with all the attendant results.
The GMs informally endorsed the notion of a revamped all-star game. The idea is the captains will pick the teams, which hasn’t been done since Field of Dreams when Shoeless Joe Jackson excluded Tie Cobb just because he hated his guts.
Stay the course was the message on headshots from the side. The rest of the docket, a coach’s flag like the one thrown in the NFL, an official present to make sure the Sean Averys of the world behave themselves in the pre-game skate, were dismissed. GMs were unnerved by the number of games decided by shootouts but the numbers are back down so they decided to keep their well-manicured hands out of that one.
So, we are left with is a long-hibernating all-star plan and an exhortation to keep up the good work on headshots. As a female friend of mine used to muse: “I shaved my legs for this?”
Not nearly enough if you ask me. Here are some we dreamt up here at Dream-Up Central.
1. The Sean Avery rule. Give him 10 minutes per game – in a steel cage match with the players he slashes and torments. I’m guessing it will take four, five cage matches tops before he gets the idea. Sociologists call it taking ownership of your actions. I call it damned good television.
2. The removal of the trapezoidal zone for something a little more colourful and fun to pronounce. After all, the trapezoidal is no more correct than Oniohyoid, Deltoid or my personal favourite, Sternocleidomastoid. If you want to go in the other direction, we can always call it “that thing behind the net.” I am negotiable on this one.
3. No fighting unless the guys really don’t like each other. Otherwise it’s a business arrangement. This will take some research, but if Colton Orr happens to mention how deeply he hates Chris Neal for stealing his PIN number, we have something.
4. No benching players who make less than $700,000. You want to scratch Ilya Kovalchuk, knock yourself out, but the fourth-line checking winger doesn’t deserve to be dropped because the coach had to do something.
5. Regulate shin pads as you do sticks and should do socks. This shot blocking has got to stop, at least until the Leafs get someone who‘s any good at it. By that criteria we should eliminate snipers. I kid, I kid.
6. Paint player liknesses where the athlete scores most frequently. That sweet spot Steve Stamkos calls home should bear his likeness at home. That way, even fans in the second deck can see what he looks like and where is trying to get.
7. Don’t worry about removing players in the five-minute overtime. Just take a piece of goalie equipment off at the end of regulation and another going into the shootout and it can’t be that chintzy hanging throat guard. Now that’s drama.
8. Give teams three points for a win, two points for an overtime tie, one point for a sellout, two points for a great third jersey, just one for mediocre concessions, nothing if a washroom is found dirty and two if the meal in the press room contains meat. Might was well get this quality control thing going across the board.
9. Get the rink crew shovels that are twice as big as the old ones. This way they only need take to the ice half as often.
10. Finally, outlaw baseball hats during player interviews. Ever see a baseball player wear a hockey helmet in an interview?