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Ulmer Offers Some Changes To The Game

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Occasionally, people ask what I would do if I ran the Maple Leafs.

I would put some bigger names on the board of directors: Steve Jobs, Bobby Orr, Jennifer Aniston, Wayne and Walter Gretzky and a couple of those guys from Dragon’s Den.

Ulmer wants to see the stripes back.
I would change my job title to King of All Hockey, Toronto Division.

I would surround myself with sycophants who tell me how smart I am. I don’t get a lot of that at home.

And I would consider changing some rules, just the way NHL GMs are in Florida.

Here are the top 10 changes I would like to bring to the game. You’re welcome.

1. I would eliminate the shootout which has been on a downward arc since Peter Forsberg won the gold medal it for Sweden in Nagano.

2. In its place, the league’s best invention in 20 years, four-on-four overtime. With interminable shootouts, more four on four would be a time-saver. Flood the ice, set the timer for 20 minutes and go to it. Does anyone wish the Canada-US Gold medal game went to shots? Anyone except Team USA?

3. Give the Leafs some stripes on their jersey. I could never cotton to the no stripes on the waist version.

4. Make the trapezoid the one place the goalie can’t go to handle the puck. Let the goalie go get it everywhere else. That means quicker counter attacks, an easier time for defenceman who are getting stapled into the boards and enough wayward passes to keep forwards licking their chops.

Ulmer says to bring back the names on the officials
5. No more hug cams. Kisses or nothing. It’s the romantic in me.

6. Two minute penalties mean two minute penalties. If you steal from someone, that doesn’t mean you get out of jail as soon as he gets his first insurance check. The NHL originally changed the rule to negate the awesome power play Maurice Richard’s Montreal Canadiens in the 1956-57 season. Time to change it back.

7. Curved blue lines. Why keep them straight?  If you put a bend in the line in the middle toward the goal, puck carrying forwards can gain the zone more quickly with support players piling in behind.

8. Mandatory microphone use for officials. The mikes are already there because the refs use them to announce penalties. I always strain to listen to the players’ pleas before the officials skate away to deliver the call. Those excuses and tantrums can be golden, as are the measured, often sardonic response of the guys in stripes.

9. To that point, let’s get the name of the officials back on the jerseys. Home fans pay good money, they deserve to know who they are hating on.

10. Let’s create a standing Research and Development department for the NHL. The NHL was caught flatfooted by ballooning goaltending equipment and composite sticks that break when you sneeze but dramatically increase the speed of the puck.  An R and D committee would have seen these far-ranging developments coming.
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