As we bid 2011 adieu, today is the only day we can look at 2012 with glossy eyes and a never-ending hope for what is to come. It is also the best time to make resolutions we won't keep, join gyms that we won't go to, and support teams who are still in the playoff hunt. But before we greet 2012 with open arms, I'd like to make my own personal wish list for the 2012 calendar year when it comes to hockey. Some of these wishes may be possible, while others are probably unrealistic. However, we can always take the time to dream. Right?
For the NHL to Admit that They Have a Concussion Problem.
As we saw in 2011, concussions have become a serious issue in the league. And while the league seems to be monitoring the situation, I think adjustments need to be made in the offseason. Does the league make adjustments to the standard equipment? Do they alter the rules of the game to minimize brutal hits?
The unfortunate things that the league has to deal with in trying to reduce the number of concussion cases for next year are the players. We've seen that players are more than willing to lie about their own heath only to be able to jump back on the ice. The more serious cases will work themselves out (ie. Colby Armstrong), but I hate to see players put their lives in jeopardy.
Notable players with concussions in 2011: Sidney Crosby, Chris Pronger, Claude Giroux, Shea Weber, Jeff Skinner, Milan Michalek, Mike Richards, Kris Letang, Marc Staal.
The first step is to admit that we have a problem.
Approve the Participation in the 2014 Winter Olympics
If you see smoke, chances there are that there is a fire nearby. With hockey masses excited for the WJC, it is time for the NHL to put an end to all the speculation while the iron is hot. Commissioner Bettman should announce at the All-Star game in Ottawa that the league will be participating in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
When it comes down to it, the NHL has two main options for 2014:
A.) Decide against participating for the Russian Olympics and sit idly by as all the Russian superstar players leave North America for a few weeks.
B.) Agree to participate in the games to allow an encore of what may have been some of the most exciting Olympic hockey games in recent years.
Saving money for the short term or develop for the long term. Which do you want?
For NHL.com to Give Fans the Option of Ordering Number Jerseys Only
When I mentioned in the beginning that there were some unrealistic wishes, I consider this one to fall under that category. If you have ordered a NHL jersey recently, you'll notice that the league has the option to customize a jersey. In the customization process, you are required to put in a name and number. In 2012, I'd like for the NHL loosen the requirements and make it possible to order jerseys with numbers only.
As someone who likes to buy a few jerseys here and there, I refuse to put my own name on the back but am uneasy about ordering jerseys for players who switch teams every two or three years. If I could have the option of getting numbers only, it would solve the issue. To combat the potential of overflowing orders, they could set up a "window" system for all orders. In order to be able to buy a number only jersey, a fan must purchase them from NHL.com during the offseason. The teams that will have the number only jerseys available will be the bottom five teams (standings wise) from the previous season. This idea may fall into the category of trying to find more a balance in merchandise sales for poor performing teams.
Number jersey only - would that be considered a jersey foul?
For the Phoenix Coyotes to Have Playoff Success
For the record, I am not a fan of the Phoenix Coyotes. I do not own any merchandise and have never had any contact with an employee from the organization. However, for some reason, I want them to do well. Maybe it is the fact that I am absolutely sick of the constant relocation talk that swirls from year to year. Or it could be the fact that I am one of the people that actually believe that hockey in the desert can work. Either way, I really hope that the Coyotes can put on some magical run that has them moving past the first round.
If they make the playoffs later this year, here is to hoping that their first round matchup is NOT the Detroit Red Wings.
Add a 3-vs-3 in Addition to a Normal Overtime Scenario
As much as I like the shootout, I don't think it is a accurate indicator of talent and capabilities each team has. In this tweak, I wish for the NHL to add a three or four minute period of 3-on-3 hockey after their five minute 4-vs-4 scenario. If they include more minutes of actual hockey, it not only does it allow the opportunity to display a "speed & skill" type of hockey, but it is a better investment return for fans.
If teams are still tied after the additional 9 minutes of play, then the teams can go to the shootout to decide a winner.
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