Let the Games Begin

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Andrew McGilligan | Out of WriteField

With the shortened NHL season looming, there’s a few things that need to change in order to give fans the best experience possible. Call it a new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL and its loyal viewers.

So here, in no specific order, are some ideas to make this short season one to remember.

The David Steckel Rule:

If you cheap shot one of the best players in the game, which in turn results in fans not being able to enjoy one of the best to ever skate in the NHL for a long period of time, then you don’t play until he returns to health.

I’m still bothered that a marginal player like David Steckel thought it was OK to cheap shot Sidney Crosby and rob hockeyfans of what was potentially an epic season for 87. I can do without ever watching Steckel again, but I would like to see one of the best take to the ice on a regular basis. I understand some injuries are unavoidable given the speed and style of hockey, but cheap shots like Steckel’s need to go and indefinite suspensions should help get the message across.

The BizNasty/Malkin Show:

One of the most entertaining parts of the offseason and lockout was the twitter dialogue between Penguins superstar Evegeni Malkin and Phoenix Coyotes forward Paul Bissonnette (aka BizNasty2.0).

From inquiring about whether Malkin need a winger in the KHL – the Penguins star reply was ‘Not You’ – to Bissonnette retweeting Malkin’s Russian language missives and asking when they will hang out, the duo are the NHL’s new odd couple.

This leads me to Ray Shero and HBO. The Pens GM needs to get BizNasty in his lineup. I will not try and defend this transaction as a sound hockey trade, but one solely for entertainment. Without a chance for the great HBO 24/7 series this season, fans need a docu-drama fix and the Malkin/BizNasty Show would be perfect.

They can live together, argue about who controls the remote and be forced to room together on the road. Just thinking about Malkin berating Bissonnette in broken English and the inane chatter Biz Nasty is sure to direct at his Russian buddy would be comedic gold. I haven’t even thought about what the two of them lurking at a nightclub would be like, but it couldn’t be anything other than awesome. So make the trade Penguins and Coyotes and let the best NHL buddy comedy begin.

LA Kings Twitter Feed:

It’s safe to say the twitter feed of the LA Kings is by far the funniest of all teams in the NHL.

Here’s a few samples:

From Dec. 31 – New Year’s resolution: Be more like the @LAKings Twitter

From Dec. 13 – What is the best combination of guys in NES Ice Hockey?

From Nov. 21 – We know there is some confusion, but we are not playing the @Lakers tonight. Sorry for any inconvenience.

From Nov. 14 – The dressing room had questionable plumbing…which old arena is Bob Miller describing? Read Bob’s latest post at http://LAKingsInsider.com .

From Nov. 10 – Which team did you most enjoying slaying on the way to the Stanley Cup? #VAN #STL #PHX #NJ

From Nov. 6 encouraging American fans to vote – Remember, your vote could decide who congratulates us at the White House.

From April 12 after eliminating the Vancouver Canucks from playoffs – To Everyone in Canada outside of BC, you’re welcome

Trash talk, questions that pertain to nothing, stories about questionable plumbing, baiting West Coast Canadians into an online feud, this twitter feed has it all. So for the rest of the teams in the NHL, please follow the first example.

World Championships:

This one has nothing to do with the NHL, just an idea that could be interesting. Instead of the world championships where players from teams not in the NHL playoffs and European leagues compete for the title, let’s get the juniors involved.

The champion of junior leagues in Russia, Sweden, Canadian Hockey League and a host team would face offs against one another in a yearly tournament similar to the CHL’s Memorial Cup. The world junior championship during the holiday season is a tremendous success and I’m willing to bet, hockey fans would watch this tournament as well.

Sunday Night Football Introductions:

This one is for you CBC and NBC. Have the starting lineup of players for each team introduce themselves in the same fashion as Sunday Night Football. You know the ones where there’s a close up of the players face and he says his name and what college he attended. Players have fun with it as guy say they’re from THE Ohio State University, the U and some take it a step further and say the name of the kindergarten they attended.

In the NHL version, a player would say his name and where he played junior or minor hockey. Example: Sidney Crosby, Rimouski Oceanic. Mike Richards, THE Kitchener Rangers. Joe Thornton, The Soo.

Just imagine Ovechkin grinning from ear-to-ear without his front tooth telling you he’s from Moscow all while wearing that cowboy hat from the All-Star game. This needs to be done just to see the different ways Ovechkin can introduce himself.

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