Improving the NHL: Things we’ve learned from the Olympics

March 5th, 2010 by Burgundy Leave a reply »

It’s been a busy week, hasn’t it? The second the Olympics ended, the NHL trade deadline came and went… and sucked. This year’s trade deadline reminded me a lot of the TV show Lost – far too much anticipation leading up to it, not nearly enough transpired within the time frame, I’m left with more questions than answers and I’m hoping the next one will be much better.  Not very funny? OK, fine. This year’s trade deadline reminded me of the TV show Grey’s Anatomy – a bunch of things happened, but none of it really mattered. Still not very funny? OK, fine. I’m just an idiot.

Anyways, now that the NHL’s regular season has returned, it’s made me realize we could all learn a few things from the Olympics. Here’s a few things I’ve noted. Feel free to add your observations in the comments section, too.

  • 4-on-4 overtime is the way to go for every game. It’d be nice to see the NHL adopt this rule for the playoffs.
  • Marian Hossa can’t win in International Hockey, either. The 4th place finish at the Olympics marks the 3rd major championship he came so close to winning. This has to be one of the cruelest curses ever.
  • Jaroslav Halak still isn’t a number one goalie. He’s almost there, but crumbles when such a title is within reach.
  • This year’s winner of the Robert Reichel award: Pavel Demitra.
  • Less is more. Let’s reduce the number of teams that make the playoffs to increase the quality of series’. Or reduce the number of teams in the NHL. I’m actually serious on this one.
  • Gary Bettman can still screw things up, even when he’s not running the tournament. Look no further than how he answers the question “Will the NHL be involved in the 2014 Olympics in Russia?”
  • Shorter broadcasts was great. Reduced breaks between whistles, one TV time out per period and shorter intermissions saved me a lot of time. Watching hockey on TV should never be a 3 hour event. Also, the shorter intermissions meant less camera times for certain TV analysts who can seemingly talk forever!
  • Judging by select goaltending performances, I’m confident the Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks won’t be getting far in the playoffs this year. Just a hunch.
  • Ron Wilson *may* actually know what he’s doing. Not 100% sure yet.

What did you learn from the Olympics, now that the NHL has returned?

Stay classy, NHL.

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10 comments

  1. Blake Hurdis says:

    Absolutely agree on the shorter games. The short intermission especially was great. It was just enough time to order another beer, and have it arrive.

    I’m convinced that Ron Wilson doesn’t know what he’s doing, but that Zach Parise can carry a team on his shoulders when he’s on.

    It should not have ben a revelation that Gary Bettman is, and always will be a douche. He and David Stern share a brain. Hence Gary’s douchiness will never change.

  2. Fantana says:

    I’m shocked you watch Grey’s Anatomy… For shame Burgundy…

    But seriously, it wasn’t just Canada’s youth that stepped up during the Olympics. You saw the same thing happen with the American team too. This tournament represented a real changing of the guards and ushered in a new generation of superstar players.

    The biggest thing I took away is that moving forward, Olympic hockey is all about youth and the speed. Take a team like Finland, and even though they won the Bronze medal, they really need to develop better young players to compete against the youth of Canada and the U.S. Guys like Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu and Jere Lehtinen won’t be around in Sochi. They didn’t have any Zach Parise’s or Drew Doughty’s on their team… in fact, they didn’t have anybody on the team under the age of 25 – that could be a potential problem for them in the future. Things look iffy for Finland in the 2014 Olympics… I’d put Sweden in a similar boat too, though they’re a little farther ahead of Finland right now.

  3. Burgundy says:

    @ Fantana – I don’t watch Grey’s Anatomy, I swear. I was speaking metaphorically!

    RE: youth – No one should be surprised it was the youth stepping up across the tournament (except Phil Kessel – I think he missed that memo). It’s been happening in the NHL for a few years now. Yes, the Sweeds and Fins are really screwed unless they can pump out a few more N. Backstrom’s and junior Forsberg’s.

    @ Blake – Good point about Parise. I know it’s an arrogant thing to say, but he basically plays like a Canadian. He’s a hell of a player.

  4. Michael S says:

    If Ron Wilson and Brian Burke can go to overtime in the gold medal game against Team Canada it sure tells you how bad a hand they’ve been dealt in Toronto.

  5. Burgundy says:

    To a large extent, I can agree with that. Burke wasn’t given much to work with when he signed on to run the Leafs. That’s why I think calling for his head in year 2 of 5 is unfair. Having said this, Burke’s acquisition of Kessel will hurt the team more than help (the two 1st round picks; one of which being a lottery pick). Also, Burke’s view on NTC’s is admirable, but shortsighted. He needs to put his ego and reputation aside and trade Kaberle. There’s no way around that. I just don’t the rep he gains from respect NTC’s will help bring in big name UFA’s. I’m assuming that’s his plan here.

    With regards to Team USA getting to the Gold Medal game, it proves Burke can build a solid allstar team and that Wilson can coach one. We knew that about Wilson from his San Jose days and we know when given a solid structure, Burke can make a trade or two for a long Stanley Cup run. Neither of these things are what Toronto needs right now.

  6. GelatinousMutantCoconut says:

    Definitely agree on the shorter games. Do we really need as much time spent analysing the game as we do the game itself?

    @Fantana

    Sweden’s development system has blossomed the last few years.

    In 2014 the Sedins, Zetterberg, Franzen, Kronvwall, and Lundqvist will all be on the wrong side of 30, but the Swedes have some good young talent in the NHL with Backstrom, Eriksson, Hornqvist, Bergfors, Berglund, Enstrom, Edler, Hjalmarsson, Karlsson, Ericsson and Gustavsson all being 25 or younger.

    There’s also some good prospects on the horizon in Paavarvi-Svensson, Rodin, Lander, Omark, Tedenby, Silfverberg, Rundblad, Hedman, Ekman-Larsson, Erixon, Markstrom, Enroth and Lehner.

    @ Burgundy

    Parise is half Canadian. He chose the wrong side :)

  7. Burgundy says:

    Hmmm GMC, that might be your finest comment. Excellent work!

  8. Fantana says:

    Holy crap! Does GMC work for the Swedish National Hockey program? Haha.

  9. GelatinousMutantCoconut says:

    Thanks Burgundy :D

    Unfortunately I don’t Fantana, but maybe I should look into it. I wonder if they’re hiring ;)

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