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Gans: NHL in need of major rules overhaul (Feb. 10)

Sam Gans | Thursday, February 9, 2012

Well, we’ve finally reached the finish line. For the past two weeks, each of us here at the Sports Authority has provided the scoop on what we would change if we were the Kings of Sports.

Some of the suggestions have been serious, others light-hearted. Some have been in-line with the opinions of most fans, others against what’s popular. And some are practical in real life — perhaps even imminent — while others have about as much a chance of happening as me dating a Victoria’s Secret supermodel.

Yes, my fellow comrades have proposed some interesting suggestions up to this point. And now, for the final installment, it’s my turn.

I’ll begin with changes I considered making, but decided not to, due to the mass uprisings they would cause: making the NCAA tournament 16 teams with a best-of-three series throughout and abolishing the three-point line. While I think both of these would be much better and fairer for a few different reasons, I understand the entertainment value and popularity March Madness and baskets from downtown provide. Though I am King, I am not a tyrant. I am a man of the people and will give my peasants what they wish (I also intend to avoid a fate similar to that of Louis XVI).

The first actual change I will make is one floating around in real life at the moment, and that is a four-team playoff in college football with the top two seeds getting home, not neutral-site, semifinal games. It is not too small. It is not too large. It continues to keep college football’s regular season by far the greatest in all of sports. It avoids the controversy. It keeps the bowl system intact. It is perfect.

Moving to an issue that isn’t as debated as a college football playoff, I’d enforce icing on the penalty kill in hockey. This is one thing I’ve never understood. A rule that hurts you when you’re even strength or on the power play is now taken away when you are penalized? How does that make sense? If you want to keep the puck out of your zone or want a line change on the penalty kill, get the puck across center ice and then dump it in, as you would any other point in the game.

Staying with hockey — more specifically the NHL now — I like most of the post-lockout rules. No clutch-and-grab, smaller goalie pads, eliminating the two-line pass rule, delayed offside and no line change allowed after a team commits icing are all great.

But I’m getting rid of the trapezoid. And the shootout. Especially the shootout. It is not hockey. Play four-on-four overtime for 10 minutes, then three-on-three until there’s a winner. That’s not exactly “real” hockey either, but it’s closer than a shootout. MLB doesn’t decide extra innings with a home run derby. The NBA doesn’t use a free-throw contest for overtime. As King, the shootout is no more (same with soccer penalty kicks to decide games).

I will go back to two divisions in MLB in each league and have the division winners advance straight to the LCS. I will also cut the number of NBA playoff teams from 16 to eight.

I will punish any defender who dances like he won the Super Bowl after a tackle made two yards past the first-down marker while his team’s down 17 points. Sorry, entire NFL.

And now it’s time for my final two resolutions. Both of these are extremely selfish, but hey, I’m the King.

I will award the Columbus Blue Jackets the No. 1 draft pick for each of the next 10 years no matter where they finish in the standings. Not that it really matters, because all of the picks will probably just bust and the Jackets will always finish last in the standings anyway.

Finally, I will ban LeBron James from ever winning a championship. Of course, as I’m keeping all basketball games the four quarters they already are and not reducing them to three, I don’t even need to do this. He just naturally won’t win one.

So there you have it, citizens of Sports World. You’re welcome for all the wonderful changes I’ve made.

Oh, and I almost forgot… every day is Mock Turtleneck Day.