Friday, January 18, 2008

Radiating bitter hate waves

So last night's game against Carolina was a nice serving of steaming ass. It doesn't help that the Oilers D Corps are pretty much bruised tissue at this point, and that with other injuries and a top line out of gas, the "play the kids" concept looked as bad as it usually does when a team isn't very good. Surprisingly, even Mathieu Garon let in some soft stuff. And as much as I still have dying embers of love for Patrick Thoresen, if he's the best Oiler out on the ice in a given night the team is going to lose. The 2006 Stanley Cup Finals never looked so far away...

So yeah, as you can guess, the loss brought out what I like to call "the bad feelings." In the spirit of good therapy, I figured it would be good to talk about other things that have been bugging me in the hockey world, aside from the beleagured fate of my hometown team:

The shootout: Indeed, Thursday night's marathon shootout against the Capitals was remarkable, but it was also a "let's just get this over with" anti-climactic end to a near-perfect overtime period. The Oilers have had the good fortune of picking up most of their points this season off of the shootout, and as much as I like to think that the victories are all Garon, Hemsky and Gagner, it's also more logically a matter of pure luck, like winning a few coin flips in a row. Doesn't feel right. Then again, I'm the kind of guy that goes to the race track and, having placed a bet, immediately wants the race to be over so I can know whether I've won anything or not.

I forget who brought it up (Mirtle?) but I like the idea of bringing back ties and simply tacking on another four minutes to overtime and leaving it at that. Points are handed out like expired Swiss Chalet Coupons these days, with regulation wins coming more rare than a sighting of a Ivory-Billed Woodpecker.

Delay of Game for shooting the puck over the glass: as rule change, this struck me as a solution in search of a problem to begin with, but at the very least it should be a discretionary call for the refs.

The salary cap: The rules for waivers (where teams can poach a player going up or down into the minors) are stupid and overly complex. I realize that the CBA wants to discourage ways of stashing salary, but a team needs more flexibility if a veteran signed in July isn't playing well in February. As it works out, the best possible players are often not playing on the team because of one-way contracts/waiver considerations.

Refs call things that might "feel" like penalties: If a player falls or a play's flow is interrupted, referees will often err on the side of just calling an obstruction penalty. Worse yet, the league has a serious problem with consistency in making calls. Hooking and holding penalites exist only as a broad spectrum of interpretations as to what "impedes progress" that changes from period to period. Like all cranks, I have some suggestions: 1) call coincidental diving minors: it is almost impossible to drag a man down with a one-handed hook; 2) encourage refs to risk blowing a call by not calling a penalty if they are uncertain of an infraction (in Thursday's game a player skated into Sheldon Souray and fell down, the ref didn't make a call until about 2-3 seconds of boos from the home crowd helped his decision). Anyway: less is more. It's a myth that more powerplays make the game more entertaining.

And finally, in the spirit of constructive criticism, I offer a suggestion:

The forward with the longest scoring slump should be forced to wear a bright red helmet: Shame is really missing in the game, today. Just imagine how worse the player would feel each game that he doesn't score!

PS: I know it's late. but I have to put it up on the blog for posterity's sake. How about that Nash goal, huh?


Anonymous said...

Yeah, that Oil game last night was pretty bad for you Oil diehards. My Nucks havnt been close to the final in years, but I still hurt over the 94 year! Anyways, the red helmet idea is funny. I lived in Finland for 4 years, and out there the leading scorer on each team wears a golden helmet. Its pretty funny lookin, so a helmet of shame wouldnt be all that crazy of an idea.

mike w said...

Lowetide has a nice post about still feeling the hurt from big losses, notably the Oilers' SCF and the Expos' "Blue Monday."

I've said it before, but I'm just glad I was around other people when we lost Game 7. I may have cried like a nine year-old.

Justin said...

I agree about the shootout. As a spectacle I like it, but as you said, there are far too many points being handed out for things other than a regulation win, which to me is really the measure of a team.

And yes, the red helmet idea is funny. I also can't think of a credible reason why they couldn't make one player on each team play with a parrot on his shoulder.

Baroque said...

Parrots are tropical birds - there should be a different bird for each division. Parrots for the Southeast, pigeons for the Northeast, etc.

I like the helmet of shame. Clearly point out who should be laughed at for not scoring.

And I too hate the shootouts. My mom is a hockey fan (not my dad so much), and he was walking by one day during a shootout and asked what was going on. After she explained it, he said it was the dumbest idea to decide a game he'd ever heard. Why didn't they just leave it at a tie and be done with it?

(I pointed out that Bettman thought every game deserved a winner at the end for the sake of the fans, and he suggested handing out participant ribbons to the losers so the fans didn't have their self-esteem bruised.)

Aaron said...

I am really into the red helmet idea. Although ... how the heck would you ever shame the L column into scoring!? No amount of shame could do it - he JUST can't do it.

Maybe one red helmet per forward line.

Anonymous said...

This is kinda off topic:

Did anyone else watch HNIC tonight and notice how bad the editing was for the league highlights. They had Ron just stammering out points and were cutting to different footage. It was god awful! I haven't been able to watch recently but are things at the CBC taking a nosedive (I know it was pretty bad already but this was just disgraceful)

Julian said...

I've said it before, but if it were up to me, OT would be played without goalies until someone scored. Whether that's thirty seconds or ten minutes. Silly, but less of a gimmick than the shootout.

Andy Grabia said...

I like the shootout. Always have. Teams have 65 minutes to score. They shouldn't be whining if they can't do it within that time. The shootout isn't a gimmick. It's a legitimate way to end a game, one that involves skill and talent. I understand that it moves the game from a team to an individual exercise, but like I said, 65 minutes. Can't solve it then? Suck it up, and teach your team some dope moves.

usually frustrated caps fan said...

Well you won't find me or any other Washington Capitals fan pushing that hard for the shootout. Though the one we played the other night against your Oilers was fun for us it was quite the anomoly. LETS GO CAPS!!!

McLea said...

I've said it before, but if it were up to me, OT would be played without goalies until someone scored.

That would be awesome


Justin said...

Andy, the '65 minutes to score' argument is equally applied to ties, which is what I wish the league would go back to.