NESN.com asked readers how the NHL could improve, and hockey fans proved their passion as they had more to say than fans of the NFL, NBA and MLB combined.
Fans were most inclined to pick a bone with the job Bettman has done, league expansion, the trapezoid behind the net and the points system.
Here are some of the best of the many great comments:
"Goodbye to the shoot-out, hockey = team sport = win as a team lose as a team.
Overtime played the same way the rest of the game is played 5 on 5 for 20 minutes.
Gary Betteman and Colin Campbell-FIRED.
Winner of Stanley Cup gets the next All-Star game then maybe some of the lower level teams will put out a better product. Why give the All-Star game to teams that do nothing to improve themselves?
Trapazoid must go away.
Any hit ruled a cheapshot is a min 10 gm suspension without pay and the team is not permitted to replace that player on their roster.
Recind the instigator rule let the players help police themselves." -ROBERT G. ORR SAID SO.
"Soften the elbow and shoulder pads, dump the trapazoid, the instigator, make sure you are calling hooking, holding, tripping, and slashing for "actual" aggregious instances, call diving, don't even consider changing icing to a no contact situation and oh yeah, let's go back to wooden sticks, these composite things break way to often." -buckey
"Bring teams back to Canada or Northern US, where they belong." -Dbruins
"The game is great right now but the trapezoid behind the net is a very dumb rule. Also bring a team back to Quebec City. Lastly actually call diving penalties and slashes. Sometimes when I watch games players will take a slash at other players hands and arms and stick as if they are trying to chop wood sometimes you can hear it from the upper deck! An example is Boychuks fractured forearm. Dubinsky slashed him bigtime on the forearm…but wait…no penalty. Why have the penalty unless you enforce it." -Arthur S.
"here is just an idea ,quit thinking hockey needs change.im getting sick of every year the flood of new rules/regulations. the only thing that needs to be changed in the nhl is the buttman.why,why,why? just think if they keep changing or adding rules at the rate they have in the past 5 years pretty soon the game wont even be played on skates and they will have to call it ice capades. i do however agree to ditch the trapazoid. what a joke .5 years ago they changed the rules to speed up the game and lessen the stoppage of plays and now they add that which just makes more stoppages these people in charge of this great sport are trying to make it as worthless as basketball i am still in favor of the no two-line pass however but to make a long story short GET RID OF BETTMAN! he is the only problem in this game." -rid us of bettman
"strict discipline for head shots and cheap shots like Briere's, and teat every player the same when it comes to discipline. stop waiting for someone to die on the ice before changes are made!!!!!" -foster1961
Regular season o.t. before a shoot out make it 3 on 3 for 5 minutes gives players plenty of ice space.Also shorten pre& regular season.Were in June watching the playoffs." -PAUL B
"feel the biggest issue the NHL has is their poor marketing. It starts from their TV contract. It is very hard for them to expand if they continue televise their games on a station that is hard to find. Once they have placed themselves on a network like ESPN they can get their players out there. This will then allow them to use their top players to create a great marketing campaign.
They can throw out all the ratings they want about viewership on Versus, but the fact of the matter is that the public is still not aware of their main product…THE PLAYERS!!! If you go around the streets and ask people to name a few players in the NHL, they can barely come up with 2 or 3. I find this to be a big problem for the NHL. The only way the NHL is going to grow especially in markets where hockey isn't a norm, i.e.) Atlanta or Phoenix is if the product is constantly on display for the public" -Andrew
"I absolutely despise the "Pity Point" awarded for an overtime/shoot-out loss. There were only two points on the table at the opening faceoff, now a third point appears from nowhere. It's the "everybody-gets-a-medal-for-participating" mentality.
I would like to see 3 points awarded for a regulation time win; then split it 2 and 1 for OT and Shoot Out.
As of today, the Boston Bruins are considered a middle-of-the-pack team because they have just 12 points. However, they have only played 8 games! They have earned 75% of 16 points. If you eliminate the "Pity Points" from every team, you will see that this percentage is the highest in the NHL as of this writing.
If you follow my suggestion above, the Bruins would have 6 wins x 3 points = 18 points. St. Louis is supposedly the sixth best team in League standings today. In 9 games they have 14 points; 77.8% of 18 possible points. However, they have 2 pity points! Their actual percentage is 66.7%!
By having 3 points on the line at the opening faceoff, the magic point that currently appears at the end of regulation goes away. The 3 points are still awarded, but 2 to the winner and 1 to the loser. St. Louis would have 20 of 27 possible points, or about 74%. The Bruins in this scenario would have 18 of 24 points, or 75%.
The Pity Point skews the standings" -FireGuyFrank
"Hear me out on this one. The joke used to be that every team in the nhl made the playoffs. True back in the 80's but with 30 teams, it's pretty much half. What better way to create more drama then to have a play in. 1-7 in each conf is in based on the standings after 82 games. Season ends on a Sunday. Monday night there are 2 games, one in each conference. 10 plays 11. The winner would then get Tuesday off and play a 2 out of 3 series with the 8th seed to decide who gets in the top 8. From there, the playoffs are as normal. All eyes would be on these games and more fans from more cities could at least get a sip of playoff action. The league is looking for more showcase events. This play in week would be a huge ratings boost!" -HockeyHockey