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October 21, 2003

How (Not) To Make Hockey Better

Caution: sports post ahead, proceed at your own option.

Has this MSNBC reporter ever seen a hockey game? He is pathetically misguided on many levels, the first being that hockey is only the NHL; the game exists as a worldwide sport. He calls for a crackdown on obstruction... the game already is less physical (and exciting) than only five years ago due to the league catering to the whiners like Mario Lemieux and Brett Hull. Brett Hull as commish? He was an excellent offensive player once, but even better at complaining about everything from his teammates to the refs to his coach and owner. League contraction? Unfair to the small-market teams that undoubtedly would be the sacrificial lambs. The shootout to settle ties? I'd rather see pitchers not bat in baseball (and yes, I am a vocal opponent of the designated hitter).

The writer does make a couple of good points, held by most who love the game. Enlarging the ice surface is a necessity with bigger, faster players. A new collective bargaining agreement (without a work stoppage) is imperative to stave off the loss of fans due to a strike or lockout. The bottom line: hockey is an acquired taste for most Americans who do not grow up playing the game. The game on the ice is exciting and for my taste, the best team sport in the world, and needs little change, except in the attitudes of the owners and the players association.

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