Los Angeles, CA
This series should really be titled "If Potheads Made the Rules." I was watching the Olympics, specifically hockey action. Games come on very early for West Coasters and denizens of the PT. That's like 4:30am start time for some games. If I set my alarm for 4:15, then I could wake-n-bake at 4:20 on the dot. Early-early morning hockey. That's dedication.
During these cloudy, foggy, groggy morning hockey sessions, I came up with a couple of grandiose ideas. They sounded absurb when I sobered up, but at the time they popped into my mind, I thought I came up with Earth-shattering concepts that would revolutionize the game. I'm sure someone else came up with either of these half-baked ideas at some point wither arguing about the future of hockey at the end of a bar pounding beers, or sitting on the couch clutching a bong.
These two ideas? The first one is 4x4 hockey and the second is re-organizing conferences into Canada and USA.
4 x 4 Hockey
Eliminate a player on each team. Make it four-on-four. Modern players are bigger, stronger, faster. Spreads everyone out a little bit more. Makes it more of a speed-centric and finesse game. Penalties would be far more soul crushing with 4-on-3 advantages, or even a rare 4-on-2.
The players would hate this because that's one less skater on the ice and a reduction in playing time. Then again, shifts might actually get shorter a few seconds, so fourth lines would actually get decent ice time. Goalies might dig it because it's one less assface clogging their view.
Those staunch purists hate this idea because it would look weird only seeing four skaters per side. It also potentially fucks up the record books. I assume scoring at full strength would go down, but power play goals would increase substantially.
Stanley Cup Finals: USA vs. Canada
Canada should always have at least one team in the Stanley Cup Finals. Only way to do that is to re-align the conferences and put 15 teams in Canada. Yes, another half-baked idea.
Watching both men/women take on Canada/USA was fun. Like tons of fun. Trashing talking with Canadian friends. Heated, yet brotherly rivalry. I watched the Vancouver gold medal game in the business class lounge at the airport in Buenos Aires. Heartbreaker. Watched the OT loss with a couple of American businessmen while sipping Argentinean wine. This year, I watched the ladies choke against the Canadians, while the men got stonewalled in a 1-0 loss in the semifinals.
Too bad the Olympics only came around every four years. Too bad Canada doesn't have an equal amount of NHL franchises because it would be awesome to realign conferences. Instead of East/West, the conferences are divided into Canada/USA (or actually North/South).
I know... not enough Canadian cities to support a professional franchise (it's all about cable dollars), but Canadians fucking LOVE hockey. Some of those smaller towns should get a rewarded a franchise because of their dedication and supreme love for the game... sort of like Green Bay in the NFL or Oklahoma City in the NBA.
The biggest Canadian cities should consider what American cities do by hosting multiple teams. Sort of like Los Angeles does with basketball (Clippers and Lakers) or Chicago with the MLB (Cubs and White Sox), New York with all the majors... MLB (Mets and Yankees), NBA (Nets and Knicks), and NHL (Rangers, Islanders, and Devils).
How about two teams in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal? Bring back the Montreal Maroons. How about a suburban-based Toronto team (Mississauga) or suburban-based Vancouver (Surrey) team to follow suit like New York City and its suburban rivals (Devils and Islanders)?
How about multiple teams in Ontario? London, Hamilton, Niagara Falls area. Yes, bring back the Hamilton Tigers.
Halifax needs a team. Those Nova Scotia hockey fans would go apeshit. How about some love for St. John's? Yes, the NHL needs some Newfouie love.
And let's have a team in places like Regina, Saskatoon, Moosejaw or Medicine Hat.
Or about the return of the Quebec Nordiques?
So who has to go north of the boarder? Canada only has seven teams, so eight American teams would have to get shipped across the border to make it an even 15 each.
Who should go? Pheonix is the first and obvious choice. They could become a second-team to a western city like Vancouver or Calgary. Dallas should also lose their franchise. Texas hockey? Yeah, that ain't right. That's football country. The Stars should go back to
Minnesota and then the Wild should relocate to Regina or Saskatoon.
I can think of a way to get five more teams by forcing cities with multiple teams and regional teams to play a special seven-game series to determine who stays and who goes. Florida has two teams and SoCal has two teams. The Ducks/Kings and Panthers/Lightning will play a series to see who gets to be the lone representative from SoCal and Florida. The NYC teams should have a tournament to determine who stays while the other two get shipped off to the Toronto burbs or Ontario. Nashville/Carolina should play a series to see who gets to represent the south. Oh and how about the Blue Balls Cup? Blues and Blue Jackets play a series to determine the best BLUE team. The victor remains in America. The loser gets shipped off to New Foundland where they get blue balls.
The Canadian Conference will be the original 7 (Canucks, Flames, Oilers, Jets, Maple Leafs, Senators, Canadiens), plus te hadded 8 (Coyotes, Stars, Kings/Ducks, Hurricanes/Predators, Lightning/Panthers, Blues/Blue Jackets, and pick 2 from Rangers/Devils/Islanders).
If the NYC want to pull some strings, they could bribe the league to let the area keep two teams with the Rangers getting grandfathered in with the Devils/Islanders play for the rights to be the only second team in NYC and the loser leaves. Meanwhile, the league forces BOTH Florida teams to move to Canada.
Perhaps the NHL would accept a 14 vs. 16 conference split. That would only force 7 America teams into moving to Canada... with two automatics Coyotes and Stars plus five other regional play-ins. That way Florida can retain one team.
Or maybe the Quebec Nordiques reclaim their former franchise and force the Colorado Rockies to return to Canada and wear those baby blue sweaters.
The ultimate goal is to create a Canada versus USA scenario every year in the Stanley Cup. The championship is not just for your favorite team... it's for your country dammit.